One of my favorite radio programs was, as some of us old people will remember, Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story." Often I read or hear a headline story in the news and then never hear another word as to what happened to the people (or animals). I know I'm guilty of leaving you wondering whatever happened to some of the orphans I've written about.
Remember the Great Dane named Bernadette who was abandoned and left chained to a tree with a broken hip and pelvic bone? Bernadette has proved to be the courageous, amazing girl we hoped she'd be. She has slowly but surely made a complete recovery from her neglect, abuse and injuries. Bernie has been so fortunate to have foster care-givers that have dedicated themselves to the extraordinary physical and emotional, round-the-clock care she needed to bring her back from the brink of death. Dennis and Mattie are an incredibly special couple who volunteered to nurse this big beautiful dog back to health, knowing it would mean a lengthy, huge disruption to their lives, with no guarantee that there would be a good outcome when all was said and done. But, step by step, with some setbacks along the way, Bernadette has transformed into the regal girl she was meant to be. Her eyes shine and so does her coat. Her vertebrae on her long back, her ribs and hip bones no longer show. Bernie can go up and down stairs and trot around her yard and do just about anything she likes.
Her leg and hip will never be quite the same but she uses it for balance and is beginning to trust it with some of her weight. I think she is still in shock that she can now walk without pain. Life is good for Miss Bernadette! She loves other dogs, cats and even tolerates the chickens at her foster home. Bernie is finally now ready to go to a forever home and will have her "coming-out party" as she attends her first adoption day this weekend! (Yes, I'll let you know when she's adopted…)
Willis, the strikingly handsome Australian Shepherd boy that wandered our countryside for several weeks, miraculously surviving somehow, was adopted a few weeks ago. It was the perfect match for Willis! It was like one of those movies where their eyes meet and some sort of connection happens, sparks fly and love is born in an instant! Willis and I were standing on the sidewalk at an adoption day event when I noticed a couple getting out of their car in the parking lot. The woman immediately zoned in on Willis from quite a distance away. I remember thinking, "This lady knows Willis is an Aussie!" She never took her eyes off him, as she walked toward us, like some magic spell had come over her. Her husband had a quite puzzled look on his face as he tried to catch up to his wife who'd left him in dust as she made a bee-line for us. She told me she had an Australian Shepherd for 13 years and that he was her beloved constant companion. He had died a year before and she still missed him terribly. She and her husband recently retired. They have an older Golden Retriever who is pretty lonely without his friend and they had been thinking about another dog but weren't sure they were ready. They knew it would have to be just the "right" one. She spent lots of time talking with me about Willis, all the while, petting and hugging him, as Willis leaned into her with that goofy Aussie smile on his face.
Page 2 of 2 - They completed an application and then took him for a walk inside the store to see how he interacted with other people and dogs. When they came back they asked me, "Are we approved?"….. And "Where do we sign?" With all paperwork completed, I walked them all to their car, hoping Willis would go willingly, since he'd been Velcroed to me for weeks. As soon as the hatch opened, he flew in to the back of their SUV and sat down! He knew.
And now you know "the rest of the story"!
Leanne Williams writes a weekly column for the Daily News.