For the Love of Abby
by Renee Scheibe
I met Abby on a warm, humid August day about 10 years ago. It was my birthday, and my daughter had convinced me that it was time for me to have another dog.
We drove to a no-kill shelter in Schuylkill County, Pa. Hoping to find that "perfect match". We looked at all the dogs running, and playing in the fenced in area, and pulled a few aside..but none seemed right. Then we noticed the thin rag tag dog that had been following us back and forth the entire time.
She wasn't anything to look at, her fur worn thin in many spots from malnutrition, and fleas. Her tail completely bald. Ribs showing pitifully through her skin. She hung back from the other dogs, very intent on my daughter and I. There was no way to NOT notice her. It was in her eyes....the connection. a plea for love and the unquestioning promise of adoration.
She had a rough life, the climax of which included the ultimate imprisionment of her previous "owner" for animal cruelty. The tortures she had underwent were endless, and would remain tattooed on her soul for the rest of her days. The atrocities she endured will not be mentioned, for this is a celebration of her life.
We were told that she was about a year old, but later found her to be much older (4 or 5). We took her home,, she wasn't pretty (she had no hair, or little of it) and we knew that she was going to be plagued with issues. But her eyes......
She attached herself to me well before our arrival home. And I to her. It was years before she could be introduced to outsiders without significant trepidation, but it did eventually happen. We named her Abby.
My children lived in Chicago, and I drove monthly across country
to see them. Abby never missed a trip. She would sit in the front seat wide awake while I slep in the back on breaks from driving, growling at anyone who came too close to the car. Of course there were also the times that she got out and had me running all over the interstate trying to catch her and fearing the worst. God had a special eye on her, knowing how much we needed each other, it always ended well.
We made the move to Il. in 2006 around Christmas. It was a rough adjustment for both of us, but true to her nature, she helped me adapt, and I her. You always know that the day will come to say goodbye, but we were so symbiotic, I thought we would be given special dispensation from that day. One day last November, I came home from work to find my girl (who had since blossomed into a gorgeous flat coat retriever....who kneew?!) completely swollen. I carried her to the vet only to be told that she had gone into full blown kidney failure. Medicines would only help temporarily and wouldn't ease her pain. We said goodbye..for now. I still hold her ashes on my mantle.. Just haven't gotten to the point that I'm ready to let go. Besides she belongs in Pa. not this bustling city.
I know this seems like such a sad story, but it's not. We found each other, and saved each other.
I have another dog now. Morgan, whom I love, but who bears no resemblance to my Girl. But then Dogs are like children, we love each of them differently. I believe that Abby had a hand in Morgan and I getting together. She knew I'd need someone to eease the pain.
Isn't that the true nature of dogs?
To Abby, Thank you.