Now that we have two Golden Retrievers, we are getting accustomed to new daily routines. Bailey has been a part of the family since she was a puppy, so knows her job at the Inn very well. Maisie is 5 years old and we just adopted her a few weeks ago. They are both so sweet and gentle, but two dogs can take up a lot of hall space when visiting with guests! Just the other day someone asked "what made you decide to get another dog?". Well, it wasn't a situation where we were actively searching for a dog. Rather this beautiful red dog with soft brown eyes was searching for a home. Every dog has a story, and Maisie's will steal your heart!
I first met Maisie (then referred to as Mama Dog) when she was in foster care early December with a litter of puppies. The farm where I board my horse is peaceful and spacious, and the owner is very active with the Asheville Humane Society. She routinely fosters dogs and their puppies until they are old enough to be adopted. Of course you can't help but fall in love with puppies, but from the day I met her I knew that Mama Dog was very special.
Each week I watched the puppies grow and Mama Dog become more confident and playful with the other dogs on the property. When it was time, the puppies were taken to the adoption center and quickly found new homes. But Mama Dog didn't have a home. The shelter was a scary place and she refused to eat when she was there. So Elizabeth, the farm owner, kept her for another week when a big snow storm hit the area.
About that time Bailey was scheduled to have some tests performed at the vet hospital. I knew we couldn't think about adopting until we heard about Bailey's prognosis. If it was serious, we would not put her through the stress of a changing household. So I kept my fingers crossed. First that the vet would bring us good news about Bailey, and second that the sweet red dog would find a good home. Happily, I got both of my wishes!
I contacted Elizabeth and asked if we could keep Mama Dog for the weekend to make sure the girls got along. I picked her up that Friday and we would make a decision by Monday. The greeting between the two dogs was uneventful, so we went inside and they both quickly fell asleep. Boy, that was easy! When our visitor woke up I sat with her on the floor. She inched very close and gently put her head on my chest. I put my arm around her to hold her and pet her, and with her eyes closed I felt her exhale into my ear. Yes, this sweet dog had found a home. Our home. Within days we decided on the name Maisie.
Bailey likes being a big sister, but you know how it is with sisters -- you have to share everything -- her toys, her favorite sleeping spots AND her Mom & Dad. But Bailey is very patient and seems to understand. Maisie is quick to exit whenever a door opens, and Bailey has the funniest expression as the little one darts in front of her. At this point all I can say is, 'we're working on that'. But Bailey seems genuinely happy, and she's more playful and eating better than ever.
As we spend time together I learn more about Maisie. She's a talker and makes all kinds of funny sounds, and wiggles her whole body when excited. She loves attention and if you go to pet Bailey, you'll likely find the red-headed dog under your hand! We go on long hikes and she enjoys wooded trails. I think she probably lived in the country before since she is puzzled why a leash is always needed when we go outside. And when we walk down the street, she's alarmed that cars travel so close to the sidewalk. But she's learning to trust me, learning that when I leave I will always come back.
Both Bailey and our first Golden, Brandy, were from breeders. We always knew we would get another dog at some point, and I would occasionally check out Golden Retriever rescue sites. But sometimes wonderful things happen when you least expect it. So if you are thinking about a new pet, check out your local shelter. The look in the animal's eyes will speak volumes. They prefer not to share their past, and of course they are nervous about the present, but their eyes will tell you a story about their future. And Maisie's future has just begun.
A special note from Bailey: "I'm learning that little sisters pay attention to everything!!! Dad found Maisie on top of the kitchen table at home the other day. He was so surprised! I didn't have the heart to tell him that I was just reminiscing with her about when I was a puppy." Yes, the picture to the right is Bailey many years ago...