Palomino, pal of mino, follow me wherever I go. Palomino, pal of mino, my best friend, that’s all I know… My friend, Jim McCord wrote that little ditty. It reminded me of RJ, The Wonder Dog…
RJ Part II:
It started before Christmas. I took him out to photograph him. All he wanted to do was hug me and lick my face (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Instant connection. I snuck him into the new building at BARC to increase his chances of adoption. I even had his picture taken with Santa during Christmas. Anything to get him out of the shelter, the good way. I’m not really a Pit Bull person. I’m more of a Jed Clampett, hound dog kind of guy. Nothing wrong with a good Pittie, just not my style.
RJ was an owner surrender. The reason: didn’t have time for him. The folks at the shelter thought he was two years of age, but I bet he was more like one. I told him I would never see him again when he got adopted. And he did get adopted. But I was wrong.
Three weeks later, I saw him back in a kennel at the shelter. Owner surrender. The reason: didn’t have time for him. I was shocked – and happy to see my friend. He remembered me. I could never forget him. And even though he was back at the shelter, I was overjoyed when our eyes met again. He just wanted someone to love. That’s all. And I did. I loved him and worked with him. He was very smart. I promoted him on social media. He was very handsome. Just after I left the shelter that day, he was slated for destruction because the shelter was overcrowded and someone claimed he was kennel aggressive. That must be some new Dr. Phil diagnosis, but this creampuff didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Thankfully, I made several calls and with the help of RPM, we were able to have his death stopped within moments of it occurring.
I picked him up and dropped him at Camp Run-A-Mutt, where he was temperament tested and did fine. They were more than kind enough to give RJ a chance. From there, he went to RPM, but had little to do in a kennel, where he awaited his transport to a permanent home in Wisconsin with Hoping Fur A Home. I picked him up and walked him with other dogs one weekend. His eyes lit up when he saw me and heard my voice. He asked for nothing in return.
Then, I took him away for a weekend at my ranch in Medina, TX. It was a bold move, but one I felt he needed. He rode beautifully in my Ford F250. He sat by my side the entire trip. There was no room between us. The only time he budged was when we stopped halfway. And I am so pleased to say that I introduced him to a Texas institution: Buc-ees! You have to pee it to believe it – and he did.
When we got to the ranch, I turned him loose. He could finally be a dog. He never left my side. He mistakenly thought I was his human. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I wasn’t. But I wanted to be. I really did! Still do! He watched my every move. He never had an accident in the house. I didn’t crate him. He ate his dinner rapidly. I believe someone wasn’t feeding him properly and he woofed it down quickly because he thought he needed to. He didn’t. That night, I slept on the sofa. I’m not gonna lie, we watched The Hallmark Channel. He’s just a softy. He curled up next to me and relaxed. So, he snores a little. No big deal. I just pretended it was the ocean. It was such a peaceful and deep sleep for him. It was for me as well. It was almost magical. We both felt it, and for the first time he had a protector, someone who cared about him – and for him. He felt it. He knew it. If I stirred or got up, he opened his eyes and got up with me. No way was he leaving my side. And I DID have time for him, unlike his last two owners. We were connected by cosmic glue. It was right.
He swam in the river. He loved it. I’m certain he had never seen a river. I took him to the lake where he met Home Boy, a sweet white Labrador, and Sparky, a local who claims he had been struck by lightning at some point in his life. Get it? Sparky? See what he did there? RJ met my neighbors up on the hill while we had porch time. He played and ran with their dog, Cowgirl. He had a magical weekend. The only time I ever heard him bark was when he saw his reflection in the window and wanted to know who that dog was out there. I’m still laughing about that.
But sadly, we came back. My better half refused to let me keep him. I work with and rescue a lot of dogs. None of them stole my heart like that big goofy puppy, RJ. Instead of letting him waste away in a kennel, waiting for his transport to Wisconsin on March 10th, he was enrolled at Rover Oak’s in their Lodge & Learn program where he’ll get some training, and be able to play with other dogs in day care. He deserves that. When I walked away from him, he stared at me. He tried with all his might to join me by my side. But he couldn’t. And it broke my heart. He knew all too well what being abandoned felt like. I won’t soon forget that expression on his face. The one and only thing he loved left him. But he couldn’t know that he will soon have a human of his own, for the rest of his life. Sadly (for me), it won’t be me.
I just gave him one weekend. It didn’t take much effort on my part. It didn’t take much time. In return, he gave me EVERYTHING. He willingly and gladly gave me his heart, his love, his devotion, his loyalty – his every moment. He gave me everything he possessed, or ever would – for just a weekend. I love him even more for that. Humans can learn a lot from the canine. I did.
All I can do for him is to keep him safe and help make sure this time, he goes to a loving, deserving home. And I will.
I gave him a weekend. He gave me EVERYTHING. I got a good deal! And this time, I’ll make sure RJ does as well.