This past weekend was a very special event. Shelters and rescue groups from throughout the Tri-State joined forces to find forever homes for over 1800 dogs, cats, rabbits and even rodents. Bringing an animal into your home is such a wonderful gift and even more so when you are offering your heart to another living being who has somehow been let down by life in its past.
It is one thing to adopt an adorable puppy still so filled with rambunctious happiness, but so often the adult dogs who just aren’t as cute are the ones who face the most uncertain future. And for the ones who, by no fault of their own, have the most baggage by humans who failed them…well, they will be lucky if they find themselves with a kind foster parent or in a caring no-kill shelter.
Livy Lou Was One Of The Lucky Ones
A little terrier mix with a long white beard, bushy eyebrows and ears that flop over, Olivia (better known as Livy Lou) was 15 pounds of sheer terror when the Strubbes came by the shelter where Livy Lou had been spending her days. She was caged with large dogs – many at least double her weight – who didn’t understand the magnitude of their size or the concept of leaving a frightened animal alone. There really wasn’t enough space for that distance anyway.
The year was 2004. Sharon and David Strubbe had just become empty nesters and their house was getting awfully lonely without their long companion, a beautiful Samoyed who died just weeks earlier.
So, the couple visited the SCPA. “I didn’t want another big dog,” Sharon said…each time they left. They went back three times and each time she walked out crying because she didn’t see what she wanted but she hated leaving behind so many dogs that each had a need for love.
Their fourth attempt to find a new friend was at the League For Animal Welfare. “Is this one still here?,” Sharon asked of the dog in the picture. “Well, you had better meet her,” was the staff person’s response.
It turns out Livy Lu was all set to be adopted the week earlier. That is until she snapped and bit the woman’s ankle as she was paying the fee.
But that didn’t bother Sharon. If anything, it made her more determined. Sharon was going to win over Livy Lu’s heart and she wasn’t going to leave until she did it. After thirty minutes, Livy Lu still wouldn’t come close. She only barked and growled.
The rest of the story is what tells me what a huge heart Sharon and David have and makes me so grateful to know there are people in this world just like them.
A Heart Opened
They were brought into an enclosed room – Sharon, David and a little ferocious beast who took guard of the corner. Time went by. Finally Livy Lu took a step forward, wagged her tail, and returned to the only place in that space that seemed safe at the time. “I just had to have her,” Sharon said. “I wasn’t going to give up.”
And neither was Livy Lu. Sharon and David patiently kept their distance, allowing this dog who until then had no reason to trust anyone, to somehow find the strength to have courage enough to try. That’s when magic happened. Livy Lu took a leap and landed on Sharon’s lap.
“She’s coming home with us,” Sharon told her husband.
They have been together ever since. Livy Lu is about 15 years old now and is deaf. Lucky for her, the most important language of life – the language of love, needs no words.