JosieJosie has been a real blessing in my life. After my beloved brown Labrador Retriever, Como, died, I was left without my best friend. She and I had been close companions for almost 15 years. To help fill the emptiness, I searched for a dog rescue group with the intention of volunteering. When I discovered Libby’s Haven for Senior Canines on the web and read Libby’s story, I knew I felt the same way about helping other dogs in memory of my Como. A few days after I signed up, I got a call. The coordinator said this was the first time they had ever had a request for help in my area, but lo and behold there was an elderly dog in need at a vet’s office near my home. This is how I met Josie. She was literally minutes away from being euthanized when Libby’s came to her rescue. A  caring person noticed Josie and her owner in the parking lot of the veterinarian’s office; the man was visibly upset and she asked what was wrong. Her owner had gone through much loss. First his wife died, then he had to sell his house and make preparations to move into senior housing. Josie was too large to live there with him, they said, and he knew of nothing else to do except to put her down. He had held together through everything else that happened, but with this he reached the breaking point. They decided together to try to find other options, and boarded Josie at the vet’s in the meantime. Thankfully, they found Libby’s Haven. I was asked to go pick Josie up and foster her until someone could be found to adopt her. I had no intentions of adopting her at first. I thought a large dog would be too hard to take care of if she became incapacitated. But the long and short of it is that within a very short time, I came to see that Josie is one of the easiest dogs to manage that I have ever known! She has beautiful manners, and she has an amazing sense of where the perimeter of our yard is even in the unfenced areas – she stays within that perimeter no matter what! Folks in the vet’s office had told me she could be aggressive. Very soon I came to understand that Josie is simply very sensitive. She likes her space. She needs to feel safe and loved. Not unlike myself, actually…I began to appreciate too just how loyal Josie is. One afternoon as we were walking out in a woodsy part of the yard, I lost sight of her and called for her. She must have heard the anxiety in my voice. I caught sight of her, poised on the edge of a 15 foot drop off, ready to leap to get to me! I tried to tell her “No – stay put!” but she was already in midair. Luckily, she landed in a soft snowdrift. The knowledge that there is a being who is loyal to you and looks to you for direction, a being who is always ready to protect you – this knowledge is a great comfort to me. I knew I had found a true friend in Josie. I wonder sometimes whether Como sent her to me. I knew I was the right person for her and adopted her.Josie and I have been able to keep in touch with her former owner. We have met with him several times, and he has told me stories of her youth and the 12 years they spent together. I try to imagine what she must have been like as a pup when he first adopted her from the shelter. Each time she sees him, she lights up (especially when he brings Kentucky Fried Chicken strips!). But each time, she is also ready to come back home with me at the end of our visit. Even though she never forgets and never stops loving, I guess she also knows who her main person is now. I am so glad their relationship can continue.Josie has been with us 2 years now. At 14, she is still spry and everything is in working order. I know our time together will be short, in some ways of thinking. But every day Josie, and Tessa the corgi whom we adopted to complete our household, and I take a walk at our nearby conservation area. That hour of the day is quality time for us all. There is a quality of friendship only a good dog can give you, and Josie is – like Como – the best. I am so grateful to be able to give her a good life for her “sunset years.” Senior dogs have so much to offer, so many blessings to share.

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