Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Tribute to Simba

This is Simba, my yellow Labrador and probably Golden Retriever mix. He'll be 12 years old this fall. He's going deaf, getting arthritis, fatty tumors and all those lousy things that sometimes go along with aging. As he gets older, he spends less and less time socializing with the people and animals in our family. Sometimes he disappears for such long periods that I hunt him down, and usually find him curled up in the quietest room in the house.

There aren't a whole lot of things I can remember, but how Simba came into our lives is a story etched in my brain. In January of 1997 Northern Nevada and parts of California experienced massive flooding. My neighborhood became an island, and rescue workers were flying milk, bread, and water in by helicopter since no one could get in or out for several days. The rain just kept pouring down and the roads were deserted. I looked out my window and saw a drenched dog running down our street. I ran outside and whistled to it, and it came to me. I took it inside and towel-dried its fur, gave it some food and water, and then called the animal shelter.

The animal shelter asked me to hang onto the dog, since they couldn't get to us. They wrote down the dog's description, my name, address, and phone number in case his owner called them. The kids, my husband and I had a blast playing with that dog. What a personality! However, there was something odd about him. When I wrestled this dog, he was so strong that he pinned me down with his paws on my shoulders and stared into my eyes with his glowing yellow irises. He seemed to be domesticated, yet not too far from the wild. He had no intention of hurting us, but I could see that he could easily hurt us if he wanted.

Then the call came. His owner had contacted the animal shelter looking for him. Since his owner was on our side of the flood, he was coming to get him. When he arrived, we asked him what breed of dog this was. "He's not a dog," he said. "He's a wolf." That explained everything. We felt blessed to be able to play with a wolf for a day, and we missed him when he was gone. All we had was a picture of my husband with his arms around King, the wolf -- both of them beaming with joy.

Just a few days later when the flood waters had receded, I heard persistent barking outside our back door. I walked out to investigate and found this little brindle Lab puppy on the outside of our fence jumping up at it and barking. I climbed the fence and handed the puppy over to my husband, and then we decided to scour the neighborhood for its owner. Lucky for us, the very first house where we inquired was the right place. They said they had 13 puppies that needed homes, and asked if we wanted to keep that puppy. "Yes!" I said, knowing how much we all missed King.

Not even a few minutes after we brought the puppy home, the owner knocked on our door and apologized. That brindle pup had already been claimed by his brother, but we could come over and choose from any other puppy. There were part Labrador puppies running all over the place, their coats in a variety of colors. A yellow one whizzed past my husband and he ran after it and picked it up. "I want this one," he said.

It was a crooked road to dog ownership, but that's how we ended up with our very first dog, Simba. He's one awesome dog. Here's to you, Simba!


Beckz said...

A WOLF turned up at your house?? Amazing. We had a female lab for 13yrs. The best dog ever.

Callie said...

Aaawww, Sweet old puppy!

Beth said...

What a sweet story!!!!

Val said...

Great story!

We lost our yellow lab three years ago to cancer.

I love to read your makes me miss having horses, and still keeps my in the loop!

Thanks again for having a great site!

BrownEyedCowgirls said...

I have always believed the best ones show up under the strangest circumbstances, be it people or animals...

Twinville said...

I loved reading your Simba Tribute. It just reaffirmed for me that all animals come into our lives in special ways and for reasons that we may never fully understand.

Thanks for sharing.

allhorsestuff said...

Nuz, that was a truly inspiring story!Mysterous ways of God do occur daily but sometimes they grab us in a random, unforseen way and then we are ready for more!
(I am so glad that the wolf found YOU that day!)
Simba...he lent you his lifetime of love~

achieve1dream said...

Thanks for pointing us to this story. So beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. How amazing that you got to play with the wolf for a day. So incredible. I'm glad his owner was found and he was safe and unhurt in the flood.

Too cool how you ended up with Simba! I love how your husband chose him. Too cute!!