Puppy Love

March 21, 2012

Few living things have ever touched my (dark) heart like my puppy, Penny Lane.

She is one of the sweetest creatures I have ever encountered.

Somebody found her wandering the streets of Los Angeles. Thinking about that – hurts. I wish I knew how she wound up alone. I wonder if something happened to her owner OR if someone was actually cruel enough to desert our beautiful dog…who doesn’t bark or bite or scratch or dig holes or chew shoes. She just wants to be loved. How could you possibly desert a dog like that?

Regardless of how she was abandoned, the important thing is, Homeward Bound, an AMAZING Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Sacramento saved Penny Lane. They drove to Southern California and picked her up. They brought her back to their Sanctuary and placed her in the capable hands of one of their many foster volunteers.

We really weren’t sure if we were going to bring home a dog when we first visited the Homeward Bound Sanctuary. But after we witnessed the work they do in our community and saw all of the dogs that were there – in need of homes – we knew we had no choice, we had to adopt one. We wanted to be considerate of The Fridge and Miss Red Pants (who are sort of temperamental) so we tried to find a dog that wasn’t as much of a pain in the a$$ as the two of them (pictured below).

my happy tails kitties

We ended up with a seriously overweight senior Golden Retriever.

Penny Lane was nine or ten years old when we adopted her. She’s about 14 now.

She has really bad breath.

Sometimes we have to help her up off the hard wood floors (her hips fail her all the time).

She’s lost almost all of her hearing. The look on her face when you have to startle her awake (by touching her) is heartbreaking.

She somehow manages to sit wherever you want to put your feet or on whatever cord you need to plug in.

She’s getting pretty stubborn in her old age (although I can’t say I blame her).

I’m convinced she was neglected or mistreated. She was severely overweight when we adopted her (by at least 30lbs – which probably didn’t help her hips) and she gets really upset when voices are raised. She got in trouble for eating cat litter (because that is disgusting) and I almost died when I saw her react to getting in trouble. Also heartbreaking.

We have routine fatty cyst scares.

She hardly ever sleeps through the night.

Her nose runs. All the time. And then she wipes her wet nose on you with the sweetest smile on her face. You almost forget it’s snot.

Our walks are getting shorter. Faster. We barely make it around the shortest block in our neighborhood before she just stops walking all together.

And…she never barks. She only growls when she walks alone, with me. And the other dog has to growl first. It’s actually how I figured out she was going deaf. She didn’t hear the other dog run up on us. I cried. Not because I was scared. Because I knew she couldn’t hear. Anymore.

She doesn’t like when babies cry. Sometimes she’ll just sit down next to them and let them pull her hair or slap her around a little bit. Until they stop crying.

She always knows when you don’t feel good. And she won’t leave your side until you feel better.

I swear she can wink.

She has the sweetest eyes. They make you want to give her whatever she wants…even when Bob tells you not to.

Penny Lane pushes her ears forward when she’s excited, when she thinks you are going to feed her or when she knows Bob is about to walk through the front door. She hearts her dad. She has since the moment she met him. It really was love at first sight/belly rub.

She buries her head in my lap for hugs in a way that makes my eyes water. Almost every time.

She lets the cats @#$% with her. Those lucky little bastards will never really know what it’s like to have a dog in the house – because our dog is dreamy. She has never disrupted their charmed lives. Not even once.

I could go on about Penny Lane. But you get the point. I’m crazy about her.

Sometimes I think about the fact that our time left with Penny Lane is probably limited. And I honestly don’t know if I could ever have another dog. I think, when Penny Lane goes, it will leave an overwhelming hole in my heart. I get nauseous thinking about our world without her in it.

But if we had to do it all over again. If we had to choose between a young pup and our sweet, old girl. I would take her every time. I would take her and I would try to give her the best damn years of her life. Adopting and loving Penny Lane (and the kitties) has softened my cold, cold heart in ways I never thought it could or would be soft.

Now I must wipe my own snot nose. Geez.

Homeward Bound Golden Retriever


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Shana Beals March 22, 2012 at 1:32 am

Love, Love, Love!


Danielle March 22, 2012 at 5:11 am

So sweet! I KNEW you had a heart! (but don’t worry, I will not tell anyone)!
Penny Lane is one lucky pup!
I heart this!


Jen Myers March 22, 2012 at 6:49 am

This made me cry. PL is the best. Remember when she saved you from an evil Land Park dog attack? Love you both.


Ashley March 22, 2012 at 7:46 am

pure love


Lesley March 22, 2012 at 7:51 am

Oh, i love her so.


Peggy Seitzinger March 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

I understand your love because we had Kaiser, the only dog I ever completely trusted, even with my newborn babies. You had me tear up too, ’cause I know how sweet Penny Lane really is. And when the time comes, I will know to hold your hand and hug you, not because it will help, but because it is the only thing I can do. I still have a hole in my heart from our Kaiser, and I didn’t think I could have another dog either. Only you will be able to make that decision when the time is right, or funny enough, when the time is wrong, because sometimes that’s how life works. We heart Penny Lane too!


Robyn Dahlgren March 22, 2012 at 9:49 am

Serious crying going on here. We lost (odd uphemism) our 15 year old companion Molly, just two months ago. She was a rescue shelter puppy and our first “baby”. We’ve had subsequent human kids and more puppies since, but no dog could ever, or will ever be able to fill the hole Molly left in our hearts. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute to Penny Lane.


Dina Serrano March 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Natalie, I don’t know you in person, but I can almost say that I do through your husband, you are amazing, you made me cry with this, we have two chihuahuas, and I can’t even think about my babies walking on the streets by themselves, or loosing any of them.
Thanks for sharing this.


DMTabery March 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm

My step-mom forwarded me your blog…and I can’t get through more than this post because I don’t want to sob at work. Our 10 year old boxer, Molly is dying from a brain tumor and I just can’t imagine life without her…if pets only knew how much they add to our lives.


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