There have been a few occasions when we have had the opportunity to help a dog from all the way on the other side of our country. West coast homeless dogs rely on their local animal advocates to save them from the streets and the shelters. Pit Bulls especially have the constant need of guardian angels to rescue them from the harsh conditions of their human driven ill fate. Sometimes though, these West coast dogs have to find a safe space no matter how far away it lies. Sometimes a dog comes to us with too many scars and too much baggage to ever be free from. But, if there is a chance at healing, where else but a hundred and eighty degree turn from where they are currently to begin again anew? The Winters may be a shock for these California children but the sun shines just as bright,maybe even a little brighter when their safety is finally assured forever.
Boom was just such a dog - out of options on his side of the country, but blessed with a mother who would not stop until she found a place for Boom to live out his days safe and happy and free from the stressors that made his aggression unmanageable. Boom always knew that he was brought East to come retire on the farm. Boom accepted his fate and his weary and worn middle aged soul sunk into our safety from the start. His arrival was our mutual fate, to accept the scars that have left us unable to be a part of something we used to have, to be willing to let our guard down enough to trust and get everything out of this new chance at life. Boom always trusted us. We were open to his needs and our expectations for him were unmolested by any ugly history that he had been amassing. We never thought he would ever think about doing us any harm and he never ever did. Of course, in the over four years that we lived and loved with Boom we got to understand his insecurities and his intolerances, but together we found a space that we all could be happy and Boom could be at his best.
Boom was always one of the pack. Throughout all of the years of intake and departure that string our cyclical rotations of life rescuing dogs, Boom settled right into the thick of it making himself a constant figure in our social packs. Whether it was an energetic pack of a dozen rowdy adolescents, peppered with some older wiser blood, or a smaller pack of slow goers and seniors as the years passed, if the young guns were too much to tolerate, Boom was always among his pack members. Even though he had moments in his first year with us when he unleashed his holiest of terror on another dog that put him in a space of insecurity, it was always 'justified' considering the circumstances. Also and mainly due to the fact that Boom's teeth had been filed down when his biting was at its height before he found us, there was never a serious injury, more of a severe warning that he would defend himself if he felt threatened, and due to his chaotic history his mental scars left him feeling vulnerable even when he wasn't really being threatened. Never putting Boom in a situation that he couldn't handle and listening to what Boom was telling us about where he needed to be and with whom, we were able to give a mixed up pup a pack and within the pack, he had a full life.
Boom was an elderly and crotchety man in his final months. He knew that his body was giving way beneath him, but he had settled into such a rhythm in the safety of our home, of his pack, of his easy retired country living that he was determined to take every last moment of life from this place. He survived a too long Winter to see the warm sun again. Boom loved nothing more than the heat of the Summer sun on his dark skin. Boom had a very thin coat and dainty feet like a delicate small breed dog. He had to rely on sweaters and jackets and even neck warmers for months to insulate his body from the cold of Winter whenever he went outside. Summer for Boom was a time for him to soak up the rays, usually sprawled out with his back against the fence line, almost hidden in overgrown green grass or baking in the open laying across the hot gravel stones. Boom was alert as he sunned himself, but also at his most relaxed. He could watch the action of the pack, soak up the life giving rays and just feel at ease with his space in this world. In the heat of a hot Summer, if the dogs were in their slow motion pace, lounging in the shade, drinking from buckets, wading in pools, Boom would be in the sun, smile wide, tongue out and panting in sheer puppy pleasure. His eyes would squint closed and it was always gratifying to see his trust in this world we offered to him. Boom made us feel special everyday because we knew how special he was to have gotten this chance, to have his kind of history, his kind of lasting scars and yet to see that he still wanted to be a part of this pack, this life, this time together. We knew that our lifelong determination to truly hear what the dogs are asking for has been well spent. A dog like Boom had no more options to live in a human world crowded with the pressures of human troubles and complications, human emotions and frustrations. But with two people who wanted nothing more for him than for him to be free and a pack of dogs that thrived on that freedom everyday, he had a chance to thrive.
Boom's story is shared by other dogs like him...but there was only and will only be one Boom. With us long enough to be in our hearts and eternally injected into our memories, and for that, we are grateful. R.I.P Boom Boom...hoping the sun burns even brighter over the bridge...