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Still Waters: The best kind of Freckles

Posted: Friday, Nov 30th, 2012

She’ll never win the Westminster Kennel Club show. She’d never even qualify for it.

Freckles is a hybrid Dalmatian mix whose father may have been a pit bull, but only her mamma knows for sure. Her dubious heritage would make her unadoptable in some places.

She would certainly win “Miss Congeniality” in any pageant, that’s for sure. Like my former golden/lab mix Katy, Freckles wags her tail amiably as she walks. She is always in a good mood.

She may not win a dog show, but she’s won my heart.

It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago when I first met this spotted creature. It was this time of year. It was cold, and Animal Welfare Society Manager Aileen Peek and I went out to a house in East Alamosa where the renters had run out and left some of their belongings behind, in addition to all of their dogs. Freckles’ mom was trying to keep warm in a pile of clothes that had been left in a bedroom. She was pregnant again and would later have her puppies at the dog pound. I wound up driving her and the pups to Colorado Springs where a Dalmatian rescue group took them.

Freckles and a couple of other siblings from a former litter were outside. The other dogs were chained up. Freckles was free, and she followed us, nipping playfully at our heels, as we walked next door to the neighbors to see what they knew about the situation.

It would be several months before this spotted creature would come home with me, however. At the time I had some boy dogs, and we were doing fine, not looking to take in another stray.

By spring of 2003, Freckles had been in foster care under the name Crystal, and for some reason her foster folks could not keep her and she needed a “temporary” home, just for a few days, before she could be transferred elsewhere. I temporarily took Crystal, who was still very much a puppy and began tearing up and into things as fast as she could get her paws and teeth on them.

She shook our staid household to the core. After two days I was ready to take her over to Aileen’s with a big red bow around her neck, but she probably would have torn it to shreds before the present could be unwrapped.

I figured this happy-go-lucky creature needed at least a football-team of boys to play with, not a middle-aged woman with some older boy dogs. I was the wrong house for her, I was sure.

God knew I needed her, and she needed me. When it became apparent Crystal would be mine, and of course I had fallen in love with her by then, I changed her name to Freckles, which was much more suitable to her appearance and disposition. A “crystal” she was definitely not.

Freckles now has diabetes, which has taken much of her eyesight, and she has to get insulin shots and eat special food. She sleeps now more than she used to, and she hasn’t torn anything up in ages.

But she still carries toys in her mouth when she goes outside, a habit she has had since a pup, and her tail still wags amiably when she walks.

She has welcomed two other “siblings” into the household and loves the “puppy,” a young adult cow dog, and has come to tolerate our newest addition, a big black lab. I found the two sleeping paw to paw recently.

Everybody knows they belong and they are loved.

Freckles is extra special to me, like my Katy was. She and I have a special bond.

“I love you more than life,” I tell her.

When she came into my life and entrenched herself in my heart, I wrote in a journal, “Someday when you are old, and I am older, I will seek another strength to say good-bye.”

I know that day is coming, but until then I will treasure every day I have with my sweet spotted friend.

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