The joy of Thanksgiving has always been enhanced by who is at the table and who is in the heart.
And, sometimes it is enhanced by who’s on the floor next to the table and looking up with a fiercely wagging tail and eyes bright with anticipation. Not that any of us would, perhaps, slip a bite of something to a grateful dog, of course.
This little dog Amber represents what many rescuers will be thankful for this special American holiday: She’s a rescued dog who has a home where she is loved.
That’s the goal, isn’t it? Happy homes for them all.
And we’re thankful for those who have been saved and for those who saved them -- from the hands-on rescuers to the hugging and snuggling family that adores them.
For this edition, we’re focusing on Amber’s Thanksgiving story. That big opening picture is where Amber is now -- that's one of her favorite sleeping spots.
Amber's story began back in April and she’s now a member of the family in the happy home of Duane and Amy Guthrie and the kids, Mollie, 12, and Olivia, 10, in the northern Dallas suburb of Allen. That's the young trio on the first day of school. And THAT is a long way from the Panhandle pavement of Amarillo.
We first met Amber when she was named Miley -- that was her shelter name back in April in Amarillo.
That big photo above shows Amber in her home and enjoying a nap. Obviously she is qualified for the Thanksgiving weekend spotlight of our long-running feature, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie & Napping Dogs Nap.
That second photo is one of the first we published with Amber -- that’s my striped shirt and she’s looking up at me as we ride along -- relax, my steeringspouse Martha was driving! My contribution to this story is slight -- I was involved in the “ride along” but I got to be a witness.
In April, this little dog was in the care of a series of strangers. She’d been picked up as a stray in Amarillo.
This good-lookin’, sweet and cuddly girl was a stray! And the clock had moved pretty swiftly. Suddenly, “Miley” was within minutes of something unfortunate happening.
Connections were made between Dallas and Amarillo. KARTS (Kearns Animal Rescue Transportation Service), a non-profit in Amarillo, picked up “Miley” from the shelter and drove her to Southlake to meet Paws In The City volunteer, my funspouse, Martha, who would then drive
the pup to Hillside Veterinary Clinic in Dallas.
In that 45-minute drive I bonded with the adorable dog -- I wasn’t all that sure she bonded with me until it came time to separate us at the clinic. She wouldn’t walk on a leash for the vet staffer. “Miley” turned and tugged back to me and the staffer said, “You might need to help me walk her back.” Ultimately, she had to pick up 24.7-pound “Miley” and walk away with her, “Miley” staring over her shoulder at me as I began to mist up. I’m a softie. -- must be the vegetarian diet.
Fortunately, I had faith the rescue group would find a good home for this baby. After her initial check in at Hillside and treatment for a slight case of kennel cough, the dog was transferred to Vickery Place Animal Hospital for additional care and spaying.
The whole time, I’m keeping up with her progress through Paws in The City volunteers Heidi Button and Michelle Gray.
Then came the great report: One of the animal kingdom’s favorites, Paws volunteer Stacey McCool, a great foster, sent an email with the subject line “Miley aka Little Miss Perfect.” And she said a family was already interested in Little Miss Perfect. This was occurring BEFORE Little Miss Perfect even got onto the adoption list. Someone told someone about her and connections were made. Record time, you know.
The Guthrie Family adopted her, renamed her Amber for her beautiful eyes and embraced her. It was a mutual embrace. She participates in all family activities, including getting to dress up for Halloween. Amy explains that one photo: “On Halloween with Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger and Amber as The Golden Snitch—all from Harry Potter.”
Amy, the Mom of the household, is a great fan of the Stray Formerly Known as Miley. The pup, she tells us, “ is now named Amber—after her gorgeous amber colored eyes. She is such a gem! ... ‘Angel’ would have been a perfect name!”
[LARRY ASIDE: Maybe an “angel” had a hand in this. I don’t know -- now and then you wonder about the timing of things.]
Amy says, “We lost our wonderful Chloe Dog after 14 marvelous years this past April. We could not imagine we would be ready for another dog for a long time after the big empty place she left behind. Then, one day, a friend sent us a photo of Miley. We were hooked.
“She came to us, timid and afraid. She had been through so much. She warmed up to me right away. My husband Duane took the longest, but after a snack of ham in the back yard and a good walk, she fell in love with him, too.
“God sent the perfect dog for our family wrapped up in adorable little Miley. We did change her name to Amber, for her striking, amber colored eyes. She wakes up my husband every morning at 5:30 for their 3-mile morning walk. After I take the kids to school, she grabs a toy and crouches down into ‘play pose,’ ready to be chased around the house. After lots of naps and trips to the backyard to chase away the rabbits and try to dig holes to China, her ‘sisters’ come home. “She comforts our youngest daughter, Olivia, when she is sad, licking her tears away. They like to share snacks together—when I am not looking.
“My oldest daughter Mollie’s favorite thing to do is to play with Amber. She probably belongs most of all to Mollie. They frolic and play, she patiently puts up with dress up play, learns tricks and manners from Mollie, and of course the all important snuggle time. We know that God sent her to us, the perfect fur baby for our family!”
Amber’s patient, as you see in the photos. Well, maybe she’s not just patient, but proud -- proud to pose with the kids on the first day of school. And she’ll sack out on the couch with that big fluffy tail as her “signature accessory.” You see her sleeping here. And there’s that photo with the two kids as bookends. Amy describes that one as “Happy girls celebrating the ‘birthday we made up’ for Amber, their fur sister -- 11/11/15.”
You see her awake, rolling in the grass like the grateful, happy dog she is! “Playful puppy—my favorite all time pic of Amber,” Amy labeled it.
Amy says, “She is an amazing dog! A bit stubborn by times, but I think that is usually motivated by fear. She used to refuse to go into the laundry room because that was the way to the garage and to the car. She would dig her feet into the ground and refuse to move. She is getting better with the car, but still does this when she goes into the bathroom where she has to get a bath when she digs in wet dirt— she did NOT want to go there for the tornado warning the other night.”
So, there you have the story of a stray dog who hitched a ride to a loving future.
Amy has a message for all those who had a hand in protecting Amber. “Thank you -- thank you for rescuing her and being her guardian angel!”
All you rescuers from Amarillo to Dallas and from state line to state line all around this state -- you all are guardian angels.
And what does that mean?
It means someone can walk into a room and see a dog or cat flopped down on a couch and immediately identify one of the furrier reasons that they’re celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s because of you. And the dog or cat, of course!
Amy sent us one more note about Amber -- it turns out to be a reason to be thankful, too. “One thing I left out,” Amy wrote. “When she is REALLY happy, her whole bottom wags right along with her tail. It is so sweet!”
That last photo? That’s me and Amber on her ride to a happy future. And I can guarantee you that both my funspouse Martha and I are giving thanks that Amber has a family she can celebrate with this year.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Hug a critter, hug a human. Be thankful and give others a reason to be thankful.
[TO NOMINATE YOUR SLUMBERING CRITTER for the spotlight of Readlarrypowell.com’s enduring weekend feature, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie & Napping Cats Nap, send photo and info to email@example.com. We publish these photographs of safely sleeping animals to inspire the world’s insomniacs to believe that they, too, can find a way to get some sleep. If you find an insomniac taking a Thanksgiving nap, you’re looking at a genuinely thankful individual. God bless our pillows, every one.]
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