Yesterday I finished reading The War That Saved Me by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I’m trying to read some books appropriate for 3rd-5th grade to prepare for my new job this fall and this one came recommended. Wow. The story of a young English girl and her brother during WWII who are forced to leave their mother and home and evacuate to the country was riveting. The ending, which was highly emotional, really choked me up, in the best way a book can grab you buy the gut and make you truly feel.
Without giving too much away, Ada, the narrator of the story is born with a clubfoot and spends most of her life, up to and including the events of the book, feeling like she’s been cast out – unloved, unwanted, unworthy. When I finished the book, Ada stayed with me, I couldn’t help thinking about her plight, particularly her insecurities and how only over time, through love, unconditional love, was she able to start seeing the value in herself.
Now, this morning, as I walked the yard with my dog, June, my mind wandered and I started thinking of Ada. It may sound odd to compare a girl in a book to a dog, but as June came running at me, ears flopping in the wind, tongue hanging out, almost smiling, I couldn’t help thinking of Ada.
The shelter in Georgia said she was four. The rescue in Maine thought more like six or seven. When I brought her to my vet, he looked at her paperwork and laughed.
“If someone told me she was eight, I wouldn’t be surprised, but if someone told me she was twelve, I wouldn’t be surprised either… let’s go with ten,” he surmised.
So just like that, I had a ‘senior’ dog. The rescues probably ‘exaggerated’ her age thinking ‘who would want to adopt an old dog?’ and just like Ada, when she came to me she was so insecure she was looking for validation every second.
Well, after almost six months, June has started to settle in and feel comfortable. Like Ada, I think it took her awhile to realize she wasn’t going to be sent back anywhere. Just recently, June’s started sleeping on her back with her paws up in the air and her belly exposed. I’ve read this is a true sign a dog feels safe and now every time she does it, I smile and think of Ada.