Finding Your Forever Pet

If you aren’t an insane pet lover, or animal lover in general, like me, just stop right here. Because you won’t love and appreciate what I’m writing about today. And you just won’t get it. For the rest of you, whether your love is a cat, a dog, a lizard, a snake, a frog, a chinchilla, a ferret, or even a (gulp) tarantula, read on. This is for you.

Many years ago, I used to be a traveling businesswoman. I didn’t travel all the time but enough that I could pack and go in a moment’s notice. I knew that Pittsburgh was the best airport for clothing shopping because there wasn’t any sales tax. I knew that the Dayton airport was not fun in to winter because you had to make a long walk to get to your rental car. I knew that the Charlotte airport had nice rocking chairs in their atrium. Perfect for a quick snooze in between flights.

What I can’t remember is the airport I was in when I was killing time between flights and found a book that stuck with me forever.

For Every Dog an AngelIt was called “For Every Dog An Angel” by Christine Davis. It was a sweet little book with comforting words to those who have lost their dog. I stood there with tears in my eyes at the store and gently placed the book back on the shelf. But it stayed with me.

A few years later, my husband and I had to help my mother-in-law say goodbye to her Lhasa Apso, Madison. Madison had been diagnosed with melanoma and passed away very quickly. It was unexpected and devastating for my husband, who had gotten Madison as a puppy. He showed me pictures of Madison the day he brought him home to his mother’s. The day that she said that dog had to go back. That she wasn’t keeping it. Then she held him and a 15 year love affair began.

Saying goodbye was hard for all of us and wanting to reach out to my husband to let him know I understood, I found and bought the book “For Every Dog An Angel.” The words were peaceful and comforting and happy.

The truth is that I didn’t really understand. I’ve grown up with pets all my life. Our house was always overrun with dogs and cats and it seemed we were always saying goodbye to one of them. Some were more difficult than others. But it wasn’t until I was an adult owner of a pet that I really felt the pain.

You see, the book “For Every Dog An Angel” talks about your forever dog. The one you were meant to be with. The one that was chosen especially for you. I didn’t know I had a forever dog until I lost my dear sweet Holden last December.

It’s been almost a year since we said goodbye. He had a rather quick decline in the year or two before he passed away. He lost his hearing. He lost his sight. He had thyroid problems. The medications he was on made him have “accidents” more often than not. We couldn’t travel anywhere. I had to carry him all the time. It was frankly pretty miserable. But that’s what you do when you accept a pet as part of the family.

When Holden’s time came, as awful as it sounds, I completely expected to feel sadness but also a sense of relief that my burden had been relieved. While day to day life became easier, I never expected the hole in my heart that I’ve carried around since that day. I now know that Holden was and is my forever dog. He’s the one dog who completes me. While I have plenty of room in my heart for other pets (and yes, I have many more), the void he left will never be filled.

My sweet Holden

For Every Cat An AngelChristine Davis who writes and illustrates all of her books captured those exact thoughts so well and so completely in her books “For Every Dog An Angel” and “For Every Cat An Angel.” I re-read them and found so much more meaning. New meaning. And I love them so much that anytime I know someone who loses a pet that was special to them, I send them a copy of the books.

She has also written two new books that I’m thrilled to share with you.

The Shelter DogThe Shelter Dog” has a special place in my heart as every one of my pets has been secondhand. Whether it’s a rescue group, or a shelter, or the side of the road, I know that the pets I bring into my home and heart have chosen me as much as I’ve chosen them. And you’ll never find a more grateful pet. Christine celebrates how one dog with an imperfection finds a perfect home with a human who can truly appreciate them. It completely melted my heart.

Old Dog and the Christmas WishAnd in time for the holidays, there another book called “Old Dog and the Christmas Wish” about an old dog spending his life on a chain and wanting to have a purpose. Living in North Carolina, I have all too often seen dogs spend their entire life on a chain never knowing what it means to be part of a family. This book shares the story of an old forgotten dog, a Christmas wish, and the miraculous power of a true and loving heart. I plan to make reading it part of my Christmas family tradition.

