One day I asked "How will I know"?
Izzy said .....
"You'll see it in my eyes"
Isabella was brought to me through a long chain of events, obviously planned without my knowing and she changed my life forever.
The day I met 12 year old Isabella she was petrified of any human touch. Izzy was seized in an animal cruelty case, emaciated, covered in fleas, arthritic and never loved. I laid a blanket in her yard at Best Friends Sanctuary where I sat and talked to her. She circled wide, never taking her cautious eyes off of me. As she circled closer I felt tears running down my cheeks. I so badly wanted her to trust me. I loved her already so I just kept talking so she would learn my voice in hopes she would love me in return one day soon.
A few hours later she came close enough for me to touch her. A few days later she hopped in the car and we shared the long road trip home to Colorado, where she was welcomed with open paws by Pierce, Meg and Buddy. Meg, my Golden matriarch, quickly took Izzy under her wing and the two girls were inseparable. Sadly two weeks later Meg passed from lung cancer. Meg showed no signs of illness until two days before her passing. It seems the two gals knew long before they shared with me. Meg taught Izzy well and Izzy seemed to love her new job at her new home.
Isabella easily stepped into her new role as the matriarch, welcoming new foster dogs, keeping the younger dogs in line, soothing the shy and scared, cuddling next to the old and fragile....she no longer was timid, instead she was happy, outgoing and confident. She seemed to thrive in her new role as if this was all part of a bigger plan than was shared with me at the time.
Izzy enjoyed hiking in the Rockies, swimming in Lake Estes, digging under yucca plants, and knowing she was home sweet home. She touched many lives, stole many hearts. Her first 5K in Colorado was the K9 Race For The Cure in Denver where she trotted happily alongside others, sporting her pink bandana. A year later, with her cancer in full swing, she completed her second 5K but she rode in a pink wagon...well, she rode some but also being stubborn and strong she insisted on walking most of it. We were the last to finish the race but we did it!
Isabella knew how to enjoy life! She taught me to enjoy the moment....don't look back, don't look to the future....simply enjoy the moment. We spent many afternoons laying in the flower garden with the breeze blowing and the birds singing, as we looked out over the lakes. She was strong, stubborn and had so much love to give it seemed to burst from the seams!
A month or so after adopting Izzy, she began having runny noses, nothing extreme. Kind of not acting like herself but again, nothing extreme. My husband, Paul, and I took her to the vet one day, saying on the way that we'd get her an antibiotic and be fine. I think we knew in our hearts it was more but neither of us wanted to say it. Then we learned that Izzy had a malignant tumor on her upper jaw, inoperable....the vet said "maybe two weeks".
True to Izzy's nature she broke the rules and lived not two weeks but another fabulous five months. She dined on home-cooked meals, received acupuncture to ease the pain and inflammation and enjoyed daily massages. Paul made her a special raised dish so she wouldnt have to bend down to eat, and in that short time she changed so many lives around her. We continued to share early morning walks, afternoons napping in the shade and lazy evenings as we enjoyed the gentle breeze. We treasured each moment with our sweet Isabella....
But I wondered "how would I know"? I learned I would see it in her eyes.....one evening I did.
Izzy passed over the Rainbow Bridge on October 10, 2010 never to be forgotten. Paul, my husband and co-founder of Izzy's Place, passed away following a tragic accident on June 2, 2012. The two are now together again and I trust that Izzy met Paul and is guiding him.
In honor of Izzy and all the other senior dogs that are abandoned, we founded Izzy's Place. Our mission is to save abandoned, unwanted, homeless senior dogs of all breeds and mixes. Each dog lives in a loving foster home where they remain until they are adopted or pass over the Rainbow Bridge.
When you're sick or aging dog slows down, treasure those slower moments and really see, hear, smell and feel all that is around you ..... in the moment.
Founder of Izzy's Place, Where Seniors Are Celebrated