After being forced to part with her beloved dachshund, she feared she would never find the right dog.
- Posted on Jan 24, 2020
I drove slowly back from the store, content to go below the speed limit. I was in no hurry to get home. No one would be there waiting for me. Only a few weeks into my new life as a single woman, my studio apartment was still a maze of stacked cardboard boxes and chaos. It felt so empty. Especially now that Ginger was gone.
My dachshund had come to live with me after the divorce. Ginger had always been an anxious little thing with boundless energy. Deep down, I knew she wasn’t cut out for apartment living. But it was the first time I’d be living alone in more than a decade. I really needed the company, and I hoped that she’d adjust. But it hadn’t gone well.
Ginger barked at every little sound she heard through the walls. Her nails clicked as she ran from window to window, desperate to find intruders who weren’t there. The constant barking was too much. The neighbors complained. Just a few days after I moved in, my landlord gave me an ultimatum: Either Ginger went or we both would.
I was heartbroken. I couldn’t afford another move or to rent anything that wasn’t an apartment, and clearly Ginger was not an apartment dog. Luckily, my ex-husband agreed to take her. He lived in a fixer-upper in a quaint neighborhood with treelined streets. I knew Ginger would be happier there, with a yard to run around in, free to bark at squirrels to her heart’s content. I’d made the right choice for both of us. But I still missed her.
Now, a few days later, I was driving along, trying to recall what was in my refrigerator—and decide whether or not I should just give in and order pizza—when I heard a voice. A deep baritone, clear and authoritative:
“Go to the humane society,” the voice said.
I blinked. Did…did I just hear that right? I’d never heard a voice like this before. Was it my imagination? Surely, I wasn’t being called to go to a pet adoption center so soon after giving up Ginger. I fought against the mysterious suggestion but felt an undeniable urge to listen. The voice had been clear and resolute. The words had been whispered directly into my ear. And the timing couldn’t have been better. The exit for the humane society was coming up. Before I could change my mind, I turned on my blinker and got off the highway.
The shelter’s parking lot was jampacked. It took me forever to find a spot. Apparently, there was an adoption event today. Had the voice known? I wondered. I had to push my way through the crowded lobby.
When I finally reached the dog kennels, a chorus of barking greeted me. I went slowly down each row of cages, checking out all the wagging tails and bright eyes. I examined each dog carefully. But it seemed as if every one that caught my eye was either too big, too loud or already claimed by someone else.
What was I even doing here anyway? This had truly been a misguided venture.
Back in the parking lot, I was fumbling in my purse for the car keys when I heard the tinkle of a dog’s collar. I looked up to find a cocker spaniel headed straight for me, her owner being dragged along behind.
“I’m so sorry,” the woman said.
The dog gazed up at me with the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen. Her coat was shiny and healthy, wavy and soft.
“Don’t apologize,” I said. “Your dog is adorable! What’s her name?”
“Gigi,” she said.
“Can I pet her?”
As soon as I knelt down to scratch her head, Gigi rolled onto her back and wiggled, begging for a belly rub. I laughed.
“She’s a sweetheart, isn’t she?” the woman said. “She’s only two years old. I wish I didn’t have to give her up.”
I knew that feeling well. “Why are you, then?” I asked.
The woman sighed. “She and my cat don’t get along at all. I hoped things would get better, but they haven’t. It’s not fair to either of them. I’m sure Gigi won’t be here long. She’s a great dog. Very well behaved. And she doesn’t bark, like most small dogs do…”
That’s when it clicked. The voice I’d heard—it hadn’t been my imagination after all.
“I’d love to adopt her,” I said.
“Then she’s all yours,” the woman said, handing me the leash.
“Just like that?” I asked.
“I think you and Gigi are a perfect fit. Besides, it makes me feel good knowing that she’s going to someone I’ve met and that she won’t have to spend any time in a shelter.”
With that, the woman patted Gigi goodbye and walked away. We haven’t crossed paths since.
Gigi and I have been inseparable for the past 11 years, and our connection has only grown. She’s 13 now and slowing down, but that’s fine by me. After a recent concussion, I’ve had to learn to take it easy right along with her. Sometimes when I’m snuggled up next to Gigi on the couch, I say a quiet thank-you to the mysterious voice that brought us together, and my heart warms knowing that Gigi and I were meant to be.
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