Shining Moments

Apr 11, 2013

First impressions are often wrong.

Oh my, yes.

Every time I look at my beloved almost 15 year old black lab,

my heart remembers how I almost didn’t keep her.

It was Easter – that day that my daughter and I went to see her.

We had been looking and looking for a dog.

Gentle with children,

already trained.

One that would fit in with our family.

“You can come look at her,” they had told me on the phone.

She had been a show dog that just didn’t make the cut.

But, other than that, they said she was great.

Oh, I can still see her that day, so many years ago.

My daughter instantly fell in love with one year old Savanna.

We somehow got her by pushing and pulling into our car

for a day’s trial. First we went to my parents’ home.

There was no question that she was a beautiful lab

but she jumped at every sound

from people talking to simply placing silverware on the table.

No problem, I thought. She can grow out of that.

But trying to get her in the car was a major challenge.

I can still see us begging, coaxing and trying to lift her into the back seat.

But Savanna was stubborn and heavy.

If she didn’t want to do something

she just wouldn’t.

And there was no way that my weight could make her do anything.

Eventually that day she hopped into the back seat and I drove home.

Getting out of the car was somewhat easier.

That she was willing to do

so we introduced her to our home.

Savanna Molly Star Brani she was named.

But I had my doubts.

That night we prepared for bed and encouraged her to come upstairs

but Savanna would have nothing of it.

We coaxed


pleaded. All to no avail.

So finally decided that we’d sleep downstairs with her.

She curled up over by the far wall and I turned out the light.

It wasn’t long before she got up and paced.

Big, black form moving around the sleeper sofa.

My heart beat with fear wondering what she might do.

I didn’t trust her and she certainly didn’t trust me.

Truth was, I had never had a dog that size

and in the dark she looked even larger.

As I lay there watching her and unable to sleep,

I decided

That it was all wrong. A big mistake.

Savanna wasn’t a good fit for us

I’d have to take her back in the morning.

Having made that decision I eventually drifted off to sleep.

The next day, the sunshine streaming through the windows

didn’t lift my heavy spirits.

“We have to take her back,” I firmly explained to Noelle.

She hung her head and we both felt sad.

I look over at Savanna resting in the corner.

“Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“She must be willing to go up the stairs.”

No way was I going to sleep downstairs for the next so many years.

Try hot dogs, a voice advised.

So I did. We bought some hot dogs, sliced them and carefully placed them on the stairs.

I can still see that moment when Savanna jumped the first step

swallowed the hot dog,

and continued on

all the way up the stairs.

Yeah, we both cheered hugging each other and Savanna.

“Now can we keep her?” Noelle asked looking up at me.

I nodded. She was ours and somehow we would make it.

That was the beginning of our life with the sweetest dog

who grew to overcome her fears and became such an important part of our family.

First impressions are often wrong.

Thank you, Savanna, for showing me that.



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