I first saw her when she was 5 weeks old. I stepped into a pen of 12 roiling springer puppies. 11 were killing each other and she sat at my feet just looking up at me as though I was the lifeline to her survival. I picked her up and she nuzzled into my neck. I was a goner.
I visited her every day the pups were in their outdoor arena. The day she turned 8 weeks, I swooped her up into my arms and she stayed there, burrowing into my heart until the dark day I laid on a rug next to her while the chemicals took her away from me.
I had Aidan, my big male Springer, but there would never be another dog like Beryl. Brian and I got into Springer rescue and we fostered dogs, pulled them terrified from shelters, found them homes and adopted 4 of them ourselves. They were all seniors who no one wanted; they found a home with us.
After our last, sweet little Jack, died I knew I couldn't bear getting another old one when we found Niamh. She was about 5 when we got her from the Waterville shelter 1 1/2 years ago. A Poodle is not a Springer and she was probably the hardest case we ever had - not housebroken, explosive diahrea for 3 month and terrified of her own shadow. She remains a fear pee-er to this day.
This past week I received an email from my Springer friend, Donna. It was a mass mailing to anyone who might be able to take a Springer girl; her dog Molly's full sister although not a litter mate. We emailed with the couple who needed to find a home for her and arranged to open our house to her.
The couple came with heavy hearts, having made one of the toughest decisions they had had to make. The minute I saw this diminutive black and white sweetheart, I hoped it would work out for us and her.
Gabby (Gabriela) has been with us only 3 days but has totally won us over. Her wiggly butt and gentle kisses have warmed our hearts and endeared her to us already. She literally bows to Aidan like he is some arcane canine God but keeps her distance from Niamh, the whirling dervish. Best of all she has become my shadow and the brightest warmest little doggie spot in my life in a long time.
No dog can take another dogs place because dogs like people are individuals. But I'm lovin' this little Springer girl.