Ozzie's Happy Tail....

My permanent foster baby
Ozzie Hi there. My name's Ozzie. The lady I've taken care of and protected around here for almost two years, just took my picture. No clue why. She grins a lot at me and I try to grin back the best I can, but as you can see, it comes out a bit lopsided. I don't quite have as many teeth as I used to – getting pretty old I guess. I'll be 12 in a couple of months, and if you tack on years equivalent to humans, that'd make me a tad over 80 years old, wouldn't it? Joey, the nickname she's called by, is almost 80 herself. We're best friends, go everywhere together, me and Joey.

We're both pretty stiff and slow getting around on some mornings but our energy perks up a lot right after breakfast. She leaves a little Malt-O-Meal in the bottom of her bowl or a bite or two of egg and sausage on her plate for me to lick clean. Then we're ready to go on our walks around the neighborhood or drive to one of three parks with lots of wonderful scents left behind by those of my kind. Unless it's raining. I don't like the feel of rain pelting down on my hair getting it all wet. I do like snow, though.

Around mid day, she does something I really get excited about. First, she'll let me outside to do my business, then cut up a chunk of chicken breast into several small bite-size pieces, hide them in a lot of different places around the house. She knows I love to hunt using my keen sense of smell. I'm great at it. All of my kind are. Anyway, when she's finished, she'll open the back door and I bound inside all excited. While she goes about her work, I'm sniffing and eating, sniffing and eating. After I think I've found all the little goodies, she'll go around and check. If she finds one I missed, she'll stand still and point at it with her finger. You know, kinda like what those professional hunting dogs do to a flock of birds.

I met Joey shortly after my eleventh birthday. I was an orphan before that. My owner was pretty old and had trouble getting around and tending to my needs. That may have been the reason she no longer wanted me around. No one else did either and I was eventually rescued by people who loved Mini-Schnauzers and worked hard to find homes for us. But who wanted an old snaggle-tooth dog like me? I was sad and lonely. I don't like other dogs, and will attack them regardless of size or breed if not tethered to my leash. I wanted to be in a home with a human who wanted me, who would love me.

Then one day Mary, a participant of the rescue team, put me in her car along with a carrier where she'd put a blanket, leash, harness... stuff like that, and took me on a long drive to Salem. We arrived at a house and she parked next to a huge garage. She then clipped the leash to my harness and as we walked toward the house, a woman came out and greeted Mary but ignored me which was fine because I had other things on my mind like sniffing around. We went into her house and I detected a very faint scent in her carpet of a dog – a very old dog – who must have lived there some time ago. My leash was removed and I was free to roam anywhere I wanted. After examining every room in the house, I found a door leading out onto a deck that had a ramp leading down into the back yard. I trotted down it and picked up a different scent left behind by an old Schnauzer.

All this time Mary and the lady were talking to one another as they kept me in sight while I continued to explore. After I finished marking a few places in the back yard, I went back inside and joined the two ladies who were still talking to one another. I followed them back into the living room sniffing a few places I'd missed. When I looked around Mary and the lady were walking out the door. I rushed over to go out with them but the door closed before I could so I went over to the windows and saw Mary take the dog carrier loaded with my stuff from the back of her car and gave it to Joey who took it and disappeared into garage. I heard a thump that sounded like she'd set the carrier down onto something, then she came back inside. She stood next to me in front of the tall window that was only a few inches above the floor making it easy for me to look outside. Mary and the lady waved at each other as Mary opened her car door and got in. What was she doing? I wondered. Then I heard the car engine start up, saw it back out into the street and drive away! Hey! Wait! Where was she going? Why was she leaving me here?

Joey showed no concern about the fact that I had been left behind so I eyed her as she casually walked over to her recliner, sat down and turned on her television with a remote as if I wasn't standing right there in plane sight staring at her. Bewildered, I went to the tall window and decided to wait for Mary to realized she had forgotten to put me back into her car.

I don't know for sure how long I sat there wondering why I wasn't upset about being abandoned again. But this time, I didn't feel abandoned for some reason. Can't explain cause I don't quite understand it myself. I felt at peace, kinda happy-like. I'd never felt this way before. I turned away from the window and casually wandered over, sat in the middle of the room and studied the lady's body language awhile. At one point, I felt an urge to scratch my right ear. When done scratching, I looked back at Joey. I caught her observing me, then she quickly averted her eyes back toward her TV. I watched the corners of her mouth twitch and widen a tiny bit. That's when I had a funny feeling she was just messing with me, pretending to be so darn interested in that stupid TV. But then, she turned her head and looked directly into my eyes and gave me a big smile. At that moment something wonderful passed between us and we both knew a miracle had just happened. This was where I belonged. This was the human I was meant to be with. I had finally found someone who really loved me. She patted her lap and without a nanosecond of hesitation I jumped up and gave her a quick smooch and curled up in her lap. I was home now.