It was five years ago TODAY that I adopted Abby (lil’ Zoey’s sister) from the Sebastian County Humane Society. It was one of the most momentous days in my life. For the small price of $80 I found my best friend. When I first saw Abby, she was a large, matted, black and gray scruffy dog.
I was still living in Arkansas and volunteering with the Junior League of Fort Smith; I was on a tour of the local Humane Society with a great group of kids. I just kept noticing a medium sized dog rubbing her body on the wires of the cage and then licking the bars; she clearly wanted out. I went in with no intention of getting a dog. I had lost my first dog, Lady, a few years earlier and that loss was still so fresh and affecting that I didn’t think I would ever get another dog. But clearly life had a different plan.
I returned to the Humane Society a few more times, and each time the sight of this dog had an unexpectedly large impact on me. I just couldn’t get her out of my head. Something inside of me told me that I needed to adopt this dog; I can’t explain it, it was just a strong feeling. I decided to just jump in, overlooking whatever concerns I might have. Her name was either going to be Abby or Zoey. But there was really no choice; she was always an Abby to me.
When I picked Abby up, I walked her out to the parking lot. I was planning to put her in my car. After all, what pound dog would know how to get into one? Instead, Abby just jumped into the driver’s seat and then walked onto the passenger seat. Clearly, she was quite familiar with the concept of automobiles (as is the case to this day, nothing makes her happier than riding in a car, including sticking her head out the window) and she just wagged her tail all the way to Petco. And so our adventure began.
I took Abby to get groomed that day and was amazed with what appeared when I came back. My supposed 25 lb. dog was now just 12 or so. All her hair was gone, and in its place was a somewhat scared, yet also vibrant, loving and playful animal.
Abby has been my sidekick through thick and thin. My friends all know that I consider Abby (and Zoey for that matter) to be my child but more than anything she is my friend. She was with me when I bought my first house in Arkansas. She was with me when I decided to uproot my life and move to Manhattan. She watched with concern as I began hyperventilating when the Mayflower moving truck pulled out of my driveway in Fort Smith, signifying that I was finally on the fast track to the Big Apple, with no turning back. She jumped into the car with a huge smile on her face, just like she did outside of the Humane Society, as we took off to drive to New York City. She was with me every step of the way. And during those first days in New York, which were filled with concern, wonder and the unknown, she never left my side. She was a source of strength and constancy that gave me comfort and happiness. I relished coming home to her jumping on my leg, smiling at me and sitting by my side.
In fact, that’s usually where you can find Abby — by my side. She is a great cuddler, keeping me warm in the winter. She is incredibly perceptive, drying my tears (literally licking them) when I’m sad. She is a friendly, happy presence in my home, running to meet me at the door when I get home, if she isn’t there already, jumping as high as she can as the elevator beeps on its way up. She is alternately playful and sweet.
Abby and Zoey couldn’t be any more different. Whereas Zoey is a total extrovert and ham, immediately rushing toward every new person that comes into her life, Abby is reserved and slow to warm to newcomers. Most people consequently gravitate to Zoey at first blush. But those who spend a lot of time with the girls always end up falling in love with Abby. Just last week, someone who’s known both girls for a while but had never spent much time with them, told us that after two straight weeks with them, he “really loves” Abby and commented repeatedly on how good a dog she is. Abby’s dignity, sweetness and obedience grows on everyone she comes into contact with for a lengthy period of time. She’s simply impossible not to love.
Interestingly, it’s because of Abby that we even decided to get Zoey. Abby suffers from intense separation anxiety, pouting deeply when she knows she’s about to be left alone (in a particularly funny episode earlier this year, she ran outside and literally played dead, thinking that might stop me from leaving for dinner). I thought getting a second dog to spend the day with, sharing the house, would make her less lonely. That concept started the long process that eventually led us to Zoey.
Abby has been with me to Boston, Washington D.C., Detroit, Maine, South Carolina, Memphis, and numerous trips to the Virgin Islands. She’s become such a great traveler, happily going into her carrier and sleeping when I put her under the airline seat. Seatmates have commented numerous times that they can’t believe I had a dog with me. And she so loves the wind, sun and warm weather that it gives me so much pleasure to watch her enjoy the Caribbean during winter.
With Abby you can sense her love and loyalty. You can watch as she lives each and every day to the fullest. I want to thank everyone for allowing me this one day to highlight my other dog, my best friend Abby. I am so grateful to have her in my life and it is just another perfect example why one should adopt their next family member from their local animal rescue. It was the best thing I have ever done. Happy 5th Birthday Abby! XO-L*