Hopefully not goodbye

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My longtime foster of a year and a half, Apollo, was adopted last week.

I found him one hot, humid morning in July of 2013, in a dismal, desperately poor neighborhood in Dallas. He was walking with a man and his son, but I could tell immediately that he was alone, that he had simply joined the two on their walk for company, that there was no connection between them other than the sidewalk that briefly shared.

He was emaciated, at least 15, possibly 20 pounds underweight, with a dull black coat and sad brown eyes. It took me nearly 45 minutes to coax this gentle giant into the back of my car, but he also clearly didn’t want to be left behind. He leaned heavily against my leg as he contemplated his face and stroked his ear, as if willing me to stay. With the help of a passing stranger who worked in the office building nearby, we were able to shove him rather inelegantly but successfully into my car at last.

Once he took that leap of faith, he never looked back. His defining trait was
a fierce loyalty that was heart-melting as it was heartbreaking.

After weeks of terrible confinement and discomfort while he recovered from heartworm treatment, then months of near-misses with potential adopters and interested visitors, eventually he became a part of our home, our family life, the rhythm of our days. At some point I think I believed that he had become ours, and that was that.

Then a wonderful family that promised him a forever home and all the love he could possibly want and deserves came, and our precious hours with him wound down to the last, wide-eyed, grasping seconds. And now he’s gone.

I miss him.

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