We welcomed a ten pound, 16 year-old fluffy white Angel into our home the beginning of February, and I honestly had no idea how great an impact she would quickly make on our lives. Our girl was found as a stray in California and brought in for a three day stray hold — how no one picked her up is beyond imagining as I think of her waiting so scared and alone. Once her stray hold was up, Angel was placed on the euthanasia list until a small Washington shelter flew her up here be rescued. By then Angel was so scared there were serious concerns about her mental status, and she was fostered by the shelter until Old Dog Haven could step in to place her in her a permanent Final Refuge home.

How lucky we are to have seen her picture and volunteer to be her Final Refuge home, because she brings love and light into the room with her each day, usually with a bounce in her step. When Angel first came home she was overwhelmed and shut down. Nothing could console her, and she paced, refused to eat, and shrugged off affection. Not only were we concerned about her mental status, but she had a large 6x6cm hard and swollen cancerous mammary mass, severe cataracts, and her liver and kidneys were failing. It was almost too much for a senior girl, and we observed her every movement in earnest hoping for a glimpse of the sweet girl who first greeted me with kisses to my chin and nose the moment she was placed in my arms. Was she just hidden away or now permanently lost?

With time, comfort, routine, patience and so much love she revealed herself like a gem in the darkness. Angel went from refusing to eat or be petted to bundling up in my arms, eating from my hands, choosing her favorite tidbits and treats, letting us bathe her and clean her eyes, and bouncing joyously when we called her new name.

Angel had the cancerous mass removed, 11 rotting teeth were pulled, 12 mouth abscesses were treated and her lab work showed her liver and kidney functions to be near normal again. She felt so much better! A different dog came home—she was a senior puppy!

Angel now frolics like a baby deer—jumping and gallivanting about, trying to play with the other dogs. She knows her favorite spots for a sunny afternoon nap and a morning rest, and will stubbornly refuse to do anything else by throwing her head into her bed with her eyes shut as if to say, “I’m trying to get my beauty sleep here!” Angel insists on being fed only the best homemade food and supplements; she relishes meal time in the kitchen with her family pack, and she knows when it’s meal time!

She loves to follow me around the house, but I have to make sure to shuffle when I’m in the kitchen because she’s under my feet looking up at me with a sparkle in her eye! She explores the yard and sits in the sun, and I know she is at peace and happy when I hold her in my arms and watch her face the wind, shut her eyes, and twitch her perfectly pink heart-shaped poodle nose wafting in the day’s news … because it’s usually followed up with a chin kiss.

Angel has taught us that looks can be deceiving, and sometimes you just need a moment to acclimate and adjust. You’re capable of going through great, big, scary things and coming out stronger and loved on the other side.

Update:  Suddenly little Angel became very ill and her loving family had to let her go.  She was a very special girl and had just celebrated her ‘gotcha’ day complete with a Tiara and much adoration.  She lived her life to the fullest and was a very beloved member of her Final Refuge family.  This tiny girl will be greatly missed.