When the perspective new “parents” came over to meet Willow, she started barking at the husband like he was a mass murderer. “Uh, oh…” I thought, “she’s gonna have to live with us forever. Either that or she’s right and we’ll all be dead by morning.” I gave the man some food and watched as he skillfully lured her in with it. Before too long, Willow was sitting on his lap snuggling up to him like a long-lost lover. “Traitor!” I thought to myself. Part of me jealous, the other part relieved. This couple had just lost their dog of 17 years. They needed to be healed just as much as Willow did. Just as we needed it a year ago when we lost Dublin and adopted Wickette.
We filled out the paper work, told them Willow’s likes, dislikes and warnings (Don’t even THINK about trying to take her Greenie away!) then got ready to say our goodbyes.
“Nate, Zeke…Willow’s leaving, come say goodbye.”
“Thanks, Zeke. Next time put down the Legos and don’t scream across the whole house, please.”
“Nate? Nate? Are you crying? Oh, my goodness…come here, Sweetie…”
“I’M VERY SAD THAT WILLOW IS LEAVING!!!”
“I am too. It’s sad AND happy, don’t you think? Look how happy her new Mom and Dad are!”
“Yeah. But how come they get to be happy and we have to be sad?”
“Well, I’m happy that we helped save Willow and I’m happy we helped her find her new forever home and I’m happy….”
“Why don’t you help ME be happy?”
“I’m trying Nate…really, really trying…Hey! I have an idea…do you want to take a photo with Willow so you can look at it whenever you miss her?”
“Uh, huh, OK…ZEKE! Come here and take a photo with Willow!”
“WHY? I’m not sad…you are!”
“Zeke, can you please come take a photo with Nate and Willow? Thank you.”
We all (except Zeke, of course) watched the new family drive off with Willow. I heard Nate sniffling as he buried his head into my stomach. I started to cry, too. My sweet, sensitive Nate. I flashed to all the heartbreaks he would feel in his lifetime. I hugged him a little tighter, hoping it would somehow help him though this one and all the others to come.
He looked up at me with his big, beautiful, brown eyes and through his tears said,
“I think I just figured out (sniff) how to make myself feel better…”
“You did? I’m so glad, Nate. What is it?”
“I would feel soooo much better (sniff) if I could play the Wii game for a couple of hours.”