***

I love Christine’s books so much that I contacted her directly and asked if she would allow me to share her wonderful books with my readers. And in a true and loving spirit, she agreed!

I’m giving away a copy of one of Christine’s books and I’m letting you pick it.

Just leave me a comment with the following two things:

  • The book you would be most interested in
  • The pet in your life that has touched you the most

That’s it! The winner will be chosen at the close of the contest on Friday, November 12th, at 8pm EST.

If you want a bonus entry (and this would totally make me happy), go to my Facebook page and upload a photo of one of your pets.

Now, here’s the kicker. If you don’t win or don’t feel all in the mood for a giveaway, you have the entire month of November to order the books for 15% off (also includes the Rainbow Bridge Silicone wristband) from Lighthearted Press. Just enter the discount code FADRA at checkout.

I love to support small businesses doing wonderful things and I hope you do too!!

***

CONGRATULATIONS to Ann a.k.a. Rubbersoul of Slow and Steady Wins the Race! You’ve won yourself a copy of “For Every Dog an Angel.”

  • http://treerootandtwig.com Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig

    What a sweet post!! I would love to win The Shelter Dog, as our Lucy Anne was rescued by us from a shelter just last Christmas. :) She is definitely our “forever dog,” and described daily by our 3yo as his “very best friend.” :) I’ll head over right now to upload a picture of her on your Facebook page, because I’m insanely proud of her and love her to bits.

    • Anonymous

      Love that you picked a shelter dog. Somehow they always know exactly how good they have it :)

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Finding Your Forever Pet | all.things.fadra -- Topsy.com

  • http://twitter.com/JessicaThinkies Jessica

    Definitely The Shelter Dog, as our Boston Terrier Clive is a shining example of the amazing family members rescue dogs can make. We love him so much, and we’re happy he’s chosen US to be his forever home.

    • Anonymous

      They do choose us, don’t they? I remember when I got my first cat, Arnie. I thought I’d never pick him and then he rubbed his face against mine and it was love.

  • scargosun

    I can’t pick one pet that has touched my life the most. I also worry that if I win, I will just bawl and bawl over those wonderful books. We have 2 rescue doggies so I’d love “Shelter Dog”. I usually refer to them as M-dog and G-dog in my blog. When gushing over them we call them Morgie and Gracie. They are our kids. I know, I know they are not human. I get it, I really do. We won’t have human kids so these guys are as close as we’ll get…happily. I try not to think about what it would be like to have to say good bye to either of them. When I even thin a tiny bit about it, I start to get a tightening in my throat and tears in my eyes.

    • Anonymous

      First of all, kudos to you for having rescue dogs! Every pet deserves a second chance. And secondly, I was kidless for many years and although pet love isn’t the same as human love, it’s a special love all on its own. You’ll get no judgment from me :)

  • http://www.stayathomebabe.com Stay At Home Babe

    I seriously cried through this whole post. Our cat, Oscar is fifteen and he’s just started lying around weakly and kind of tired in the last twenty-four hours. He’s not sick, he’s just nearing the end of his time.

    He will not take no for an answer when he wants a cuddle, he hated kids until my daughter was born and then he let the baby pull his whiskers to no end and hug him tightly even though his old hips are usually sore (he bites anyone else who squeezes him too tightly because it hurts)…because it was OUR baby. He loves our family so much.

    His black fur is getting heavily speckled with grey in the last two years and his bright green, sweet old eyes now have a pure white liner of grey fur. We won’t put him to sleep unless he’s in pain, so we’re preparing ourselves for what it will mean for this beginning of the end. We’ve done a fair amount of crying, found the box with his “baby” pictures and cuddled him too much today :). Sigh, okay, I’m going to stop blubbering on your comments now and go put a picture of Oscar cuddling our sleeping baby on your Facebook. Thanks for writing this post, I needed a place to be sappy about my old cat today. You totally rock.

