This Saturday, Merlin and I will drive to St. Louis to meet his new “parents.”

This Saturday, Merlin and I will drive to St. Louis to meet his new "parents." His new family is flying to St. Louis from Massachusetts to meet and adopt Merlin, and then make the long trip back to their home at Cape Cod in their rental car, so Merlin does not have to endure air flights. After a month of conversations and pictures and videos exchanged, we mutually decided that Merlin belongs with this incredibly special couple.

I can't begin to explain how or why stories like this happen. It is a wonderful mystery that Sara and Raffi were drawn to our little misfit Merlin and then were willing to go to such great lengths, make big sacrifices and come halfway across the country, to give Merlin the gift of a forever home, believing in their hearts, he should be part of their family. I don't have to understand. I am just so thankful I got to be part of it.

As Merlin's departure draws near, I wrote a few down things that I hope will help his transition to his new, and this time forever home.

Dear Sara and Raffi,

My eyes get misty as I think back to when Merlin first came to us. He was obviously worried, and for good reason, after all he'd been through in his young life. He may be a little worried again as he makes yet one more major transition in his life, so don't hold back on the reassuring hugs, belly-rubs, atta-boys, and ear-scratching. His tender heart will sense your love and all worries will fade quickly.

• Merlin loves to snuggle on the couch or bed, but he will need a little help to join you up there.

• When walking you will feel him trot alongside, affectionately nuzzling your hand.

• Merlin may be reserved in meeting new people but will soften quickly when you let him know that they are "friend, not foe."

• Merlin may be nervous and try to "mark" things at first, in an attempt to make your home smell like it is "his." A "No, Merlin" is usually sufficient distraction to let him know this is not acceptable behavior, but may need to be reinforced by a squirt of a water gun or spray bottle of water.

• Merlin has a unique "pee stance" (since he can't lift his legs). You will think he is doing a handstand (or a paw-stand) in Merlin's case. Try not to let him see you laughing!

• Merlin sleeps all night on his bed in our bedroom and usually will not disturb you until you wake up. He will expect doggie treats at bedtime. (That is a ritual around here.)

• He eats twice a day, morning and evening.

• Merlin seems uncomfortable sitting and it would stand to reason that would hurt. We are not sure how he manages to sit at all, since his hips do not bend. If he plays too hard and is hurting, you will notice him carrying one leg or the other. His right leg seems to be the stronger one and because of crooked little backside, his right leg hits the ground before his left. Consequently, he may need pain medication with his evening meal. Merlin is so resilient, joy-filled, and accustomed to living with pain, that it will be up to you to watch for cues that he might be hurting.

• He thinks his job is to herd anything that is running!

• Merlin has no "catch it" reflex. The Frisbee goes zinging over his head unnoticed. He enjoys "herding" our dogs while they play with the Frisbee (they don't appreciate it much.)

• He does like tennis balls, stuffed toys, chew bones and Greenies!

This will be a painful goodbye for me — and probably a little for him, too — but he will quickly transfer his special love and loyalty to you both. As protective and partial as I have been with this red-tri Aussie, you have won me over! I'm convinced you will give our amazing, magical, sweet Merlin the forever home, love, and life he so deserves. What a gift he will be to your lives and what a precious, unforgettable inspiration he's been to me!


Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends.