In October of 2015, the first dog I’d ever adopted, Nelson, passed away overnight in his sleep. I know you’re supposed to let yourself grieve for a while, but I don’t do life things in the way you’re supposed to do them.
I found a Yorkie rescue organization, United Yorkie Rescue, that fostered dogs in Florida, which is where I lived at the time. In December as I was scrolling through their “Looking for Love” listings and saw the sweetest little girl named Cookie. The listing indicated that she could only be adopted with her brother, Buddy. The prospect of adopting two dogs was a little intimidating.
After corresponding with Buddy and Cookie’s foster mom, a phone interview, and a home inspection, we were cleared to adopt. We made the 13-hour drive from Pensacola to Fort Myers on New Year’s Eve. We met them that evening and the next morning we picked them up and made the drive back. The word nervous doesn’t begin to describe how I felt.
My former husband seemed to bond with them instantly. I didn’t know if I ever would. They were overwhelming at times and we dealt with behavioral issues like cornering the cats and potty accidents. I decided that even if I didn’t ever connect with them fully, I was committed to taking care of them for the rest of their little lives.
I was left home alone for extended periods due to my former husband’s work. With 5 cats and these two guys, I was overwhelmed. Even though my mom came to stay with me some to help me out, I still felt on several days that I wanted to just leave the house and get away from all of the demands. And Buddy and Cookie were often restless and were not happy, either.
As my marriage entered its final months, I questioned if I could care for them anymore. I felt like I couldn’t handle it. But, I didn’t realize at the time that it was my marriage I couldn’t handle anymore. After this brief moment of true doubt, I snapped out of it. When we split up, my husband kept all of our pets, as I couldn’t bear to see them because it reminded me of my former life. I was under the impression this was a temporary arrangement. I learned at mediation that it was not.
I yearned and pined for them. But I knew they were safe and cared for. And loved. I saw their adventures on social media and while it ached to miss those activities, I felt they were having life of fun and adventure. I came to the realization that while this chapter may have ended, it opened my home to welcome another Yorkie who was looking for love.
I had always kept in touch with Buddy and Cookie’s foster mom. One day in August 2019 she texted me and asked me if I had time to talk and that she had news. I shared with her my intention to adopt again, so I thought perhaps she knew of a good match. But at the same time I was worried that perhaps she knew one of the twins had passed away. I wanted to know, but I didn’t want to know. You know?
Due to circumstances in my former husband’s life, he was surrendering the dogs back to the rescue. The words were coming in so quickly and I could barely catch the meaning. Foster mom said that they couldn’t be surrendered unilaterally, and since my name was on the paperwork, I had a say in the outcome. Oh certainly I wanted them. But, as a single lady on a small income, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to make them happy or afford the care I know they would need in their golden years.
Fortunately, by this time, I had met my partner. Because we were in a long-distance relationship, he was concerned that caring for two elderly dogs would impact my travel. He came to me one weekend, and I went to him the next. I felt optimistic and determined to make it work. After all, I was responsible for these two little lives. The next weekend, he was in town and we left on Saturday morning to make our way to Tallahassee to pick them up.
I was surprised by the tears that welled into my eyes when they ran into my arms. They’re a friendly couple, so they do it to everyone but I like to imagine they were happy to see me. When we got them home, it was clear that they weren’t as vibrant as they once were. Buddy was very pokey and Cookie didn’t have much interest in anything.
After a few days of rest, we established a routine. Wake at 5, potty, eat, walk. Home at noon for potty. Home at 5, potty, eat. Long walk. Potty, bed. They adjusted quickly, but they were slow to wake from their slumber. Proper grooming really made a difference as well as a full check-up from our doggie doctor. We traveled to New Orleans as scheduled without missing a beat, although our travel time was longer due to potty stops.
In October, I relocated to New Orleans. We settled in to a walk-friendly neighborhood and we had a back yard! And there was no long flight of stairs like we had in our Pensacola condo. These guys blossomed! They wanted to sit by me, Cookie asked for belly rubs, and Buddy returned to sock thieving. They love to go for rides, snuggle, and skitter around.
Last month, we purchased a house, and we’re in the process of giving the ol’ gal a glow up, which includes a comfortable and safe environment in which to make their golden years lustrous.