Mother nature has graced us with her mercy. The sky is a beautiful shade of robin's egg blue, painted with pillows of clouds in shades of alabaster, silver and gray. The sun’s warmth a welcome reprieve from the bitter, biting cold.
I arrive in time to witness Dan romping around the play yard, bounding through the freshly fallen snow, kicking up puffs that sparkle in the sun light.
I can't help but smile.
I walk in to find the lobby empty, quiet .. except for the lone whimpers and howls of someone new.
I peak into the office window and find Carla at her desk, Shannon dozing at her feet. She smiles and rises, making her way out to say hello.
We share in the joy of our big, lovable, Marlon finding the perfect family.
I notice that Dixie, the frightened, little, black “fox”, isn't in her kennel ...
I’m told more fantastic news. Dixie is at the vet being spade. She too is on her way to a loving home.
I can’t help but smile.
I make my way back to adoption.
The first, eager face to greet me belongs to Checkers …
Eyes of amber, rimmed with black, drawing one in with his intelligent gaze.
A coat of soft, golden tan with undertones of cream. A subtle white diamond on his chest. Ears that stand half up and half down, and bounce as he walks.
Upon arrival, Checkers was extremely nervous, fearful and shy. Timid, tucking his head and tail, pressing his head into your chest whenever you bent down to greet him. His body telling a small part of the mystery that is his past.
Thankfully, in time, he has improved. Growing calm and more confident each day.
He can still shows signs of fear when you move to pet him or hook up a leash. A raised hand immediately causes him to flinch or cower. I feel anger and rage bubbling up as I try to comprehend what someone could have done to him …
We spend a few moments greeting one another.
Sliding my back down the wall to brace myself against his weight as he leans his entire body into mine. Running my hands through his soft, warm, golden coat. Scratching the white spot on his chest. Burying my face in his neck.
“How ya doing boy? I missed you.”
I feel him relax. Trust.
Slowly, I click the leash to his collar.
“Come on bub. Let’s go.”
We’re no sooner out the door and Checkers pulls me to the snow banks along the plowed path. He starts shoving his face into the drifts, reveling in the cool, bare landscape that surrounds us. He’s one of the few shelter residents built for the cold.
As we make our way into the wooded trails, we’re greeted by nature’s winter symphony. Chickadees, Juncos and Blue Jays singing their favorite tunes. The wind playing the tall, thin, spruce trees like a creaky violin.
Our steady pace is halted by a scent on the trail. Checkers can’t help but bury his nose and face in the snow again, snuffling, searching for what lies beneath. Whatever it is, he can’t take in enough, he flops down, writhing his whole body, blanketing himself in winter’s perfume.
I can’t help but laugh.
When he’s satisfied with his snow bath, we continue along to Margie’s Mile, blanketed with fresh powder, unbroken and smooth. Only the birds leaving their delicate tracks behind.
Checkers is patient with me as I pause to create images of the lines and shadows. The light today feels like magic. I notice him as he notices the birds flitting around in the trees. They feel the magic too.
We make our way around the bend and down the hill, back to the warmth of the shelter.
The snow is billowing up to my knees, light sifted powdered sugar, leaving a wake of mist and glimmer.
Once again, I can’t help but smile.