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by Mary Wright Baylor

Ten years ago today, on April 7, I went to a local animal hospital and picked up a rescue miniature dachshund who has become my constant devoted companion and lap dog. At first, little Rita bore the psychic wounds of abuse and neglect in her early life: she was extremely anxious, her dull fur sparse, and she gulped every morsel as though it was her last.

But this is a story of resurrection and new life. In this last decade, she has adjusted and absolutely thrived in her “forever home” where meals are predictable, treats are omnipresent, and daily long walks are an adventure in scent-filled exploration and romping. Her thick coat is shiny and she no longer barks at men nor flinches when she sees brooms or umbrellas. Last year, a tiny young puppy, Rosie, came to join our family. It has been endearing to watch the 12 year old grand dame discover a new sense of youth and charming playfulness.

And yet, her life has not been without challenges. This sweet dog has endured some serious health issues and almost died several times from a rare canine blood disorder. On these occasions, as I retrieved her from the vets after a gruesome procedure or tortuous hospitalization, she would weakly wag her tail and use every last shred of energy to climb into my lap. And every time she settles into her cozy place, she makes a contented grunt that “all is right in the world.” I sense a deep wisdom in her–I often catch her looking pensively into space and wonder, “What makes you so serious?” And then, I see her wagging tail. There is much to learn and model from her.

There is an expression in rescue animal circles, “Who rescued whom?” This is especially true for me.  Rita has been my steady companion through some difficult trials of my own. When tragedy and loss have knocked me off my feet, a little black dog with a muzzle now almost white barks her joyous greetings as I arrive home, climbs into my lap, settles down and grunts. No human words or contact are as comforting as the solace of this beloved relationship. I have been rescued over and over by her generous devotion. She has been a real symbol of resurrection. This little dachshund has taught me that in spite of all the burdens of life, if you look around, you, too, will find new life and a reason to wag your tail.


Today, have a pensive moment and consider an example of “who rescued whom” in your own life. Give thanks for this new life. Then do something that enables another “to wag their tail.”

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