What are we to do with January? The light returns minute by minute but we slog through the cold black nights wishing for sun warmed salvation. As much as we love the glittering white brilliance of snow, we look for some distraction from the cold and dark. Into this annual trek through the darkness came a bundle of black and white effervescent fur.
We were surprised and smitten, when she was abandoned at work on a cold dark January afternoon, and I agreed most readily to care for her until her owner could presumably be located. Offering to take her home, I knew full well my inner child was leaping into joy.
Having history and knowledge of abandoned and rescued animals, I knew the drill. Put the word out, but hope like heck no one calls. In that first week of spontaneous motherhood, with her good-natured personality echoing in her flapping ears, she appeared advanced for her age.
There is no denying falling in love when personalities click. As someone who spent half her life with a menagerie of animals - dogs, cats, chickens, horses, rabbits, sheep - it doesn't matter how many, it still happens. Yet, it became painfully clear that I was not able to give her the home she deserved - a reality that was difficult to bear. After a successful search for the right family and the right home, my decision was firm. I was resolute that if I could not provide for her, I would ensure that someone else could, a promise I vowed to fulfill to her.
After two weeks of her coming to work each day, and spending much of it sleeping on my lap, this lovely relationship with my Little Jumping Bean would end. The arms of another family extended to her, a physical gesture that formed a sort of first-step test for each possible family. On the day my coworker and I took her to her home, her adopted father was waiting for her on the porch - an image that cannot be erased from my mind and not unlike my own father waiting up for me all those nights I came home late as a teenager.
The overwhelming joy and the preparation with which her new family received her, was beyond our wildest expectations. We spent an hour talking about her manners, her needs, her behaviors, and our own human amusements with dogs, preparing our homes for them, training and loving them, in a way that proved our undeniable dog-people groupiness. This was the moment I had been dreading for 2 weeks, tearing up each time I thought of leaving her. But the larger joy and lesson, to let go of love to let it flourish in letting go, remains.
On our way out the door her adopted dads gave my coworker and I each a bouquet of flowers in gratitude - which was my personal breaking point. She was with her new family now and I would go home to a silent house where no one needed me. I remember her looking at me and leaning forward from the arms of her new dad, perhaps to say, "wait, I'm supposed to go with you." But as a parent, you know when you've made the best decision.
About a week later, her dads brought her to work. In the parking lot, where I greeted her, she lept up on me, licking and hugging and bouncing her hello. Later she slept on my lap during lunch. Her new name, Moya, embodies all she represents, giver and receiver of unconditional love.
If there is ever a dog in my future again, I hope it will be an adopted Plott Hound just like My Little Jumping Bean.