Honour a Dog: Forest

Forest the Old Soul
May He Rest in Peace
Birth date unknown
Died on September 11, 2011

On Saturday, September 10, Forest started his day with the morning ritual of a walk with his buddies Sporty the retriever and Greg.  He came back to the cottage with its soft green grass and went to his favorite spot under the tree to nap.

He was not a young dog, his history was unknown, and was homeless when rescued.   No one knew the abuse he had received, but everyone understood that he was deaf, had chronic ear pain, and was afraid of being touched about the head.

His foster mother Nicky understood him and loved him, as did her family, but when they had to travel Forest found himself in another foster care home.  At first, not surprisingly, he was apprehensive, but by the next morning he seemed to sense that he was home.

It was apparent to everyone that Forest understood his new mom Denise and she understood him.  Right from the start Sporty guided him too, her acceptance of him was genuine.  It was as if she said, “come on in, I’ll be your friend.”  From that point on there was complete confidence between the three of them.

With the guidance of Ken the trainer, Greg helped Forest overcome his fear of men, and the two would sit together quietly enjoying each other’s companionship.  This expert dog behaviorist commented that he could see the love and trust that had developed for all in this family.

It was almost uncanny.   We got to know this old soul, this lover, this joyful being.  Forest went from being a distrusting defensive boy in foster care to a glowing family member.  He went for walks, rode in the open convertible, woofed at bicycles and skateboards, and snoozed in the safe enclosed yard.  He had a normal, confident life.  He had found peace.  He found love.  He found companionship.  He found acceptance and understanding from everyone, Greg, Tyler, friends, neighbors.  He had become a beloved family member with a permanent home.   In the last month he was showing so much personality.  At times he was obsessed with getting attention by grabbing a tissue or napkin and became hilariously cheeky, even becoming more vocal and expressive. He would bound around the yard when Denise came home, almost like a puppy.

After his nap on Saturday something changed for Forest.   He started to struggle to stand, had trouble with balance, and by Sunday morning he had taken a turn for the worse and was taken to emergency.  The veterinarian examined him and in a kind and knowing way explained that Forest’s time had come.  Denise held him and stroked him, knowing he couldn’t hear her.  He relaxed in her embrace and let go.

Forest deserved more time, he had found his family, and he was never going to have to go to another home. Denise senses his spirit with her.  His ashes will be put to rest under his favorite tree next spring when the family returns to the cottage.  Someday Sporty will join him.

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