    • http://www.stayathomebabe.com Stay At Home Babe

      P.S. Obviously I would like For Every Cat An Angel…

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I hope everything is okay with Oscar. My cat Arnie is 19 years old and still kicking it. He has times where he really slows down and sleeps a lot but he seems to take it in stride. He accepts the fact that he’s slower and he’s comfortable with lazing about most of the day. I just make sure that every time I catch his eye, I give him a little pet and tell him I love him. And I feel good knowing I’ve given him 13 years of joy. Come by and be sappy any time you need it. We’re always open.

  • Renee

    This post is very close to my heart as my shelter dog, Max, just passed on sunday. He was quirky and often times a pain in the butt. Because of his age, health problems, and general crankiness, he had to be kept away from our active toddler who would chase him mercilessly at every opportunity. I am sad that he is gone and find myself crying periodically when I didn’t think I would. While I know this will pass, as it did when our two beloved collies passed (both from Tri-State Collie Rescue in Ohio), I am sad none the less. The last of our four dogs is 11 (yes at one point we had four at once – the 2 collies, 1 german shepherd and our collie/shep mix). Hopefully he has a few good years left but his hips are already showing signs of problems.

    I think For Every Dog and Angel would be my first pick but I will probably have to pick up shelter dog as well – since 3 of our 4 were shelter/rescue dogs. I also don’t understand the people who have dogs only to chain them to a tree and deny them the family life/pack life that they so desperately need.

    Hopefully I will remember to post some pictures of them on your fb page.

    • Anonymous

      Oh Renee. I am so so so sorry. When we lost our dog Einstein, I thought about him every day for 6 months. It took 6 months just to have a day when he didn’t briefly enter my thoughts. It will pass but it’s sad. At least you know that once that sadness passes, you can look back at pictures and laugh at the memories.

      I used to tease my husband for taking so many pictures of our pets and now I’m so glad he did.

  • Anonymous

    We have a forever dog, and I dread the day we lose him. :(

    I would pick the For Every Cat An Angel because we lost two cats over the past year, and while we do have one book we read and love, a second would do us well. My old man cat who passed almost a year ago was sick, as well, and he was a total PITA, for so much of the time, but he was my very first baby, and he was my forever cat.

    • Anonymous

      I do think pets are on loan from above. And I do think we’re put to the test with them all the time. It sounds like you passed the test with your old man cat. And just be glad that you have forever pets. They are so special!

  • miss tejota

    As always you rock it with the posts. It was sweet and sad, it hit me in the emotional gut. Thanks for another awesome giveaway:

    “The Shelter Dog” and my feline is “the pet in my life that has touched me the most.” She is a bit mean, but she has truly help me through some of my medical issues and I try not to imagine my life without her.

    • Anonymous

      Of course I figured there was a feline in your life. Pets have a sixth sense when it comes to anything medical. My dog Holden knew there was a baby come. We could tell he just knew. And when I’m sick, there’s nothing better than a pet that curls up beside you and asks for nothing but the occasional stroke.

  • http://rubber7soul.wordpress.com/ Ann

    I would love For Every Dog An Angel. My dog Hunter was my first baby. The thought of losing him breaks my heart. I have a hard time watching movies like Marley and Me and My Dog Skip.

    Hunter is spoiled in so many ways. Before I was a dog owner I said my dog would never sleep on the bed. He sleeps on the bed and most nights takes up more room than I do. There are so many things about him that make him one of a kind. He is most certainly my forever dog.

    • Anonymous

      You know, I’ve never watched Marley and Me.I don’t think I could. And in fact, when I bought the book, I flipped to the sad part first and read it just to get it out of the way.

      My pets surround me at night and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Okay, some nights I would)

  • http://mommythisandthat.com Melisa

    Those all sound like such wonderful books! I had to say good bye to my forever dog back in June. Still miss him like crazy. He was rescued from a box in front of the supermarket and while there were times he drove me crazy, I loved him like crazy.

    • Anonymous

      Awww. Think of what a chance and a home you gave that dog. And wasn’t there a movie about a dog named Winn Dixie? The name would make sense for you.

