By Corinne Wnek
I’m one of those people who believe that things happen for a reason. I don’t always know why at the time, but at some point, I will make connections between events or circumstances and then have my ‘a ha!’ moment. And so it was the day I inherited Sparky the dog, a five-year-old creamy mix of spaniel and poodle, with the world’s most expressive eyes.
When Sparky arrived on the scene about two years ago at a time when I really didn’t need or want a second dog, it was annoying to me that I couldn’t just say, “doggone it, no”. Maybe it was that look he gave me which smacked of “you’re my last hope” that sealed the deal and my fate.
But I really didn’t want another pet at the time. I was dog tired from work and other outside commitments.
Besides, good dog sitters are hard to come by for one dog, let alone two and boarding was never an option. Thank God for mothers; mine in particular.
Now the ‘Sparkinator’ was first adopted as a puppy by a couple my sister knew but they also had another dog plus three young children. For whatever reason, Sparky was always in the doghouse there and it was inevitable that his days were numbered. This family seemed indifferent to him and two years later they were looking for another home for him.
Around this time, my sister’s mother-in-law was succumbing to the loneliness of widowhood. Under the assumption that she would be dog-sitting Sparky until an adoption could be arranged, she agreed to ‘help out’ and so Sparky moved into his new home.
It was love at first sight and both of them could once again play, snuggle and be needed. And there Sparky happily remained, loved and cherished, until his second owner passed away five years later.
He was left in the house for about a month in the care of a wonderful live-in aide who adored him. But when this aide got a new assignment, she had to leave right away and once again, Sparky was alone.
I had a gut feeling this dog was coming my way. No one could or would take him. The notion that my terrier Ozzy would be willing to share the couch with another dog was likely to result in a Mexican standoff. But every dog has his day and the day belonged to Sparky.
As it turns out, Sparky has done more for me than I did for him by half-heartedly offering him a home. He is a constant reminder to me about how humans should live life. Whoever said you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks was clearly mistaken. They never met Sparky.
Since he moved in with us almost three years ago, Sparky has become indispensable. He is an example of resiliency in the aftermath of a crisis. He reminds me to stay flexible and adapt to life’s unexpected turns because this makes it easier to let go of the past and to be hopeful about the future.
This canine Casanova reminds me that having good manners and an even temperament can make life easier for everybody. And that sometimes it’s a good idea to just let sleeping dogs lie.
Ozzy had a change of heart and allows Sparky to share the couch and the bed, too. They bonded with one another and wrestle, play and swim and beg for treats together, an act they have perfected. We are officially a blended family and better for it. Hot diggity dog!
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