It’s hard to lose your first pet. When I was nine, my family lost our 10-year-old Golden Retriever, a kindly soul named Aspen, to cancer. My parents had gotten her around the time of their wedding, giving her added sentimental value. She had been a wonderful pet. The first time I saw tears in my Dad’s eyes was when we drove home from the vet after she was put to sleep.
Though my brother and I wanted a new dog right away, my parents insisted it would take a little time. They made a memorial plaque for Aspen and mounted it on the brick wall facing our back yard. A few weeks went by.
One day, while caring for a neighbor’s dog, we encountered a friendly black lab mix who had no collar and was a little rough around the paws and elbows. She seemed to have no home. Later, though nobody knows how she got there, she showed up at our back gate, having somehow gone from the cul-de-sac to the alley. Later, we all agreed it was fate that she had somehow found a way through, since there were no open passages at that end of the cul-de-sac.
We took her in, expecting it to be temporary while we put word out in the newspaper that we had found a missing black lab. While my brother and I played with the friendly dog and dreaded the day when she would go, nobody claimed her. After a few days my parents decided that, since the dog needed a home and nobody was coming to claim her, that she would stay. We took her in only months after Aspen’s death and came to believe that she had found us, knowing we needed her, rather than the other way around.
How amazing to have found a dog who needed a home at that moment! We had not encountered a scenario like that before, when we already had a dog, or did not encounter one since. Just on that day, when two boys were wanting a dog and had no dog, did we find one…who later found us a second time at our back gate.
Despite her being female, we named her “Hank” after my younger brother’s love of the Hank the Cowdog books. She lived with us for many happy and peaceful years. We are happy she found us.