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SF Blog: The Power of Pets

A farm just isn’t a farm without a dog and a cat.

Four years ago, my family was reeling from the loss of our beloved dog, Riley. She was 15 years old, her health was failing, and her time had come. My husband, Jayson, our sons, and I petted her and told her goodbye as she slipped away at the vet.

We missed Riley terribly, but after a few months, we started thinking about getting another dog. There’s just something about the unconditional love and sheer joy that a dog brings to the party. Jayson wanted to wait until summer, but I had been looking online at the local shelter and had fallen in love with Dave, an adorable black-and-white pooch. His photos were so sweet, and something about him just spoke to me. I had to have him.

I started wearing Jayson down by emailing him photos of Dave on a daily basis. Finally, I told him that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was a dog. How could he say no? I gave him three sons! I checked online daily to make sure Dave was still there. We went to meet him, and the rest is history.

The folks at the shelter told us that Dave had been with them longer than any other dog – around six months. He had come in with another dog as a stray, and it turned out the person who owned them couldn’t keep them, so she just turned them out onto the street. The other dog was adopted right away, but for some reason Dave was still there. We like to think he was waiting for us.

Dave wasted no time making himself at home on our small farm. Watching him run around the pasture for the first time, chasing the boys, and leaping through the tall grass, he seemed to almost be laughing. We wondered if he had ever been in the country before and had this much room to roam. He tromped through the creek, rolled around in the clover, and tried to figure out how to get on top of the hay bales. The cows confused him at first, but he has since proven to be an excellent helper in rounding them up when they escape the fence. Good boy, Dave!

Because he was in the shelter for so long, Dave has major separation anxiety. When he first came home with us, we had to secure his kennel with carabiner clips whenever we left, or he would break out, tear the house apart, open the fridge, and eat our bacon-wrapped filet mignon. That’s a true story.

Help for his anxiety came in an unlikely package. Two winters ago, an orange kitten with a frostbitten nose showed up clinging to our back door, looking inside at us. Milo joined our family, and she and Dave got along famously. In fact, as long as they are together, they can be left on our enclosed back porch, which leads to the basement. Dave doesn’t worry now, because as long as he has Milo, he isn’t alone.

I’m so happy we saved Dave from the shelter and Milo from the cold. But really, we saved each other.

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