I thought it might be nice to provide an introduction to myself so you can get to know a bit about me and how I came to be involved with ESRA. My first Springer was a Springer/Border Collie mix named Gabby. A coworker had a Springer that had an unplanned pregnancy and I ended up with one of her puppies. I knew just about nothing despite having grown up with dogs. Gabby was an amazing dog and the root of my love of Springers even though she looked like a Border Collie and acted a lot like one too. Next came “the twins” – two beautiful black and white bench bred Springers. I purchased Wembley from a breeder and although I had learned a lot with Gabby, I still had a lot to learn. Wembley was an amazing dog and eventually I ended up adopting his littermate Lucy from my then boyfriend at the time. I have to say I’ve never regretted taking Lucy and getting rid of that particular boyfriend. We will fast forward a bit here in my story but during this time there was a lot of mischief, training, dog shows (in obedience), and learning (mostly by me).
In 2008, I decided to become a volunteer with ESRA while living in Texas. Wembley and Lucy had brought me an immeasurable amount of joy and I wanted to do something to give back. They were 10 and Lucy really only liked the company of her brother so fostering wasn’t an option for me at that time but I worked on transports, phone interviews, site visits, etc. and made some fantastic friends along the way.
A couple of years later I took a job in Illinois and moved Wembley, Lucy and myself into temporary housing… a 1 bedroom apartment. Three weeks later Lucy died from congestive heart failure at Purdue University. I’m not sure I can put into words the shock and devastation that I felt and I know Wembley felt. She had never given any signs of being sick and she was just gone. We were trying to deal with this after having just moved and knowing no one. As badly as I ached and grieved for Lu, watching Wembley grieve was so much worse. He barked constantly while I was gone to work. When I was home he slept from exhaustion and grief. Thankfully my apartment neighbors were also gone during the day and the guy downstairs was very understanding. I eventually rented a two bedroom home with a fenced yard.
I tried everything. Between myself and a pet sitter, someone was checking on him every 2 hours and taking him out for a walk. I consulted with a behaviorist and the vet. We tried giving him something to relax him. I tried thundershirts. Nothing helped. This went on for several months and I knew that the only solution was a friend. I called ESRA and asked my dear friend Beth to let me know if she found the right dog. I just knew it could not be a little black and white girl like Lucy. I figured she would send me an older liver and white girl. She didn’t. She called me a week later and told me that she had the most perfect black and white boy. He was maybe 1 – 1-1/2 years old and was going to be one of those dogs that was perfect in every way. He had been found as a stray loose in very heavy Dallas traffic.
So, this is how I came to have my first ESRA rescue Springer. Linus was put on a plane and sent to me in Illinois from Texas. I picked Linus up at the airport. He was a baby and so wiggly and sweet. I was in love immediately which was good because he threw up on me in the car before we left the airport parking lot.
We had a very slow introduction of Wembley (who is 12) and Linus and it went well. I went to work the next day and when I came home for lunch, I remember walking up to the back door and hearing… silence for the first time in 5 months. Wembley was not inside barking!! I opened the backdoor unsure of what I would find. Wembley wasn’t hearing so well at this time so he didn’t hear me come in. What I found was Wembley laying next to Linus’ crate in the living room sound asleep. Linus had done in one day what I could not do in 5 months.
I ask you this… is it possible to fall in love a second time within 2 days?
If Wembley didn’t greet me at the backdoor, I found him next to Linus’ crate every day. Wembley lived another 2 years and I eventually lost him to prostate cancer. During those last two years, he was remarkable for a dog his age and I loved watching he and Linus play. He had a better life than I could have given him all thanks to Linus.
So, now it’s just Linus and I. He is my buddy. We do everything together and Beth was right. He is perfect in just about every way. I love him so deeply for the silly, wiggly, sweet and sensitive dog that he is. I love him so much for what he gave Wembley during his last 2 years of life. I love him so much for what he has given me that I didn’t even know I needed until he came into my life. I’m not sure who rescued who here.
So I started volunteering with ESRA to give back the joy that my Springers had brought me but I’m not sure I can ever repay what my ESRA resuced Springer Linus has brought me. I’m still an ESRA volunteer and this blog will undoubtedly reflect the view of an ESRA volunteer many times.
Now you know a little about me and my sweet Linus. I hope that you will share your rescue stories of hope, inspiration and joy on this blog. It is a key element and the reason that so many of us continue to give through this organization. Below is one of my favorite pictures of Wembley and Linus. It’s not a great picture but they truly loved each other and one that I cherish. I hope that you will feel free to share your Springer stories here too. I look forward to all things Springer!