We found our sweet Lucy through an organization called MexPup. One of the group’s founders, Patty Marchak, heard that we were looking for a little dog to complete our family, and found us a little mixed beauty with a rescuer in Sayulita. Six months later, we found Max under our car: tiny, dirty, and trembling. I coaxed him out from under, scooped him up, and realized that I couldn’t just leave him behind. The entire family made a decision then and there, and he ended up with a safe place to live from that night on.
We did the right thing in both cases. Both dogs needed a home and good care. Of course, they came with baggage. Lucy is terrified of loud noises like fireworks and thunder. She cowers when she senses we are angry, even though we have never laid a hand on her. She wasn’t patient with the children at first, expecting the same rough treatment that she had probably received in her previous life.
Max wasn’t house trained. He initially refused to walk on a leash because he was so scared to be out on the street. He is aggressive with dogs he doesn’t know, adopting an “attack or be attacked” philosophy. He is afraid of car rides, and trembles and whines when we go somewhere in a vehicle. He fears most humans that he meets on the street.
But our family is populated entirely by dog people. We all love dogs at least as much as humans, and then some.
We loved these dogs from the moment they crept cautiously inside our home. The children were gentle and showed them that they had nothing to fear. We took them on short walks and stayed with them during those scary thunderstorms. We crossed the street when we saw other dogs coming. We fed them on a schedule so they knew they would eat every day. We let them come to us for pets and cuddles. If we had to leave them, we left them with people they knew and loved.
They became family so quickly that we don’t remember a time they weren’t part of it, and they took on roles that I truly believe were ones born of deep gratitude. Lucy spends most nights dozing on and off in between her customary security patrols around the house. If I ever have a bout of insomnia, I can count on hearing her padding around the house every couple of hours. checking in on every bedroom with a sleeping family member and then heading back to bed.
Max is our comedic relief and our intermediary in teen communication. If my kids are having a surly kinda day, I adopt Max’s voice (deep and cartoony, naturally), and we have a chat that usually ends with everyone laughing and Max’s head tilted all the way to one side, clearly wondering what kind of cracked-up humans he’s landed himself with.
Both dogs have been in our lives during some truly traumatic moments: the passing of dear friends, several fairly serious health crises, etc. And in all of my memories of grief, fear and pain, there’s a dog pressing his or her body against my lap, offering the kind of silent comfort only a compassionate friend can provide. When there’s a sick child, there’s a dog resting quietly beside them. When there are tears, there’s a friendly tongue attempting to wipe them away. When there are fears and insecurities, there’s a furry body, always offering protection regardless of the threat.
When you rescue an animal, you are showing your kindness and compassion to a helpless creature who needs protection. You are quite possibility saving their lives. But, as our family found out, they will save you too, over and over again. You may rescue an animal from very dire circumstances, but I can guarantee they will rescue you in more ways than you could ever imagine. Visit www.spcapv.com for more information.