There were no fresh paw prints in the snow today; Mutt has passed away.
Mutt, a black Lab with an extra touch of mixed heritage, spent his early years eating garbage. Without a real home, he developed Lyme disease, parasites and skin problems.
Our neighbors, Ron and Julie, became his human parents when they rescued him 10 years ago. Mutt had lots of medical attention through the years and mostly recovered his health.
Jack and I do not have a dog for many reasons and always say that we have “visitation rights” with a few special dogs in the area. Mutt fit the bill. He was a grinner with a tail that could not wag fast enough. Mutt never lost his yen for garbage; he would walk down our road, hold his head up and sniff the air to see if there might be something of interest in our compost.
Mutt was a gentle soul, great with kids. He wanted to be friends with our two cats, but they wanted nothing to do with the big black dog.
Why am I writing this about someone else’s dog? Mutt and other companion animals complete our lives. Their mission is only to please us, never judge us and to be our pals through thick and thin.
It hurts terribly when they pass on, but the years of comfort and love they give while asking nothing in return is well worth it.
Ron and Julie have had quite a few dogs over the 35-plus years that I have known them. A few of them were also special to me.
I sincerely hope that after the grief eases and spring finally appears, that maybe they will again open their home to another rescued pal, not only for their sake and mine, but because there are so many homeless animals waiting for a home.
Paws and Claws Rescue and Resort will eventually help. Give us a call about how you can get involved at 218-675-7297. I would love to be able to tell you some stories of new pet parents and their furry kids when the animal shelter is finally operating.
Give your special pal a good belly rub, a few extra scratches under the chin, and keep them warm during this harsh winter. I missed seeing Mutt’s paw prints in the fresh snow today, but hopefully there will be a new set soon.
(Betty Thomas is president of Paws and Claws Rescue and Resort, Hackensack.)