The light danced through the car windows and onto mine and my husband’s faces as a nervous groan emitted from my lips. “This is a really big day” I said, as he held my hand tenderly. Today is the day we meet our new family member: a 2 year old german shepherd named May, who had been rescued from behind a dumpster weighing only 28 pounds. She was rescued by a pet association and taken to a vet where she was diagnosed with disseminated aspergillosis, a rare fungal condition, giving her a life expectancy of 6-18 months. As the car came to a halt, I realized that this was time. My heart fluttered as my stomach turned, and I saw our new girl sitting in the grass and waiting for us to get out of the car. She was scared, traumatized, and I could see that it took all of the bravery in the world to allow my hand to make contact with her beautiful face. “May” I exhaled, holding back tears. She was shaking, sheepish, and shy. Her shyness would not deter my husband, though, who reached for her tennis ball and tossed it across the way. Immediately, May ran towards the ball excited and joyful, and brought it back to us. Although still shy, May had clearly determined we were not a threat.
The day we brought May into our home, she made herself a spot on the ground in our bedroom. I promptly picked her up and laid her gently onto the bed-since this happened, she sleeps in bed with us every night, cuddled up like three sardines in a can. She loves gifts, and being pet lovers we give her all the gifts she could imagine.
After months of having May, she evolved, and became a sassy, fun, outgoing dog. Even with her life being so short, she’s got enough personality for ten lifetimes. Her love of tennis balls and fetch became even stronger, and her need for attention became more intense as well. May is still with us to this day, living longer than what was expected and keeping her spirits high. She loves playing fetch with her dad and loves cuddling, and spending time with her family. May is splendidly happy, and we as a family have become an airtight bond unable to be broken. As I write this, her face resting on my arm, impatiently waiting for me to hold her close and give another physical promise that this time her owners are not going anywhere.
I wish I could say that adopting a terminally ill dog is sad, but it hasn’t been. May is such a light in our life. So hopeful, so happy, and so loving. May causes us to laugh every day, and to take a moment here and there to enjoy the family we have created. We recognize that we cannot change May’s past, but we have given her a future that she can wake up every morning feeling excited about. We hope that when you are looking at bringing in a pet, you look at the sick ones, the shy ones, and the ones with health issues too. Those may be the ones really needing rescuing, and they may just rescue you too.