photo by @vincentjmusi Bear, 2018
I knew Bear was going to leave a mark.
My wife, dog whisperer and faithful assistant Callie is over at the neighborhood Laundromat where
they have those enormous washing machines that can handle 250 square feet of Saint Bernard-drool-splattered canvas.
When I first started dating her, I secretly wondered if Callie and her siblings were raised by a pack of St. Bernards.
The dogs are prominently featured with the children, outnumbering them in every family portrait. I imagined the dogs driving them down to the local photographer in a station wagon with those wood-grain panels.
We’re getting our picture made today kids, the dogs might announce. And if the kids behaved, the dogs would pull out ice cream cones from one of those wooden barrels slung around their necks for lost travelers and cranky kids.
4 year-old Bear came to me recently and while the whole story is far too complex to post here, I can say it is the tale of two souls who found each other, who needed each other and who saved each other.
Shot, terrorized and left to die an emaciated dog was found roaming the streets with a twisted stomach and a couple of bullets in him.
In another town a young woman struggled to break free from the grasp of paralyzing depression and anxiety. She needed help and the dog needed her.
So as veterinarians worked to put the dog’s body back together, this young woman went to work putting his life back together. And as Bear’s physical and mental scars healed so did hers.
They rescued each other and although they both face challenges from their past, I’m pleased to report they are in good health and nearly inseparable.
There are times when a dog is going to leave a mark and this was indeed one of them.
For more #yearofthedogs, my personal project on the beauty and character of dogs, please follow @vincentjmusi