      So sorry you had to say goodbye. It’s so hard, I know.

  • http://www.iyampam.com Pammy Pam

    awwww holden sounds adorable. my pain in the neck furrever love is Bailey. he has his own fb page and a blog. am i crazy or WHAT?? yep, crazy in love with him! he’s a shelter dog and he chose us at the SPCA, yay us!

    • Anonymous

      Oh, yay! Pam, I knew I loved you. Not only are you nutty about pets too but you rescued your pooch. There’s a special place in my heart for you.

  • http://www.mommywords.com Brittany at Mommy Words

    Fadra this is such a sweet post! We said goodbye to my dog Madeline this summer and it was devastating. I totally get the forever dog thing. I suppose I would choose The Shelter Dog because whatever doggie we get next will be from a shelter!

    • Anonymous

      Brittany – I’m so sorry you lost Madeline. It’s the hardest thing ever (or has been for me). And it makes me so happy to know that there’s a shelter dog out there somewhere waiting to find you!

  • http://www.adventuroo.com Adventuroo

    Oh this post made me cry! Trajan just turned 7 this year and so he qualifies as an “old dog” and it makes me sad. He’s my forever dog because we got him when we first moved to Phoenix as a young married couple. He was our first step in creating a family.

    I’d love the Christmas book– sounds like such a sweet read.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think I could have another big dog (I had them growing up) because they have such a short life span. It’s hard to believe that 7 is old but I know it is for some breeds. Just enjoy your time with him. From what I’ve seen, he’s still got plenty of spunk left in him!

  • http://www.fit2b.us Bethany Learn @fit2bmama

    We have chickens, but my daughter really wants a kitten. She loves cats. I think she would really like “For Every Cat, An Angel.” And I would like it too. I want her to learn that the spiritual world doesn’t just apply to humans. After all, the Bible says that in heaven the Lion will lie down with the Lamb. Of course, that might be symbolical, but when I told her about how the Bible mentions animals in heaven, she immediately said, “Oh mommy, can I go right now!??!!” … my heart nearly stopped. “Oh no, sweetie. I hope I get to keep you just a bit longer.” Call me selfish :)

    • Anonymous

      Awww, Bethany. That is so sweet. I’ve always believed in pet heaven. This is one of my favorite quotes:

      “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
      Will Rogers, 1897-1935

    • Anonymous

      Awww, Bethany. That is so sweet. I’ve always believed in pet heaven. This is one of my favorite quotes:

      “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
      Will Rogers, 1897-1935

  • http://www.secondchancemoon.com Barb

    My forever dog, growing up was Betsy. She was a mutt. She lived to be 14 years old. She died one week after I went away to college. Heartbreaking. Forever dog #2 was Mandy….we got her the day after we returned from our honeymoon. She was a big beautiful loving sweet perfect girl. She was a rottweiller/shepard mix from the Humane Society. She lived to 13 1/2. Its been 1 year this month since she’s been gone. Mandy outlasted my marriage. While Mandy was still here I fell in love with Maggie. She was in a cage with a resuce group at a local pet store. She came home with me. Out of the blue. But her eyes told me she was mine! She is still with us and she is loving and sweet! I imagine she will someday be Forever #3, it will just take a little more time to get past Mandy. I think all dogs, cats, whatever, make their own place in our hearts. Sorry for the forever long post!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Barb – you are so lucky to have had a few forever dogs. I probably have had some too. We had so many growing up. I have my dog Emma who can never take the place of Holden. But like you, she chose me when a rescue group was at a local pet store. She’s been with me a year and a half and she’s carving out her own special place in my heart.

    • Anonymous

      Barb – you are so lucky to have had a few forever dogs. I probably have had some too. We had so many growing up. I have my dog Emma who can never take the place of Holden. But like you, she chose me when a rescue group was at a local pet store. She’s been with me a year and a half and she’s carving out her own special place in my heart.

  • http://twitter.com/KatjaPresnal Katja Presnal

    I lost my forever dog Frank two and half years ago, it didn’t help that I had miscarried a baby less than two weeks before that. I totally understand you.

