Thunder: noun – a loud rambling or crashing noise heard after a lightning flash due to the expansion of rapidly heated air. Pretty much explains how Thunder, my big yellow dog, wound up in my life; although it was more like “BOOM!”
The lightning flash sadly was our yellow lab Buddy. He was the puppy I said I would never buy – pedigree papers that were useless to me. My son came home from school when he was 12 and asked if he could have a yellow lab puppy. He had lost his dad, grandmother, and a few years later our Collie Serano. He said it feels like everyone is dying; nothing more needed to be said. I brought home the fattest what appeared to be the laziest puppy in the litter… in time I realized we all needed Buddy.
When Buddy crossed the rainbow bridge at age 15 it seemed like the hardest good bye but honestly it felt like that with every pet I have had.
Then, BOOM! Same day we lost Buddy – who died in his sleep, Thunder shows up…a 12-week old stray, yellow puppy with long legs and big feet.
I was living in El Paso, TX at the time renting a studio in a complex that had only 4 units. We shared a huge common area that was right outside my door and my landlord who was also a huge animal lover had 3 rescue dogs I could hang out with.
On that evening my landlord knocked on my door and walked in holding this yellow puppy. At first I honestly thought he had borrowed someone’s dog to cheer me up. He told me he was wandering the street in our neighborhood and after asking a few people if they knew who he belonged to, only to find he had been wandering the street for a few days. He told me he was going to take him to the vet when he got home from work and asked if he could leave him with me for the night.
I reluctantly said okay still finding the whole story hard to believe. He brought over some food and Thunder gobbled it down like he had not eaten in a few days. Next morning I wake up to this little yellow dog staring at me; no barking or whimpering, just staring.
This was in June and I had the ceiling fan on, and on the floor right behind this puppy was a huge poop with the fan circulating the smell. I was not going to wait for my neighbor to come home at 4:00 I was walking into the closest vet’s office when it opened its doors at 8:00 am. My neighbor thought he might have a chip, which at the time I did not realize was not realistic, but I asked anyway. The wand ran up and down the back of his neck and nothing. The vet and everyone in the waiting room were convinced that Buddy, my lightning flash, had sent me a friend; the vet even had tears in her eyes. All I could think was “Oh God, I don’t want a puppy…” In all good conscious I could not leave him there, and I figured plan “B” would be to find him a home. I would get his shots; I could at least do that to give him a good start. A few weeks later after a few visits to the vet and her asking me “what are you going to name your dog?” I was at the pet store getting “not my dog” a collar…honestly he was a good car dog he sat in the front seat, did not jump around just seemed content, and only barked occasionally; kind of a pleasant little dog. While at the store a man approached me about buying him, I thought that was odd. It was not someone who worked there and I never said anything to anyone about finding him a home, at least not at the store. Next thing you know I am picking him up and walking to my car with that old familiar feeling I have had all my life from having other stray or rescue pets: “No one could take care of him the way I can.”
So here we are nine years later with Thunder, my own “A Dog’s Purpose Story.” He is my reminder to slow down, that is it okay to do things on my own terms the same way he does when anyone wants to pet him. He loves long walks, stops to roll in the grass, on the beach, or on a dirt trail without a care in the world, and just gets back up, shakes off, and keeps going. Where did I come up with the name Thunder? From the weather report, Thunder and Lightning…my Buddy and Thunder.