By: Barona Whiteing-Green
Animals have always been a part of my life. After a year of marriage and finally moving into our first home, I brought up the idea of getting a dog to my husband. He was a little hesitant at first because growing up he never had a pet. He finally agreed and we got Sugar, a cute little 3-month-old liver and white colored Shih-Tzu. Sugar did not come from a shelter, but was given to us by a neighbor who had a litter of pups and was giving them away.
Two years later we got Domino, a black and white Shih-Tzu. I found Domino in a newspaper ad that read, "free to good home." He was just a puppy.
We raised Sugar and Domino from the time they were little pups until they crossed over the "Rainbow Bridge." Sugar crossed in 2008, and Domino crossed in 2010. My husband took the loss of both dogs very hard. These were the first pets in his life and it was it really hard for him to accept their passing. They were each 12-years-old when they passed; both were sick and required constant visits to the vet. Sugar had heart disease and Domino had cancer. This is when my husband made the decision that he did not want any more pets. He said that he could not stand loosing another pet.
In late 2011, I started talking to my husband about getting another dog. I figured enough time had gone by since we lost Domino in February of 2010. He was still saying, "Not yet." I respected my husband's wishes but I was getting impatient. I also mourned the loss of Sugar and Domino and often told him that they would want us to give a homeless animal a forever home. I always got the same answer..."No." I finally told him, "What would happen to homeless animals if everyone thought like you. Then no animals would ever get adopted."
Then on September 14, 2013 I buried my only child. While talking to my husband a few days after the funeral, I brought up the subject again about adopting a dog. I don't know if he could feel the pain in my heart for the loss of my son, but he said, "Okay." Stunned by his answer, I asked him again to make sure that he had said yes. I was so happy, I hadn't smiled in months. I assured him that I would wait until the spring.
Then just five days after my son's funeral I saw a post on Facebook by the Washington Humane Society; it said that for the upcoming weekend dog adoptions would only be $21. I know it wasn't the price that drew me in; I would have paid the regular amount. I kept reading additional posts and then went back to the one from the Washington Humane Society. I went to their website and looked at the dogs. I have allergies so I had to be careful when choosing a dog. I made the decision that I would go into the shelter the next day. I knew I had made a promise to wait until spring...but something was pushing me to go in.
The next day I arrived at the shelter early. I walked up to the counter and told the woman working there that I was looking for either a Shih-Tzu or Yorkie, under a year old. I really didn't expect her to find one.
To my surprise, the first dog that she pulled up was Jonas, a 9-month-old Shih-Tzu/Yokie mix who had just come in the day before! She turned the monitor around so I could see him...and I fell in love! She told me that she could look to see if there were any more dogs. I told her, "No I have seen the one I want." I thanked her and left the shelter 15 minutes later.
My son is buried in a cemetery close to my home, so I pass the cemetery often. On the way home I said to my son, "I know that I will get little Jonas, I know that you are sending him to watch over me."
Coincidences were happening that I didn't understand. I ended up going to the animal shelter earlier than I had planned. They had exactly the type of dog that I was looking for. The dog arrived only a day earlier. My son was a Minister, and I later found out that the name Jonas is in the bible. He is nine months old and was born in January, my birth month.
I did the paperwork and received a call from the shelter asking for my husband and me to come in and meet Jonas. He took to us immediately, particularly my husband. I know that God changed my husband's heart, and Jonas was just confirming it. My husband never mentioned that we were “supposed” to wait until the spring. Jonas is now home with us.
Having had puppies before, we expected Jonas to be typical of a puppy, but he is different. He is housebroken and is so sweet and loving. He plays with his toys and has not touched anything that he shouldn't. We have spent time in the backyard playing, and he comes when I call him.
This morning he was playing with one of his toys next to me. He stopped and put his little paw on my arm as if to say, "Mommy are you okay?" I picked him up and gave him a big hug as he laid his little head on my neck.
He is such a comfort to me. I know that God and my son sent Jonas to watch over me.
Before I end I must say to everyone reading this, adoption is always an option. If you have room in your heart and in your home, please consider adopting a homeless animal. Animals can bring so much joy to your life, and besides you will be saving a life.
Barona Whiteing-Green is an animal advocate who runs a blog and Facebook page called The Pet Tree House where she posts adoption events and information for the Washington Humane Society and other area animal shelters.
To learn more about adoption, and to meet a Jonas of your very own, visit www.washhumane.org/adopt.