    • Anonymous

      Katja – I’m so happy to know you are a pet lover too. And I can’t help but smile when I think of a dog named Frank. He clearly was a member of the family.

  • Anonymous

    My husband and I just adopted Greta, our 3-year-old Min Pin, from a shelter a few weeks ago, so of course I’d be interested in The Shelter Dog. She was rescued from a puppy mill, adopted out, and returned six months later. She’s the sweetest thing and so full of love and affection (or should I say demanding of love and affection?) We have a little bit of work to do, as expected, but she’s perfect, really.

    I grew up with dogs at my dad’s house and cats at my mom’s house, but I think Greta is my forever pet.

    • Anonymous

      I hear you completely! Puppy mill dogs are a special challenge and it takes special people to adopt them. My dog Emma was a breeder dog at a puppy mill. We still work on the housebreaking thing and she has some medical issues as a result. But a year and a half later, she’s like a different dog! Let me know if you need any advice.

  • Pingback: Wordless Wednesday: Spicy, Not Sweet | all.things.fadra

  • BobbiJ

    I have five dogs! My little Chi/Min-Pin mix is my soul though. I hate saying that out loud becuase it is like saying I love one of my kids more..But my little guy (His name is Worm) is just “different”.

    • Anonymous

      You can love them all. I love all my pets. But some are just special. Don’t tell my cat Josie that Arnie is my forever cat. Shhhhh….

  • http://twitter.com/geekbabe geekbabe

    All of my pets are “green” in that I prefer to adopt shelter animals who need a forever home. Your story seriously touched my heart! If I won I’d choose “For every cat an angel” because I’m a cat lover :)

    • Anonymous

      Make Adoption Your First Option!!! I love it. I believe in secondhand pets and I’m glad you do the same :)

  • http://twitter.com/fayezeewayzee Fee,Faye,Mama…

    If I should be so lucky…I would pick the *For Every Dog an Angel*. Not for me but for my DD & her DD’s. They have all lost a dog this year. One tragic and one from old age. It’s hard to say which pet they lost this year, that touched us the most…Chewy had been with the family the longest. When my DD still lived at home, I can remember that truck pulling up in our driveway with a litter of pups on their way to the shelter. She grabbed the smallest & the fluffiest one and I knew we now had our newest member of the family! Recently, her oldest daughter, had her pup tragically killed on the highway in front of our homes, as she left for school that morning. I’ll never forget all of us women & girls standing at the end of our street, crying. Yes, it has been a bad year in our family for losing pets…

    • Anonymous

      No matter how you lose them, losing a pet is losing a part of the family. If people don’t get that, then they haven’t given their heart over to a pet. I’m so sorry for you and your daughters.

  • Jenna Caridi

    Hello there :) I really would like to read “The Shelter Dog”. As you know, having adopted animals is very important to me. Although all my kitties have been special to me, I have to say that my dog Ally is best suited as my forever pet. She came in my life at a very lonely time, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without out her back then. She was my company, my sounding board, my exercise buddy, my tear licker, and most of all, my friend. She stayed by my side and still knows when I need an extra bit of love. I know that I am writing about the right pet because I can barely see through my tears welling up to finish this post. As I took her home from the shelter, the now well known song, “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Beddingfield came on the radio, and I looked at Ally and told her she would always be my very own pocketful of sunshine. She has been ever since.

  • Pingback: The Scar That Defines Me | all.things.fadra

  • Pingback: Goodbye, my friend | all.things.fadra

  • Pingback: When Business Has a Face: The Story Behind SEED | all.things.fadra

  • Kelly

    Oh Fadra, I completely understand the hole in your heart for Holden. My Jasmine is still a part of me and now, over two years since she passed, my eyes fill with tears just remembering that stinky little dog who greeted me with such excitement when I came through the door. Their love for us so unconditional, all they ask is for their basic needs to be met. I feel so guilty for yelling and scolding her for sleeping on my nice sofa! How silly I was. Thank you for sharing your story and the books with us!