The First Day of Spring: New Beginnings and A New French Farmhouse Resident

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Meet "Piper".   As many of you know, last August we lost our 15 year old yellow lab, Martha Stewart. During that same two week period, we also moved into a new home and sent both of our sons off to college. I've spent the last six months getting settled into the farmhouse and finding a new "normal".  A few weeks ago, it became clear to me that my days of having a dog around weren't over. I called about a couple of different litters of puppies but always felt that when the time was right, our dog would find us.

Two nights ago, my friend Lilly posted a notice from the McHenry County animal control about a ten year old yellow lab who had been surrendered by her owners. There was something about her eyes that made me know that she was special. Yesterday afternoon, I made the hour drive to meet her.  She's beautiful, really big, and strong but she's a love.

On the way home, I got a flat tire, relied on several compassionate strangers from a Catholic grade school to help remove the rusted on tire nuts and rusted wheel rim and to help change tire. During the two hour ordeal, I took Piper on a couple of brief walks around the parking lot and the rest of the time, she sat calmly in the back seat of the car...just barking, no growling....just waiting.

The shelter told me that she had spent her early life on a farm but then spent most of her adult life in a crate or outdoors. I got a crate last night but left the door open. She seems perfectly content to follow me around and to sleep on the floor beside the bed. She's currently asleep on the rug, in the sunshine, near the front door. Other than the fact that she doesn't seem to understand the school children who are walking to school on the corner, she appears to be adjusting pretty well...we both are.

Sure, I know that I'm nuts for adopting a great big dog who is in the later years of her life  in the spring mud and when I'm about to have major renovation going on but, as my friend Mike said so perfectly yesterday, it's not about's about a wonderful "older girl" who needed a new place to call home.