She stayed in the kitchen during our visit, as close to the entrance of the living room as she could be and still, technically, be on the kitchen floor. She knew her boundaries, and she may have even known she was subject to removal for any infraction.
Huge eyes fixed on me in what I would come to know was a border collie stare, black and white with classic markings, she was a smart and beautiful dog.
Our friends’ son adopted her from a shelter but could no longer provide a home. She was staying with his parents while he tried to find someone who would take her, and this reprieve was strictly limited.
A possible adoption had fallen through when she needed emergency treatment a day after being spayed, and her next stop, when time ran out at this house, would be the shelter where she had already served time.
Eventually, I found myself sitting nearby, petting her while she sighed quietly but ecstatically at my touch.
I was smitten. My husband was skeptical. I had never taken care of a dog, but, despite his misgivings, our relationship with Eddie began.
It was not so smooth at first. I was unprepared for so many things.
Eddie never begged, but wanted to be included in every snack and meal, watching each bite and looking at us beseechingly, making me incredibly uncomfortable. Although she obediently stayed off furniture, there was more dog hair around than I ever expected. Wet, muddy paws had to be wiped off several times a day, and walks, during a cold and rainy November, were not the pleasant excursions I had anticipated. Border collies love to run, and although she was a medium-sized dog of 50-pounds, I was almost pulled off my feet several times.
After just a few days I began to wonder if dog adoption was for us, and by us I meant me. My husband suggested we look into alternate arrangements before we got “attached” to Eddie. A friend was looking for a companion for her dog, Clancy, so we got the dogs together.
My friend and her dog loved Eddie, so everything turned out great. Eddie had a loving, new home, Clancy had a best friend, and I vacuumed dog hair for the very last time.
My husband and I were oddly subdued, you could even say sad, the night Eddie left with my friend. Was it possible we had already become “attached”?
When I checked a day later, my friend said Eddie was doing well and adjusting. Of course she was adjusting, I thought.
Adopted as a puppy from a shelter, back to the shelter, almost adopted, back to the hospital, on probation at a temporary home and then our home, which had proven to be as temporary as the rest. So far her whole life had been one big adjustment.
I went to get her, to bring her home, and my dear friend, who is still my friend, understood.
Eddie was with us until the day we took her to the vet for the last time, fifteen years later.
During her long life, she was a very good dog. We went to dog training, mostly to train me. We shared snacks, enjoyed games of fetch and long walks along the river. I stopped worrying so much about dog hair. For years we spelled out words like “walk” and “park” in front of her.
When the three of us were together, she kept her eyes reassuringly on my husband and me, watching out for us, her pack.
When Eddie left that final time, we adjusted. But still, we miss her, little Eddie, our good dog.