As a writer, I enjoy nothing better than reading a book that captivates me. One that is a page turner where my imagination and passion are consumed, or perhaps, kidnapped with the book. A few months ago, I found a Facebook site, Following Atticus. The site caught my attention because I am the mom to four schnauzers. Three mini-schnauzers and one giant schnauzer. All have unique personalities. I do not treat them as dogs. I describe them as my babies. My groomer gets a big kick out of that!
When I started following Following Atticus, I became captivated. Last week, I ordered the book. Yesterday, while I was baby sitting the service techs for a major repair of our heating and air unit, I sat in the kitchen, with my babies, reading Following Atticus. Some will describe it as a book about a man and his dog. Those of us who rescue and foster animals describe this amazing book as something more. It is a book about forgiveness, finding one’s self, compassion, acceptance, and in many ways, a story about finding yourself when you thought you were lost and alone and the journeys we take to come home again.
Atticus and Tom have a relationship extremely close to the relationship I have with my animals. Last year, when I lost my precious giant, “Prince Marmaduke Shamus,” aka “Shamey-Pooh,” I thought I wanted to go with him. I am pleased to say, my babies taught me how to accept his loss and how I must move on. That is when I decided I had to adopt another giant schnauzer, preferably, a rescue. For weeks I searched and could find nothing. One morning when opening Facebook, I found a posting of a black giant schnauzer now available for adoption — in Athens, GA. Immediately, I phoned to inquire and was told, if I applied, I would be the third person in line for him. Within 24 hours, I was contacted that if I wanted this abandoned giant, I would be the adoptive mommy to him! Isn’t it funny and strange how things work out. I believe in the power of prayer, visions and the power and strength to be clairvoyant. No doubt this was a sign from my precious Shamey-Pooh. He wanted me to go on and to stop all of the tears. The tears haven’t stopped, but I have opened my heart to love once again. Shamey-Pooh and I had a connection — a deep, passionate connection, but he was leading me to something he wanted me to do – to find the love within my heart to love and accept a lost and lonely black giant schnauzer that had been abandoned. In a dream my beautiful, silver gray Shamus pranced around again, telling me he was fine and I needed to “Move On,” just like I moved on after my dad died. This was truly another hard lesson in life, but Shamey-Pooh was guiding me, showing me how to journey into love again.
Now, a year later, my new giant schnauzer, Prince Midnight Shadow, has not taken Shamus’ place. That portion of my heart is reserved for Shamey-Pooh, but recognizing that life must go on has given me a new perspective to allow my heart to heal by allowing another rescue to teach me more about life, acceptance, forgiveness and love. “Shadow Bear” is full of life and in many ways, he is still a sneaky, energetic puppy that loves to jump up on me, until I remind me to ‘get down.’ His eyes grow wider with excitement when I come into the room. No, he isn’t Shamus. No one can replace that precious and fearful love, but we can grow and learn to accept the journeys we take in life, even the heartbreaking journeys.
If you have never read the book, Following Atticus, I strongly encourage you to get it and read it — every word, every page. Yes, you will need tissues, but your heart will be open to accept love again.
And now, I must gather my goodies and take my babies for a refreshing walk!