We had no intention of getting a puppy. For one thing we're too old. For another, we're partial to older dogs who need and deserve a good home. And for another thing, we weren't ready.
Here's what happened: my daughter's brother-in-law posted a Facebook photo of Mattie and he left a comment, 'you might be interested.' I impulsively called the rescue group listing her and found myself talking to her foster mother. Mattie was being housed on Cape Cod, so it was easy for us to visit her foster home, watch her play with the three other dogs who lived there, and hear about how sweet she was. The die was cast: we decided on the spot to adopt her.
Except that Jess' brother-in-law didn't direct his comment to me in that Facebook post at all. He was nudging someone else to consider Mattie, not me! Which is another way of saying that Fate took the wheel and destiny delivered Mattie to our little family.
Her foster mother was right. She is a wonderful dog, smart, sweet, flexible, kind. At nine weeks old she was pretty much potty trained in a day, slept through the night, and even now is uncharacteristically patient for a puppy.
Mattie was rescued off the streets of the island of Aruba. She was was flown to the United States with about 40 other puppies before she ended up in our neck of the woods. Aruban street dogs are called Cunucus, a rare breed named after their homeland, the small Caribbean Island in the Dutch Antilles. The word "Canucu" means 'countryside' in the local language of Papiamento. These dogs are known to be athletic, courageous, loyal and intelligent. Mattie is all that. If they have any faults at all, they dig and bark. They are also agile and have amazing leaping ability. This is apparently an adaptation for lizard-chasing in prickly terrain, which may be a necessity in Aruba but not here in Provincetown. :^) Cunucus are pack dogs who live on the streets, forage for food from tourists and by their own means, and are targeted for rescue, especially the puppies, by a few wonderful animal welfare groups.
It has been 2 years since we've had a dog and in those two years JB and I had the luxury of no responsibility for any one but ourselves. No longer. Now we're tethered to Mattie, but not because we feel responsible. It's simpler than that. Love has taken over. I'm amazed by how easily and completely that can happen. We care about her, we've all bonded. Because of my immobility this pup has learned all kinds of commands from me on the couch (sit, stay, leave it, bed, come, kiss, paw, no, yes, kiss kiss kiss) and all kinds of fun in the outer world from JB (daily dog wrestling at the local dog park, runs on the beach, walks on a leash.) She rides in the car with us, plays with our grand kids, welcomes and snuggles with our company and friends, and sleeps right next to me each night.
Dogs are special beings. When they're loved and with guidance, their loyalty and unconditional love can't be matched by us flawed humans. I hope once I'm back on my feet we'll head to our local animal shelter and bring home that 6-7 year old dog we first planned for. We're sure Mattie will like the companionship. Meanwhile, forgive me for saying she's a special dog, but I think she is. Most of all, she's kind--my favorite quality no matter what your species.
So here's to Mattie aka Matilda 'Mattie' Marie. She has a too-small yard to play in and a non-athletic and kid-less family, but all in all she landed on her feet. And so did we.
|this post dedicated to my friend Wieneke xo|