BASS: Katie has us shedding those wonderful happy tears
There are happy tears and sad tears.
Some of both were shed this week as we welcomed Katie to our family.
She’s a nine-month-old border collie crossed with something unidentified — but which likely has led to her incredible long, curly hair.
It’s been a long time since we’ve added a dog to our animal collection.
The last time was when we adopted Austin, our amazing collie-shepherd cross who died in January.
Hence the tears. Even now, three months after that horrible day with those amazing people at Valleyview Veterinary Clinic, I still find myself crying when I think about Austin.
So many people responded to the column — in essence, a doggie obituary — about his life and sudden death.
I probably got a dozen copies of The Rainbow Bridge, a poem about where our pets go when they die.
I got letters and emails from other people who had lost a pet, photos of those dearly departed, stories about how important they were in each person’s life.
They all helped ease the sadness.
Shared grief, even with strangers, reminds us we’re not really alone in our experiences.
When Max, our first border collie, died, my husband said that was it.
No more dogs.
He had adopted Max as a puppy and the bond those two had was huge.
Just a few weeks after his death, we were at Thompson Rivers University’s animal-health technology building, scoping out the dogs up for adoption.
Austin came home with us and, quickly, that bond happened again.
This time, the grieving needed more time, not because we loved Austin any more than Max, but because he had a completely different personality and the suddenness of his illness and death were overwhelming.
But, back to TRU we went, originally to meet Jack, a beautiful shepherd we had seen on the website.
He was friendly and gorgeous, but just too big and strong. I didn’t see how I could handle him and was glad to find out later someone else had adopted him.
We were going to leave when Alan asked about Katie, one we had looked at on the website, but dismissed because we just weren’t up to dealing with a young dog.
Katie had a different idea and charmed her way into our hearts almost at first glance.
Animals have such a wonderful way of doing that, don’t they?
Her first night, she peed and pooped in the house, but looked properly sorry when I pointed to it and issued a firm, “No!”
It had to be stressful for her, leaving the students who have been caring for her as they learn their craft and being plunked down in a new environment with strange people.
It took a bit of time for her to be comfortable with the boys, something we were warned about.
Katie’s not comfortable around men immediately but, getting down to her level and taking their time to win her over, she and the boys are now fast friends.
The cats aren’t too happy with us, but Katie’s been giving them a wide berth. I’m thinking she’ll win them over, too.
She’s made Austin’s washed and aired-out big comfy bed her own — that’s when the happy tears started her first night.
My husband said she looked like she was smiling as she snuggled in.
The bond has started to happen again. It’s going to be an interesting time.
Her breed is high-energy, can be demanding, but is also so smart.
Within hours, with no prompting from us at all, when Katie was introduced to someone, she was putting up her paw to shake.
Definitely a smart dog.
My dear friend, Bernadette, called me the day after we brought Katie home, just to hear all the details. Her family is a dog family, too, and she also lost one of them at about the same time Austin left us.
She said I sounded happier than I have for a while when I talked about Katie.
That makes sense, I guess.
I’m always happy when I talk about my family — and Katie’s part of it now.