Humans : Trey, Diane and Maia Miller, Plymouth, Minnesota
When our daughter announced that she was going to volunteer at the local Animal Humane Society, my wife and I exchanged a knowing glance and arched eyebrows. We both recognized immediately that this was code for, “I’m coming home with a dog.”
We had lost our beautiful German Shepherd two years prior. That dog lived a long, comfortable life, giving the children love, protection and security while giving the household a modicum of chewed shoes, dirt on the floors, and a metric ton of dog hair. She was a big, striking dog and she left a hole in our lives as only a large working dog, who has dedicated her life to one’s family, can. This was the second German Shepherd companion we had in our family’s short history and we were not ready to attempt to plug that hole yet again. The kids were grown, we didn’t need the protection, the puppy chewing, the dirt, hair or massive sense of loss that eventually comes with loving a dog. The only thing we told our daughter was, “Mom, is ready for a smaller dog; one that she can pick up and put in the laundry tub for a quick wash.” The daughter took that to heart, so to speak, and came home with a Great Pyrenees mix who had taken her heart in actual fact.
The Humane Society called this overgrown Great Pyr puppy Belle. They thought she might be a year old because of her size. Our vet has since determined she was probably more like eight months when she came to us. She was carted to the no-kill Golden Valley Humane Society from a short-term shelter in Tennessee because her time was up there. The idea that anyone would or even could think of euthanizing this beautiful dog just hurts my soul because she is such a beauty. She was more than a Belle; she was Mirabel (Mirabel is a female name stemming from the Latin word mirabilis, meaning”wondrous” or “of wondrous beauty”), and we call her Mira for short.
The shelter in Tennessee didn’t have much information on Mira. They said she was brought in filthy and hungry and scared. To this day she is scared of thunderstorms, men in uniforms or even just hats, and any water hose makes her jumpy. We’ll never know what her life on the run down in Tennessee was like, but it is a sad idea that this mountain snow dog should ever be away from a state where she can cavort and gallop in the snow with her long legs and huge paws easily transporting her over the Minnesota landscape. She’s kind, gentle, loving and strangely intelligent in a way uncommon in any canine and she’s found a home with us. We are surprised, and chagrined, and delighted to find we have so much more of a home with her.