Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Mantras of Logan

All rescue dogs have a story to tell of how they defied the odds of survival and triumphed over those odds that were so stacked against them.  I think that Logan has one such story.  

It was November of 2006, and the rescue was contacted by another group about taking a senior Golden that had been rescued from a shelter.  His family had brought him there saying they were afraid he was going to bite their grandchildren.  With overcrowding in the small rural shelter, and with the 'fear' of a possible behavior issue with children, the paperwork was completed and Logan was to be euthanized as soon as possible.  However, as you may know, small shelters can be understaffed and employees overworked, and this particular shelter was no exception--Because that night, for whatever reason, the animal warden given the job to euthanize Logan did not get around to it.  The next morning when a shelter worker arrived and she saw Logan, looking at her and wagging his tail, it kindled something inside her--She felt strongly at that moment, that Logan did not deserve the fate that was awaiting him and she took the bold step to hide Logan and keep him safe.  Logan's story at this point gets a little fuzzy, and the details are not very clear about what happened next--All I know is that Logan found his way to safety and was truly rescued that day!
Logan's journey to his new life began at the home of the shelter worker who had rescued him.  A week or so later he was a passenger on the 'canine underground railroad' that made a stop in the deserted area of a  parking lot at a local mall. When you pick up a dog from this type of a transport, you are given a time to arrive and told to be prompt because there is a tight schedule that needs to be kept.   As I waited, I looked around and I could see that there were several others also waiting for the arrival of the transport.  At the appointed time, two cargo vans pulled up.  Everyone waiting got out of their cars, and got into a line.  When it was my turn I was asked by one of the drivers  who I was, and who I was picking up.  They checked their paperwork, and took me to the back of one of the vans and a crate was opened and out came a tall, lanky and very bewildered dark red Golden Retriever.  Before we could be properly introduced, someone handed me Logan's paperwork, his leash and they moved onto the next person waiting.  I put a very bewildered Logan into my van and we were quickly on our way.  On the trip home, a dog with the most beautiful copper eyes I had ever seen sat staring at me no doubt wondering what was happening to him.  I talked to Logan and told him he had nothing to worry about, that he was going to be okay, that he was safe.  He finally laid down, but never took his eyes off of me for the entire drive.
Logan was a very quiet, unassuming dog that held his head high and had a proud and regal spirit about him.  I quickly found out that any concern about his issues with children had absolutely no foundation of truth.  He was one of the most kind and gentle dogs I've ever known.

Logan was said to be about 13 years old, but seemed much older because he had only known life as an outdoor dog.  He was plagued with terrible food allergies, sores on his skin and around his eyes from rubbing them, and if it could be worse, it was because he had tapeworms.  He would constantly lick his feet and chew his paws.  Logan's ears were so badly infected that they were swollen shut and he was unable to hear.  He had arthritis and had trouble even walking up a few simple steps--His coat, so oily and thin that I am ashamed to admit that I could barely stand to pet him and when I did, I felt only bones.  It would be months before all of his health issues were completely resolved.  Through all the treatment, Logan never made a sound or uttered a single noise.  He would lay there so stoically as I cleaned his ears and and other sores and when our eyes would meet, he would look at me with gratitude and wag his tail.  Logan knew I was helping him.  His eyes would show that same expression when he would be given a meal.  In my mind I can still see him standing in the back of the crowd at mealtime.  His head held high, his eyes so intense and focused and full of expression.  His front feet moving up and down like he was dancing, all reflecting love and thankfulness.  Even even now when I think about it, it touches my heart and soul beyond words.  

I'm not exactly sure when I first noticed that Logan's hearing had returned or that his coat gleamed so beautifully in the sun.  I suppose it was at about the same time I realized that the hair on his feet had grown to a point where it needed trimming because he was no longer chewing them--However, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I felt that we had waited so long for it to grow that it deserved to stay, and so it did.  Logan stayed too--we officially adopted him in the spring of 2007.
~Logan (right) and Cubby~
With our move to the country on the horizon Logan took all the changes in routine in stride.  Focused, steady and patient are the words I would use to describe him.  Logan never changed.  He was content to be on the edge watching all that was happening around him.  Logan never barked or made a sound.  His soul filled eyes said it all.  His low-wagging tail never changed its slow-steady pace, his head and chin were always held high and the gratitude Logan felt flowed from him each and every day--All were the mantras for who he was.
Logan loved living in the country.  I can only guess that it was because it was what he knew first.  Warm days were made for him to be outside in the grass and the sun.  When the ground was cold, Logan warmed himself on the porch. On the days that I wouldn't allow him out, he would curl up on a dog bed, and I would cover him up and he'd stay that way for hours.  He was at peace.  He was happy.

Logan's time with us would end in the late spring of 2008. It was his favorite kind of day, warm and sunny.  At the time I was mourning  the death of my Mother, and his loss would mark the first at Golden Pines. If Logan had any faults it would be that he was the least photogenic of all the goldens we've ever had.  I was never able to capture that perfect picture of his soulful eyes, the quiet reassurance of his spirit, and gentleness, love and calm of his personality.  But those are all things that can't be captured in a single picture--You can only show and feel them, and Logan truly felt them all, and from him, I felt it too.