I sometimes imagine Grace, pregnant, lost and alone, wandering the streets somewhere in Ohio. How frightened she must have been. I don’t know the details of her rescue. Her story, for me, starts when my friend, Sandy, picked her up at a gas station on a highway in Southwestern Ontario.
Sandy, whom I didn’t know at the time, volunteered for a rescue that brought stray dogs from the United States to Canada. Grace was her first rescue. When she took the frightened dog from the arms of the volunteer driver, she had no idea she was about to become a dog grandma.
Grace gave birth to her pups on August 13, 2013. Jace was born at around 10:20 pm, the smallest pup in a litter of 8. Sandy’s family named him Jack. (I changed his name when I adopted him.)
The puppies, who could have started life on the streets, instead were raised in a loving family. Sandy, her husband, and two sons, doted on them. Tiny Jace snuggled in Sandy’s sweater as she did housework. She adored him. Though Sandy had other dogs, Mamma Grace soon ruled the roost.
Oblivious to the existence of this family, I was busy with my own. I had lost my beloved dog, Worf, two and a half years earlier to cancer. I had been heartbroken and had said I would never have another dog. I didn’t feel I could do it again. Even now, as I write this, tears are pooling in my eyes. Worf was my life for fourteen years.
There were dogs in the house. My husband had a long hair Chihuahua, and my daughter still has her Lab cross. I remained dogless, though I loved the dogs we did have. One fateful day, my husband left a message for me at work. Would I please pick up dog food on the way home?
I stopped at the pet supply store a few blocks from our house. We had owned that store and had sold it to the current owners. That day Shelly had a pen of rescue puppies at the front of the store. They were there for the day, along with a couple of adoption volunteers.
As I walked past the pen, a tiny pup rushed to the side nearest me. He tried to climb out, tail wagging furiously, asking to be picked up. My heart leapt. I bent down and gathered the tiny dog into my arms. He snuggled in close, and slept, trusting me immediately to keep him safe.
I lost my heart to that dog in an instant. Two hours passed with him sleeping in my arms. I called my husband to come see him, and we spoke with the volunteers. I would have to go through an online application process and then a telephone interview before I would be able to adopt the pup. By this point I was fully committed. This was my dog.
Sandy arrived to pick the pups up. Later, she told me that when she saw me her first thought was, “Who’s that crazy woman holding my puppy?” She was so in love with Jace, the thought of letting him go was not easy for her. However, she graciously gave me her email and told me to contact her with any questions.
On November 23rd Jace came home. When I arrived to get him, another family was picking up one of his siblings. They left first. Sandy reluctantly placed Jace in my arms and said goodbye. We agreed to stay in touch, and left, Jace once again, asleep against my chest.
We did stay in touch. Sandy is one of my closest friends. Grace, whom she kept, still rules the roost. My family has since moved to British Columbia, but while we lived in Ontario, we shared many happy meals and family events with Sandy, Grace, and their family. Jace regularly visited with his foster mom and bio-mom.
Sandy and I are now restricted to long-distance chatting. I don’t know if Jace still remembers his foster family. I do know I will always be grateful that this tiny pup pushed his way into my arms and my heart, healing a loss I had thought I would never get over.
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