They Never Forget

(A very special and moving blog)

A few weeks ago I took one of our shelter dogs to an offsite adoption event. She was a shy and nervous girl. It took her a bit to trust me and she never relaxed in my truck. When we arrived at the event’s location she was reserved but very good in her interactions with people and most of the other dogs that came in and out. Over the two hours we were there, when she was not interacting with someone, she would intently watch the doors open. You could just read she was anticipating the arrival of someone she knew.

By the time we left, we were officially bonded and she lay down on the front seat of my truck. We had taken the same route from the event as we had taken to it, but this trip back to the shelter was different. At one point she sat bolt upright with head and snout pointing skyward sniffing as though she was going to inhale all the air. After a moment or two she laid back down. I just knew what had happened but I wanted to confirm it.

When we arrived back at the shelter, I checked with the staff and I was sadly correct. Part of the route we took was near the home she once shared with her human family, the area where she inhaled as much familiarity as she could. Over and over I have seen dogs, especially the older ones, look expectantly for their family to return, staring at each car as it pulls in. When an unfamiliar person exits the vehicle they will often bow their head. The visual doesn’t have to be explained. Those moments bring tears to my eyes for the understanding they cannot possess about the ending of their beloved pack. I realize circumstances often prompt animal surrender and it is heart wrenching for many pet parents. But please consider your options carefully if at all possible, for you will always be in their hearts and they will never forget.