Many of you know our sweet dog, Anakin, went missing in June. June 4th, to be exact. I still drive around looking for him. I still check local shelters. Something in me isn’t ready to give up. Our sweet Ani is deeply missed. We’ve had two extremely close encounters. One dog at the shelter that was so close to him in appearance, that I crumbled into happy tears as I drug him in to my arms, cried all over this dog, who thought I was a weirdo, only to realize that it was not, in fact, my Ani. This happened at the shelter.
The very same day, a second dog that looked like Ani was brought to our attention. A sweet family had adopted him and the photos were close enough, and the dog responded to Anakin with enthusiasm, so I drove to Stillwater when the closed the feed store.
It was the oddest of introductions, I have to say. As this sweet dog jumped into my arms like he had known me his whole life, with all of the excitement of a long-lost friend, I knew before he made the leap that he was not, in fact, Anakin. I enjoyed meeting the family that took the time to reach out, and I enjoyed meeting the sweet dog, but I walked away with my boy once more.
I’ll be honest, when a second chance in the same day happened, I was certain we would be bringing Anakin home finally. It was a somber drive home from Stillwater as reality set in that we still had not found our boy.
Anakin leaves a gap that needs filling – guarding the property/livestock with our female LGD, Ana (who happens to also be his mother). Ana was also sulking – the absence of Anakin was heavy on her heart, too. I wish she could tell me what happened, if she knows. They were incredibly close, always patrolling, playing in the early light of morning, and napping near one another.
I am not sure how many days passed between my trip to the shelter and Stillwater, and the day the hubs and I were discussing going to adopt the dog at the shelter, but it had been a few. Was it worth the risk to find out if the dog at the shelter would be good with the other dogs, chickens, goats, cows, etc. and would work/patrol with Ana? How fast should we get another LGD in to work with Ana? The risk to her safety with the coyotes and bobcat in our area had me nervous, but I don’t like the idea of “replacing” Anakin.
It is war between my head and my heart. We decide not to go get the dog at the shelter. (Which simultaneously broke my heart for that dog, too.) Then, only an hour or two after making our decision, guess what? The sweet family in Stillwater reached out. The dog they adopted was not quite the right fit, and they really felt like he needed room to run. They were just wondering if I’d be willing to see if he’d work for our family.
It’s odd to me how one decision led to a different door. I drove to Stillwater that night. Bender met me with the same enthusiasm as our first introduction – as though he’d known me forever. He’s been right at home with us since the day he came home.
He’s a look-a-like, and several times I’ve thought my Ani has returned when Bender comes running for me. My heart breaks at the same time that I feel a sense of joy at the smile seen on Bender’s face. He patrols with Ana, and he’s learning the ropes of the farm. He’s a good boy and we’re glad we have him.
Maybe, just maybe, Ani has found himself enjoying life somewhere other than with us. I hope they feel his old soul and love him deeply. We surely miss him.
We are also incredibly grateful to have Bender. He’s a sweet dog, good with the kids, smart, and full of life.