Over the winter, as many of you know, we lost two dogs, Frieda and Lenore. Lenore was very much a family dog, Frieda was a very close and dedicated companion to Maria, the two of them had been to Calvary and back together. Since then, we have been looking for another dog, traversing the breeder and shelter system, considering breeds, rescues, what was best for us, for Maria. Today we found our dog, courtesy of the very wonderful woman who gave Red to me.
This morning, frustrated by our stumbles and confusion and growing impatience, I e-mailed Dr. Karen Thompson, getting frustrated and conscious of Maria's strong desire for a dog to be a companion for her, I told her we were looking for a dog. I asked if she had any ideas, I explained the situation carefully and honestly to her, I said it would be our dog but more Maria's dog than mine, her Studio dog, walking dog, pal. Karen asked if we were open to a puppy and I said, sure. She asked if we were looking for a border collie, and I said we weren't specifically looking for a border collie, but that is my favorite breed, and Maria loves them also, we would surely consider one.
Karen said that as she read my e-mail, she had just gotten off the phone talking to a friend who had reserved one of her new puppies but her circumstances had changed and she and Karen agreed that it wasn't the best time for her to have a puppy. Karen said the dog was much like Red, had a similar temperament. I said we weren't looking for a herding dog, but we could find plenty for a border collie to do, we knew how to give border collies a good life, lots of interesting work and help keep them sane.
Karen, who is a minister, a livestock farmer a dog breeder and a mystic, said this was an adorable pup, she had one blue eye, the right one. She said the line produced dogs of extraordinary temperament – much like Red's.
She was sweet and charismatic. Her name, she said, was Fate. Getting a dog is a complex process for me, people are always telling me and others how to get a dog, I am equally determined to figure it out for myself. I am always thinking photos, love, stories, even a book, and I do – consciously or not – look for a dog whose personality seems to speak for itself. Karen sent us some videos of Fate, she had that sparkle and curiosity and connection I always look for, and Maria felt the same way.
She called Karen up and the two of them struck a deal, we are going to Virginia Friday to pick her up and bring her home. Red is coming along with us. We were considering older dogs, but I also know there is no better way to share one's life with a dog than to grow up with it.
It was nothing short of a miracle, really, and Fate is the right name for a dog who seemed on a fast track to us, to be in the right place at the right time. She found her way to us, as they do, it seems it was meant to be, and there is no happier circumstance for us than to get a dog from Karen Thompson, we love her and trust her completely. You can see Fate here, she is the puppy on the right, the white coat and the mostly black head. The voice is Karen's. It is a sacrament for me to get a new dog, I am grateful to Karen for once again using her compassion and empathy to bring me one.
I am so excited to be finally meeting Karen face-to-face, and to bring Red back to visit with her.
We take our time searching for a dog, we do it carefully. I trusted – and so did Maria – that we would know the right one when we saw it, and this is the right one. We both knew it right away, we turned to one another and said "this is a miracle." We were very open to a shelter dog, or one from a rescue group, we didn't see one that clicked with us, or fit with our farm life. Fate will not be a sheep dog, we will not work her with sheep or turn her in that direction. That is Red's province. Maria works at home, Fate will offer the glorious opportunity to be with us during the critical period where she can grow and learn from us, and where we can raise a puppy together and use the knowledge we have accumulated living with and training some wonderful dogs.
We will, of course, share the process with you every step of the way. It was a hard winter, brutally cold, a lot of loss for us – Simon, Lenore, Frieda. As always we are determined not to wallow in our losses but take responsibility for choosing life every time and moving forward. I am, as always, grateful to Dr. Karen Thompson, she has truly been an angel in my life with dogs. When I get down on myself, I always think I must not be too bad a person to have earned the trust and faith of someone who is this good.
And I am thrilled at the prospect of doing this with Maria. We never had the opportunity to have a child together, and this is not a child. But it is, nevertheless, a miracle, a source of love, learning and connection. I can't wait until Friday. More to come.