I lost my best friend and furry assistant, Duffy, the Golden retriever on Halloween.It was actually 4AM the next day, which made it All Saints Day.That was appropriate as All Saints Day is a day in remembrance for those who have died.Duffy’s stomach turned that night.We rushed him to the hospital where they did emergency surgery.What they found was more serious – cancer of the liver.We were forced to make the awful decision to put him down.

He lived a full life and had just turned 10 a few months before, the typical life span of a Golden.Duffy lived life to the fullest, even on his last day.He was way more than a dog.He was a great listener, walking buddy and companion in every sense of the word.

 Duffy left such a void, that it was hard to imagine another dog taking his place.There would never be another Duffy.I have been fortunate to work out of my home for the last two years and still do.That’s why Duffy’s presence has left an even bigger void having spent so much time with him.

At the beginning of the year I wrote in my journal, “I will find the perfect dog to love again.”Love is all about risk.I am so grateful to have had Duffy to love.I knew that I would lose him some day.It was only a matter of when that day would be.I also knew that I didn’t want to live without another dog.

 Enter Wilson.My journal entry came true when a friend let me know that there was a 20 month old Labrador retriever who needed a good home.There were a couple of issues; one of the daughters had developed allergies and the other was that this was a very energetic dog that needed lots of attention and exercise.The mother had broken her foot, making long walks out of the question.With four active children going off to play in sports and church events, Wilson wasn’t getting the attention he needed.

 My husband and I love to exercise and always took Duffy on a four mile walk route around our neighborhood as well as long hikes in state parks on weekends. So, giving this dog exercise was not going to be a problem.With me working from home, the attention wouldn’t be a problem either.

 As it turns out, we are Wilson’s fourth owners.Can you say, “Big red flag?” We made arrangements to meet the family and Wilson.He is a very handsome fellow and first impression – he is definitely a juvenile delinquent.I never had the courage to watch the movie Marley and Me, but I did read the book.One look at Wilson and I thought, “This is Marley.”My first question was, “Is he afraid of storms?”I was relieved when they told me no.

 We had several other visits and decided that we were meant to have this dog.Prayers were definitely answered all around.The family wanted to find him a good home, I needed a dog to love again and Wilson needed a family to give him the attention, exercise and structure that he needs.Yes, structure.Having been bounced around, Wilson had no clear guidelines or rules, stated simply, no dog obedience training.

 That’s why, before he came home to live with us, we sent him off to doggy boot camp.We just picked him up yesterday and brought him home.

To be continued……..