One sunny day about four years ago I decided to drive up and spend some time at Muttville to see how I might be able to help. I hung out there for about an hour cuddling the dogs and talking with the volunteers. While I was there this adorable, super skinny little fluff ball in a green jumper pranced around wagging his tail saying hello to everyone. He just bounced from person to person saying hi. It was almost as if he had a smile on his face too. You couldn’t help but watch him.
Well, as you have probably guessed, I couldn’t stop thinking about that little dog Mutville named Juicy. Maybe the best way I could help was to welcome him into our lives. My only challenge was that we have another rescue named Archie who has always been afraid of other dogs. After everything he had been through it didn’t seem right to put another dog in the house that he had come to feel so safe in. But, something called me to at least “dig” a little deeper :) Juicy was with a foster who was willing to bring him to our home to see how well he got along with Archie.
Juicy’s foster mom came in and sat with Juicy on the couch. Juicy laid down and snuggled in right next to her. And, still to this day, I remember my surprise when Archie jumped up on the couch and sat down right next to Juicy. Normally he would have sat outside the room and lightly shook if another dog was in our home. I knew right then we had to give this a try.
From that day on, Archie shared his dog bed with Juicy and they often slept laying right on top of each other. Sometimes, Archie liked his space and would remind Juicy that this was his house first. But, he seemed to be protective of Juicy. Even when I would leave the house to take them in the car, Archie would wait on the porch until he knew Juicy was in the car too.
Things were not always easy. And, I only tell you this because if you feel like you are having challenges with your rescue that is normal. Juicy had to be nursed to better physical and emotional health. And, luckily he didn’t have any teeth because at times he could get scared and bite. We needed to learn how to approach him. For example, he didn’t want anyone to touch him when he first laid down to go to bed at night. And, especially if you came up from behind. But, once he knew he was safe he wanted to be snuggled all night long.
Speaking of snuggling, he turned my husband into a big ol’ softie! He especially enjoyed sleeping on my husband and I remember times my husband would shift at night and I would see Juicy stand up, look from side to side as if looking for him, lean over and look at my husband’s face and then plop down with his head in my husband’s neck. I remember many times sleeping with his head on my neck and not moving all night because it was so comforting. Juicy was like the perfect combination of a warm blanket, meditation, and blood pressure medication.
At times Juice could be a curmudgeon, but our whole family adored him. Our youngest son even asked everyone coming to his birthday party to not bring presents. Instead, he requested a donation to Muttville so he could help more dogs like Juice. He raised around $250.00! Helping Juice gave my son an opportunity to learn gratitude and the fulfillment that comes from helping others. I am forever grateful for that.
We even did something my husband swore we would never do…get a dog stroller! The two of them could only walk so far but really enjoyed being out so we would put them in it and go for long walks by the ocean. They would sit there looking regal and proud like they are kings and sniff the breeze. They were so content and happy.
Someone once said that a dog’s only fault is that it doesn’t live long enough. We were lucky enough to have precious Juicy for about three years. Very sadly he developed a brain tumor and he crossed the rainbow bridge. We still miss him and laugh about all his wonderful quirkiness. We will always cherish our memories of what an amazing cuddler he was and how much he adored his best friend Archie who he followed everywhere.
One day I went into Muttville to see what I could do to help. And, I went home with a little puffball that will forever live in our hearts. He helped us more than words could express. Thank you Muttville!!
The Merritt Family
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