I originally shared this blog in June of this year. I did not know then, that in three months time, we would be easing our little sweetheart’s passage from this earth. Though she amazed all of her vets with how she handled her kidney disease, much like all of the other challenges she faced during her lifetime, the time came to no longer fight for survival, but surrender peacefully; though the pain of letting go was searing, we were privileged to be her voice to be sure it was done respectfully, honorably, and with the purest love we could offer through our grief. We found a kind, soft-spoken veterinarian to help facilitate Legacy’s journey; she was comfortable at home in a room surrounded by those who adored her most in the world, either physically present or in photos. The agony of her loss has been made bearable by the healing words of family and friends, and for that I am truly grateful. I am certain a spirit as bold as hers lives on- certainly within those of us who cherished her. I hope you will read this original blog and be inspired to adopt; to look into the eyes of a gorgeous rescue animal and say: Come With Me. We’ll have a great life.

Legacy's 15 birthday photoHow does a dog on death row at a shelter in Duluth, Minnesota, become the eager recipient of gluten-free vanilla cupcakes on her 15th birthday? The answer: Rescue, then Adoption. Our pup, that we named Legacy, was born into the world with deformed front legs; a dog that had suffered abuse in the year or so she belonged to the wrong family. Her fate steered in our direction when this stunning beauty, with eyes of brown and gold, that no one wanted, understood or committed to, was brought to a kill shelter and rescued by a young woman who told us she had a Zen-like calm among all of the chaos- who decided it would not be the last place she would know.

Our Legacy is a powerhouse of resilience. Life handed her a deck stacked on the high side of adversity. With her misshapen front paws, and an early environment we know little about except Legacy’s behavior, that proved to us her map of mistreatment, we knew that above all, with us, she would experience comfort, advocacy, acceptance and unrestrained love. At this milestone age of 15, 14 years after we adopted her, I can say we have kept our word.

Legacy is one of those dogs- the once in a lifetime combination of complexity, grace, and uniqueness of needs that is a privilege to care for and understand. Never a cuddler, we earned her trust in stages, and in allowing us to love on her, she lets her guard down just enough to relax and enjoy the doting. That is a reward in itself. Legacy’s genetic wiring would have taken a less indomitable spirit to a depressed, possibly withdrawn place, but not our girl. She has faced leg surgeries to enhance her mobility, surgeries for the removal of two cancerous spots and that of a benign mammary tumor, a near fatal dog attack that resulted in 28 stitches, low thyroid, allergies, degenerative disc disease and arthritis (in part for having to over-compensate for her front legs), and currently the challenges of kidney disease, not uncommon in graceful senior ladies. By offering Legacy a combination of traditional and alternative therapies for all of these things, and the new addition of a home-cooked diet to keep her appetite sharp, we honor her “can do” attitude every day.

This milestone birthday found a happy dog anxious for us to blow out the candles so she could enjoy her cupcake. She, much like most rescue dogs, gives immeasurably more than she gets. She lives simply, doesn’t get in her own way, accepts help when she needs it, and stands in her own power. I love you, angel.