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By B. Lynn Goodwin.

“See the decal? It’s a dog’s paw print that says, ‘Who rescued who?’ Good question, don’t you think?”

Even though I was picking up his prescription, Mikko stayed home, as he usually does now. He had a small stroke about six months ago, and even the walk between my condo and garage is too much for him some days. He’s become an old man, a little crotchety and semi-immobile, and sometimes incontinent. He looks at me with sweet, loving eyes and he tells me he loves me and he wants to still be here. So he is.

Watching and waiting.

Mikko, I know you rescued me. You got me to exercise. You gave me a reason to talk to the dog walkers. You made friends on the patios at Bagel Street Café and Starbuck’s. You protected me when workmen came. You barked when you didn’t trust someone. You were my best bud and my company when we were on the road together.

When I limped, you did too, and when I tripped over your short, furry, Shih Tzu body, you always forgave me.  You understood the risks of being in the kitchen, but it was worth it to you. Any food that fell to the ground was yours. You also knew when to get out. When I faced writer’s block or misplaced my keys, you offered a distraction. “Take me for a walk right now,” you’d say with your eyes. It usually worked.

When Richard picked me up for our first date, you didn’t bark or even yip at him. You sniffed and accepted him. That told me I could trust him. I put my faith in your instincts.

A few months later we decided that Richard would be your Uncle Daddy. As our relationship progressed, we messed with your schedule. You were patient. You adapted. You started accepting us as a couple, and Uncle Daddy accepted you as an important part of my life.

So yes, you rescued me. You opened my heart, just as so many people promised you would. You gave me new material to write about. All I gave you was food, walks, and treats.

And a voice.

I read your thoughts as I looked into your eyes, and I translated them into English. I narrated them for Richard until he spoke for you too.

You know I love you.

You were at least eight when I rescued you. Set in your ways. Stubborn. You growled at me the first few nights when I walked across my own living room. I had to set you straight about whose house you were in. The corner with your bed was yours. Later I said the carpet was yours. You have your own corner of the refrigerator. Your leash has one place where it belongs. My cell, purse, and glasses do not. I wanted to protect you. I didn’t want my mistakes to feel like they were your fault.

Pets rescue us. They depend on us. They love us unconditionally, and their innocent, pure love inspires us.

Mikko, I want you to know that you’re in my heart, even though I’m not around as much on weekends, now that I have Richard in my life. You’ve mellowed since your stoke, and you seem comfortable watching and waiting for us to return. We are a unique family of seniors who simultaneously rescue each other as our lives blend together one day at a time.

Who have you rescued and how did it change your life?

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B. Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, available on Amazon. Her stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; the Oakland Tribune; the Contra Costa Times; the Danville Weekly; Staying Sane When You’re Dieting; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; Career; We Care;, Friction Literary Journal, and The Sun.

A former teacher, she conducts workshops and writes reviews for Story Circle Network and InspireMeToday. She’s working on a YA novel and brainstorming a memoir.

She’s the owner and editor of Writer Advice. Writer Advice recently celebrated its 16th year and runs contests for aspiring and published writers as well as sharing useful tips from experienced writers.

For more information, please visit

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Your story reminds me that we adopted our cat, Cocoa at age 8 also. As she was older like your Mikko, you did probably save her. We had Cocoa until she was 21, earlier this year. She brought so much joy into our lives even in her last years when we had boxes and cat steps all over the house so she could be more independent. They let you know when it’s their time, and she meowed so loudly the last 2 days of her life and stuck so close, that we just knew she was telling us to let her go.

  2. Thanks so much, Ellen.

    Hard to believe this showed up today.

    On Monday, Mikko went to join his cousins Max, Rusty, Tyson Rowdy on the other side. I miss him very much, but know he’s in a better place and he has the energy to be his old, feisty self.

    So sweet to see these pictures here and remember all the love he shared with Richard and me.

  3. Hi B. Lynn,

    I am so very sorry for your loss of Mikko. You gave him a wonderful life and he knew that. It is so difficult to see members of our ‘fur family’ suffer.

    We adopted a little white Maltese/Bichon mix that was going to be put down at 3 weeks old. He was ripped away from his mother and litter mates at three weeks old by the breeder because he was NOT PERFECT, and was taken to Animal Care and Control to be euthanized. Thankfully the vets had other ideas and we were so fortunate to adopt him at 10 weeks old. He is now a bit over 5 years young, and is my sweet little 8 lb. BUDDY. We take long walks along the lakefront early in the morning (even through the winter), he accompanies me to my painting studio, and is the BEST watch dog. He shares our home with an African Grey parrot and a Moluccan Cockatoo, and ALWAYS tell us when one of the other “two siblings” is creating trouble. He has even gone with me to teach my classes and LOVES the attention!

    Our lives are so complete with Mr. Belvedere around and I can’t imagine the void we would experience in his absence. He is the BEST companion with total understanding and acceptance. Our lives are so much more complete with him with us.

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