My Protector, Then & Forever

I’m sure every pet owner would agree that our pets are truly a part of our families and our hearts. My dog, Aslan, was a genuine soul who wanted nothing more than to be by my side every moment of every day. When I wasn’t home, she would wait by the window for my car to pull up.

We have sons and always said we would get a dog as soon as we had a fence. When that day came, I was so excited! Maybe more than my boys and hubby!

One day, quite by accident, I stumbled upon an online posting about a 3 yr old yellow lab/boarder collie named Aslan after the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie. The posting was in an online Autism group. One of my sons is autistic and I was just reading through the forum when I saw her picture and had to read more about her.

The family said they were moving out of state and couldn’t take her with them and she was “free to a good home”. I always dislike when people post that. You never know what kind of pet owner will take an animal when the animal costs them no investment. That’s my own personal feeling.

The dog was beautiful and had such sad eyes. I had to meet her… I called my husband at work and asked if I could go and meet her. Even though I told him it didn’t mean I would be taking her home, we both knew the odds of that statement being true! ha ha

I drove a good 30 minutes to get to their home. When I got myself and my two young boys from the car, Aslan was already in their front yard, trying to check us out. She looked nervous at first. The woman warned me that she didn’t usually like new people and might growl at us. I’m not sure why but that didn’t phase me a bit. Normally, it would, as I have young children, but I got the best vibe from this dog!

I stopped and held out my hand so she could smell me. She took a few sniffs and I spoke to her. I wanted her to hear the kindness in my voice and know I meant her no harm. Her face changed right in front of me! Her tail began wagging like crazy and she ran right up to me and started nudging my hand onto her head for some love!

The woman invited us in and the boys played with some toys in the living room while I sat on the couch to talk with the owner. She said the dog was great with her son but hated men. There was talk of her maybe being mistreated before they got her. She was surprised that Aslan was taking to me so well and so quickly. She said all the other people that had come to meet her had been growled and barked at. I felt so honored that she saw me as safe and friendly.

At this point, Aslan is on the couch with me, literally laying in my lap. I loved her from the moment we met. I joke all the time that she chose me, right from the start! She was great with my kids and took to my husband instantly but she was definitely MY dog.

As I looked around the house, I saw that her dog food was a giant dollar store bag of kibble. They had slashed the bag right in the middle and put it on the floor of the kitchen so that the kibble was just flowing out of it onto the floor. No bowl. There was a big bowl of water next to the spilling bag of food. I am not judging their choice of dog food brands. Everyone has a story and struggle that we know nothing about. I just want to illustrate the conditions Aslan was living in at the time. I knew I had to get her home with me. I HAD to.

I did not get to meet the husband but the wife told me that it looked like Aslan had made her choice. I agreed and said I would love to take her with me right then! She agreed and it seemed all set. As I was putting my kids in the SUV and preparing a spot for our new family member, the woman drew back a bit and said that they were actually asking for $100 for her. I stared blankly at her a moment and then reminded her that she had said the dog was free. She agreed that she’d said that but said they had decided they needed $100.

We were a young family and money didn’t grow on trees, as it doesn’t now. I thought for a moment because I knew I’d told my husband that she was free. However, I COULD NOT leave her there, no matter the cost. Maybe that’s why the woman suddenly wanted money? I don’t know. I wrote her a check and we were in the car and headed home, Aslan included. It was the best $100 I ever spent in my life. No regrets.

Now, we’ll fast forward to the day we lost her. She was 15 years old at this point. A long, happy life for a dog, no doubt. We loved her to pieces! She was patient and kind and a strong protector. She never did pay with toys, no matter how much we tried to teach her. She was very fearful of brooms and mops. We just loved on her anyway. My boys adored her and she, them.

It was three days after Thanksgiving, late in the evening. We had the fireplace going and were just hanging out in the living room. She was sitting right in front of the couch were I was sitting. That’s always where she was….where ever I was.

I got up to do something, I can’t remember what because I never got the chance to do it. I took a few steps and she got up to follow me, as she always did. She took a step, whimpered, and fell. I knew instantly something was very wrong. She was always so healthy, albeit slowing down with age.

I was instantly beside her, trying to figure out what was going on. She tried again to stand but fell back down and peed a little, which she NEVER did. I yelled for my husband and then we were off to the nearest emergency vet!

As it turns out, she had a massive cancer growing inside her rib cage. That’s why we didn’t know it was even there. When she stood, it ruptured and she began having seizures. They tried to save her but there was nothing they could do. We lost her that night. The whole family was crushed. We didn’t get home until midnight and then had to tell our sons that Aslan was not coming home. It was devastating.

I cried for days, straight. Every time I stood to walk somewhere, I looked down to make sure I didn’t step on her but she wasn’t there. My heart was broken. My family wanted to get another pet but I wouldn’t agree to it. I didn’t want another pet, I wanted Aslan. Any other pet felt like a simple replacement and she was NOT replaceable. I was a stay at home mom at the time and was slipping into depression.

After about a week of mourning her, I was walking through the hall of our home and heard her whine. She always did this when she didn’t know where I was and was looking for me. Out of pure habit, I called out to her, “I’m in here, Aslan!” and suddenly realized that she was no longer with us…

I stood in total shock for several moments, waiting to hear her again, but I heard nothing. I went on about my day, wishing I could see her if she really was there.

The next day, I was loading the dish washer and heard Aslan’s signature whine again! It was louder this time. Instead of answering her, I froze and listened. I heard it again! I called out to her “Come here, baby girl!” as I had always called her. I actually heard her paws clanking on the kitchen floor towards me but I saw nothing.

The tears were immediate. I sobbed hard. I missed her so much. Hearing her was almost cruel because I couldn’t have her back. It felt like a mean joke. If she was really here and looking for me, I wanted to tell her that I’m right here. I’ll always be right here for her.

Over the next week or so, I would hear things that sounded a lot like noises she would make. A deep sigh or her paws on the floor. The fact that I didn’t hear her whine for me made me feel a little better. Could she have found me that day in the kitchen? Maybe the sound of her paws approaching me was actually the sound of her finding me again.

She was the best dog I’ve ever known. I miss her still and always will. Even as I type this, I can’t hold back the tears. I only heard her sounds for a few weeks and then no more. It’s as if she stayed around until I stopped crying so much and then she moved on.

She was an amazing and loyal dog to me, even after she had to leave me. I guess she needed to make sure I was okay first. That’s just the kind of loving creature that she was. Pure of heart, from her nose to her toes.

Rest In Peace, Aslan.

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2 thoughts

  1. I’m SOBBING right now! I only knew her briefly, but she was always so sweet and patient when our loud group was there! I’m glad you were able to experience her love for as long as you did. ❤

  2. As a pet owner of dogs and cats past and present, I sit here in tears after reading this beautiful story. I too have been lucky enough to hear one of our fur babies bark/meow, see a depression on the bed or feel a paw on my back. I too have had my heart ache and want to just make sure my babies made it to safety and the loving arms of my Grandma that had passed prior and who would take great care of them until that day that I can once again see them 💜 Thank you for sharing your story 🐕🐆

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