The invitation was for dinner and a “surprise.” We approached the front door of our son Chris and his wife, Marlene’s, home and heard an unusual sound—barking!
“They did it!” I said to my husband, John, excitedly.
“Finally,” he responded with feeling.
The door opened, and running excitedly around the whole family’s feet was Cali, a black-and-white female Jack Russell terrier mix. After a few minutes of barking, spinning, and twirling, Cali got down to business sniffing our shoes and pants legs. Apparently, we passed the sniff test, since this was followed by jumping up on our legs. Dropping to our knees, we were given enthusiastic, wet canine kisses. We were delighted.
That Cali was a surprise has a backstory. When Chris was a teenager, he frequently brought home needy cats and dogs (this was before we had a local no-kill shelter). He was very enterprising in finding new families for these creatures, including one very famous dachshund who ended up staying permanently …
When Chris married and then had children, we thought he would have pets, but for some reason he was resistant. No amount of pleading by the children or sending pictures of engaging rescues would induce him to bring a four-legged creature into their home. To be honest, it kind of irritated me.
And then he and his family met Cali, sitting quietly in her enclosure amid the cacophony at the Shelter Hope Pet Shop. It was love at first sight for Chris, Marlene, and their children. How could anyone say no to that cute face that tilts and looks at you inquisitively while her dark eyes sparkle?
Yesterday, we visited Cali again. She has been in residence five days now. I have to say she is quite the hostess. We were ushered into the house, our shoes were sniffed, we were invited to hold her, and then we were showered with affection.
After making sure we were properly welcomed, Cali approached the open sliding glass door, glancing over her shoulder as she went out. It seemed like she was inviting us to follow her, so we did. Once outside, she provided the entertainment by running around the perimeter of the large, grassy backyard onto the patio and around the outdoor furniture in a tight loop, then repeating the whole circuit until exhausted.
She went in the house and plopped down. Watching her sleep, I noticed that on the tip of one of her ears is a delicate half-moon of white fur.
Cali’s history is short. She is anywhere from 18 months to 2 years old. She was found wandering the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, where she was rescued. One ear was badly infected, and she had a skin condition and parasites. But looking at Cali now, with her sleek coat and perky ears, you would never know her history.
I believe that many rescue animals know their good fortune and are grateful to those who removed them from unhealthy and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Animal rescuers then broker a second chance for a happy life with willing families. In return, these creatures give love, protection, and entertainment to those who welcome them into their homes and hearts.
Between Cali and her nuclear adoptive family, there is already a strong bond. The entire Chamberlin clan is excited, and that includes cousins, siblings, aunts, and uncles—and grandparents, of course! We have a new member: a sweet, loving, inquisitive, and energetic canine.
Welcome to the family, Cali!
I want to acknowledge all those who rescue, foster, and adopt needy creatures—from cats to dogs to horses to hamsters. I particularly want to thank the compassionate people at Shelter Hope Pet Shop who have fostered Cali, nurtured her, and given her another chance at life. You are all my heroes. I thank you, our family thanks you., and I’m sure Cali thanks you.
Shelter Hope Pet Shop
P.O. Box 1286
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358