P is for President

As we find ourselves knee-deep in the political season, a title like President could make you think this is about the upcoming election.

No.  I steer clear of politics.

I want to tell you about Calvin, aka:  Mr. President.

It is probably best that I not discuss the details of how Calvin happened to end up in my car.

Calvin, malnourished, with a large growth on his backside, and absolutely no reason to trust, epitomized the term Gentle Giant.  My friend, Susan, called a local rescue to get him in to a vet.  We didn’t have a plan.  We didn’t know what would happen next.  We just knew that whatever plan we came up with would be better than the current situation. Underweight at 150lbs, with every rib showing, Calvin was…formidable.

The vet’s staff was terrified and would not attempt to take him out of his kennel.  Apparently Mr. President had vocalized his confusion and upset at the day’s events.  The next morning, I stopped in to take him for a walk.  They were horrified that I would even attempt it.  I told them not to worry.  I had transported him and we had bonded.

They secured me in Calvin’s area.  I opened the kennel door and waited, talking quietly, and telling him that we would go on his time – it was up to him how and when we went outside.

It took about two minutes before he lumbered up, walked over and put his head in my lap.  I waited.  A couple minutes later, he looked me in the eye, lumbered up again and walked to the door.  I told the staff we were coming out.  Everyone scrambled behind counters and gave us a wide berth.

We walked in the sunshine, he wagged his tail.  I told him about my morning.  He listened. I stayed with him for a couple of hours, getting him used to being there; assuring him that it was OK.  I left after they sedated him to give him a full examination.

The next month was a whirlwind.  He stayed with Susan, learned to appreciate baths, and learned to trust.

Ultimately, my friend Rebekah, dog trainer extraordinaire, took him on.

In the weeks that Calvin was with Rebekah,  he gained weight, built up his stamina, muscle tone and overall health. He learned unconditional love.

Rebekah came home one day and found him struggling.  It was only because he trusted her completely that he found the will to get in the car, go to the vet and let them examine him.  Bloat – too far gone to attempt surgical intervention – his body was shutting down.

Rebekah did the only thing she could.  She lay on the floor with him, with his head in her lap, and helped him cross the rainbow bridge.

Why tell this story when it doesn’t have a happy ending?

Calvin mattered.  He changed every single person he met.  There was something about him that made us want to BE better…better trainers, better rescuers, better human beings. I have loved and bonded with many dogs over the years.  Calvin was different.

I feel gratitude. I am so very grateful that the big lug found his way to my car that morning.

Perhaps that is the lesson,

Even when the end result makes your eyes leak, there is a reason for gratitude in every situation.

Where is the tissue?  Damn leaky eyes….

Rest easy, Mr. President.  You did your job well.