Friday, November 25, 2011

UPDATE: Mr. Earl and Moon Doggie

About a month ago, I wrote this post about an awesome pooch we had at the shelter where I work named Moon Doggie, followed closely in time by this post where I announced Moon Doggie had been adopted by a kindly older gentleman named Mr. Earl. Well, as with most things in my life, that was not the end of the story.

Honestly, Part 2 of this saga started about two weeks ago, but I was too sad and upset to write about it then. With some divine intervention, the story now has a happier ending, so I thought I would share with you what happened.

First of all, let me say that one of the occupational hazards of working for a shelter is that every so often you become attached to an animal more than you know you should. Hence, the adoption of two dogs into my home over the past two years. Moon Doggie was one of those dogs for me. He was just an exceptional animal. He had been with us since he was a puppy and we could not figure out why he kept getting passed over. He was so calm. So unaffected by being in a shelter. So awesome. I, mean, LOOK AT THIS FACE:

Really?!? Seriously?!? How could you not love this face?!? (PS, this is Moon Doggie with Santa at our Pet Photos with Santa Claws fundraiser this past weekend) Anyhoodle, Mr. Earl saw Moon Doggie online and came to the shelter, spent time with him, and decided to adopt. Both parties were so happy. Mr. Earl and I stayed in touch over the next few weeks, emailing and calling, and he assured me Moon Doggie, who he renamed Gus (thank God!) was doing great. Sleeping in the bed with him. Never using the potty in the house. Great. He really loved Gus and Gus loved him.

Two weeks after he adopted him, Mr. Earl brought Gus back. To return. They called me to the Adoption Desk because Mr. Earl asked for me. He was in tears. When an 80-year-old man stands in front of you in tears, it breaks your heart. Hard. Seems Mr. Earl's family (he lives with his son and daughter-in-law in their basement) made him bring Gus back. Well, they didn't MAKE him, but they made his life 110% miserable until he did.

The best I could put together is Mr. Earl's daughter-in-law is a the kind of bitch that rhymes with "punt." Here's what I think happened: Mr. Earl tells his son he is adopting a dog and son (being a man) says, "Yeah, whatever Dad." And then Mr. Earl shows up with the dog and DIL is like "oh, Hell, no!" and proceeds to do all kinds of shitty things like say Mr. Earl's granddaughters can no longer come see him downstairs because Gus is "too rough" with them. BULL and SHIT. That dog does not have a rough bone in his body. But she knew where to hit him Mr. Earl's heart. The line that separated his granddaughters and Gus.

So, torn between his love for his new dog and the love for his family, Mr. Earl returned Gus. Though it broke his heart in every single place. He had to walk out to compose himself. I had to walk away too because I was about to have an ugly cry. I hugged Mr. Earl. Hard. I offered to call his family. But he was resolute.

I cried all the rest of the day. Cried and cried. A little for Gus. But mostly for Mr. Earl. Because he did everything right and is a good, kind man who just wanted a companion for his golden years. It just was. not. right.

I called Mr. Earl the next day to check on him. He said, "I tell you, I am not a drinking man, but I indulged a little last night." He said he missed his buddy. I told him I would do everything in my power to find Gus another forever home. Mr. Earl thanked me for calling. Said he appreciated it more than he could say. I am glad because my whole intent was to let him know someone really cared about him and that he was hurting.

A week later, Mr. Earl called me. He wanted to come see me and wanted to make sure I was in. He brought me a copy of his book:

See, Mr. Earl has lived an INCREDIBLE life and he wanted to put it down in writing for his family so he could leave his story behind. Abandoned before birth by his dad, two months after birth by his mom, raised in foster homes, ran away at 15, joined Army with falsified birth certificate at 16, decorated Korean War vet, Army Ranger, served under LBJ in the White House, accomplished carpenter, widowed after a happy marriage when his wife became ill. And all he wanted was a damn dog to call his own, to be his buddy.

I know his DIL will never read this, but I write to purge, so here I go: Lady, you will be so judged by what you have done. This man is the father of your husband, the grandfather of your daughters, and he deserves your respect for that alone. He serves as your constant babysitter, remodeled your damn basement (probably on his own dime), and let go of the dog he loved because he loves you more than you love him. A lot more, it seems. And, hey, there is a little thing called the Bible. It has something called commandments. Check out the fifth one. Because I would just bet you call yourself a Christian but it seems you could use a refresher. And remember that your actions set the example for your children, DIL. And I just pray your daughters don't treat you the same when you are old.

Now, for the good news. This past Tuesday, Gus was adopted. Again. And I truly think the third time will be a charm. It was a wonderful family with a 5-year-old son who loves animals (he was a vet for Halloween!) who really wanted a dog. They also were thoughtful....the mom called twice to talk with me at length then the parents came for a visit, without the son in case he became attached, and fell in love with Gus. I told them that while I thought Gus was truly exceptional, I did not want them to adopt him unless they were SURE it was right. And they were.

And they are keeping the name Gus. And when I told them about Mr. Earl, the mom said she would love to be in contact with him to share news and photos of Gus. She even said she hoped he might come visit them one day. THAT is how you treat seniors in your life, people. Take note.

After the holidays, when he has had a little space, Mr. Earl said he would like to start volunteering with us. Walking dogs. Maybe that will fulfill him without pissing off his DIL. Unless, of course, it cuts into her free babysitting time. I swear to you that should he be guilted into not volunteering, I don't know if I will be able to hold my tongue. She may get a call and a come-to-Jesus chat with me. Word.

Well, I am off. I will write another post over the weekend to catch you up on all the other happenings around Casa Bunny. It has been a busy few weeks....Christmas decorating, lots of work, lots of wonder I am sick as, well, a dog. Later taters! Bun.


Little Miss Sunshine State said...

I hope Earl can come and love on the puppies. And I hope Gus has his forever home.
And you have a heart of gold.mitubs

Jen on the Edge said...

If I had to guess, if I had to guess, Mr. Earl's daughter-in-law only barely tolerates having her father-in-law living with them, which is a real shame because he sounds like a nice man who deserves a lot of respect.

That said, in her defense, I am guessing that neither Mr. Earl or his son consulted with the lady of the house about getting a dog, which was a seriously bad move on their parts. Of course she was unhappy about it and acted badly. At the very least, if she has dogs, then she wanted to be asked about something that would impact her house and her family. If, however, she does not have a dog already, then it's likely she's not a dog person and I can see why she went a bit nutso. Honestly, if my FIL lived with me and brought a dog home without discussing it with me first, my anger levels would have been DEC-CON 4.

If the men had been smart, they would have talked with her, gotten her buy-in, then the whole family could have come to the shelter together to look at dogs.

I'm sorry that Mr. Earl was so upset but am happy that Gus has a new home and that his new humans will be keeping in touch with Mr. Earl. Happy endings are so nice.

bunny said...

I don't know about a heart of gold, LMSS, but maybe too tender-hearted for my own good. Old people and animals pull my heartstrings.

bunny said...

JOTE, I will agree with you on the "barely tolerating"...except, of course, when she needs a babysitter. Every time I talked to the man, he was with those kids. I cannot say for sure if she was consulted about Gus, but they do have a dog, and I cannot believe Mr. Earl did not tell one or both of them what he was doing. Regardless, once he had the dog home, I truly think they could have worked with him to find a way for Mr. Earl to keep Gus, esp. when they saw how much he loved him. She may barely tolerate him, but it is Mr. Earl's home, too.