As the saying goes: when it rains, it pours…cats and dogs! Just a couple of weeks after bringing my foster cat, Yve, home in 2008 I met this beautiful, snow-white Labrador named Snowball. Snowball had originally been brought into our clinic (at the humane society) to be euthanized. Her owners were moving and couldn’t take her or their three cats with them. Thankfully, the shelter I worked at did not provide (what we call) “convenience euthanasia” so Snowball was, instead, surrendered to us along with her feline sisters. The shelter manager walked into my office and told me the story while I caressed Snowball’s soft fur and looked into her sweet eyes.
Snowball was older; her owners told us about 12. I wondered: What are her chances of adoption being 12 years old? I took a picture of her on my phone and sent it to my mom in Michigan. She showed the photo to her co-worker and our family friend, Deanne, who absolutely loves yellow Labs. I got a call a few minutes later. Deanne wanted her! She didn’t care how old she was, she just knew that Snowball needed to be hers.
So began a rapid chain of events: processing the adoption paperwork, a check-up at the vet, a good bath and grooming compliments of a dear friend, purchase of supplies and food, and introducing Snowball to my crew at home. What had I gotten myself into?
But, Snowball fit in perfectly! She and Mya were gradually introduced over the course of a few hours with a bedroom door between them. They were napping in the living room together that night. Snowball was just a super sweet, mellow dog and Mya was relatively unaffected by this sudden arrival of what was the 12th animal to temporarily join my household that April! (You would think that it was madness, but it was sheer bliss!)
Snowball had an ear infection so I had to clean and treat her ears twice a day for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I worked with Deanne to secure transportation from Florida to Michigan for Snowball. First, we had a flight booked out of Tampa but when I got there it was too hot and it was just a crazy mess so we headed home. In the end, Snowball made her journey safely to Detroit via a Delta flight out of Fort Myers. With the help of another friend, Snowball got a quick last-minute walk before we loaded her into her kennel. I signed all of the paperwork, gave her one last kiss and then secured the kennel. I just about sobbed as I watched them wheel her crate away. She looked back at me with a look of confusion that broke my heart. But I knew that she was going to one of the best dog-people I knew so I watched them wheel her away and then silently made my way to my car.
My mom was with Deanne a few hours later when she first met Snowball at the airport. It was an emotional meeting but it was love at first sight for everyone involved. I remember getting the call and breathing a huge sigh of relief. Snowball had made it HOME.
Deanne changed Snowball’s name to Lily and they began their life together along with her husband, daughter, and two other yellow Labs. As it would turn out, it was determined that Snowball Lily (that’s what I call her) was actually closer to 9 years old and she was in relatively good health for a larger geriatric dog. Icing on the cake! A few months later, I visited Snowball Lily in her new home and when I went to leave, she followed me. Not only did she remember me, she knew that I was someone she had gone somewhere with and that she might like to go with me again. It warmed my heart to still have that connection.
It’s been four-and-a-half years since Snowball Lily made the 1,300 mile journey to her new life and, while she is unfortunately experiencing ailments that come on with age, she is still one of the sweetest dogs around. And she is loved…a true member of the family.
Snowball’s story is not so different from the thousands of wonderful rescue and adoption stories that we hear about each day. I am just thankful that she presented herself in my life, that I had the chance to love her, and that I was able to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. Cheers to second chances and the unconditional love of dogs!
The definition of a gentle soul. Snowball rests under the coffee table.
Snowball took to her kennel right away. It was her safe place which worked out perfectly because I wanted her to get comfortable with/in it before she had to travel in it. Here my Lily watches over Snowball while she sleeps. (Gotta love glowing cat eyes.)
It turned out that Snowball liked Mya’s crate too! It looks like she’s asking “is it okay if I hang out in here?” So funny and utterly adorable.