One year ago today some good-hearted rescuers found a living mass of hair tied by a leather belt to crate at a “backyard breeders.” The conditions were as horrific, if not more so, than you see on one of those ASPCA commercials designed to open not just our hearts but our wallets as well.
One of the rescuers’ first stops was a groomer. When the groomer finished removing nearly 2 pounds of hair, she called up the rescuers to report her findings.
Groomer: You’ll never guess what I found under the hair.
Rescuers: A dog?
Groomer: Of course! But you’ll never believe what kind of dog. Its a schnauzer!
Indeed, it was a schnauzer. A salt and pepper schnauzer with all the classic looks and features of a pure bred. Still, questions remained. What was his name? How old was he? Was he a toy schnauzer or a miniature schnauzer who was not being well fed?
In the absence of records, the rescuers estimated his age at five years old and gave him the birthday of December 4, 2015, the same date in 2020 they found and rescued him. Since they didn’t know if he had a name, they gave him one: Ebeneezer. It isn’t clear whether the misspelling of his name was by accident or intention. Nonetheless, it stuck.
He was fostered by a wonderful family about 70 miles from here who fell in love with him and all of his quirks. He was largely uncivilized and they did a great job of doing the basics of house training, giving him regular meals, and loving him up. In February of this year, the foster family chose us to give Ebeneezer a home.
Today, for his birthday, we are taking Ebie to get his one year exam and get his vaccinations updated (yep, everyone has to be vaccinated if they want to live here). I know, not much of a birthday present, huh? Not to worry. He is getting a “bully stick” when we get back. It is hard to believe how far he has come in this past year.
When he arrived in our home on February 17, he weighed about 11 pounds and we really thought he was a toy schnauzer. He was tiny, quiet, and wandered about wondering if he was really in the right place. That look of wonder didn’t leave his eyes and face for months.
At the same time, he took comfort in the knowledge that we had food, soft places to rest, chewys to keep him occupied, and windows sills for him to perch and watch the world go by.
Overtime the wonder wore off and he settled into his new home. He began to eat better and slowly his weight increased. Today he weighs between 16 and 17 pounds which officially qualifies him as miniature schnauzer.
Recently Ebie achieved a milestone by graduating from his first obedience class. He has learned the fundamentals of sit, watch me, wait, and leave it. The “come” command is, well, coming along. He is also learning a bit of Spanish. He is responding quite nicely to “vamos” (let’s go) when we are out on walks.
All of this to say…isn’t it amazing the difference a year can make? At this time last year we were beginning to recognize that we were losing Dolly, the dog we were sure was going to be our last dog, only six months after losing Madison. Both were also rescues and both were well over 14 years old (human years, that is). As hard as it was to let them go, it was their times.
Only a few weeks after we let Dolly go and we had agreed that we would have no more dogs, Ebeneezer appeared in PetFinder and one of us was smitten. Okay, but the other is a real sucker for lost causes and he had not seen a cause any more lost for a while than that dog.
Today Ebie is a part of our home and we are a part of his pack. He goes everywhere he can with us and we are happy to have him. He still has many of the same quirks and weirdities that he had when he arrived in our home. He loves to sit in or watch out windows and check out the neighborhood. He goes to bed really early. He “talks” to us (no, not barking but making a weird high pitched sound like he is trying to form words). Of course, he mostly talks in the morning when he gets up at…sigh…sunrise, which isn’t quite so bad now that it’s winter.
For Ebie, a year makes a huge difference in his life. For all of us a year does make a big difference, though sometimes it isn’t that dramatic and so we don’t see it. When we don’t see it, we often miss it. Even worse, we miss the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate it. As we close out this year and look forward to 2022, let’s keep alert to all that lies ahead. Let’s not miss out on what the coming year brings us.