Eric Dunham, experienced first hand the love and dedication of two 'rescued' Border Terriers that came into his life and he composed a Letter to the Editors of The Borderline that we have also been granted permission to publish. Eric wanted people to know how important it is to give older dogs a second chance and the rescue program exemplifies that so well. Shortly after completing this letter, Eric passed away.
To The Editors of The Borderline
It has been suggested that I write a paragraph about my life with "Dixie". In order to do this and to be fair to your readers I have to tell you how it came about that I had a truly fantastic life with "Dixie". First, to briefly explain, at the end of August 1999 we had to have our Westie "Cariad" put to sleep due to cancer. Our daughter, who happens to be the next door neighbor of Judy Gilman of Hume, VA phoned to ask we would take into our home an older Border Terrier who had just lost her owner. The answer was of course "Yes". "Dixie" was rescued on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in November of 1999, and by the following Thursday she was on her way to Canada!
It might be recalled by some of your readers that it was Mr. Ed Levy's Border Terrier that we are talking about. Dixie was in her twelfth year and had cataracts in both eyes. Imagine the disorientation she must have gone through in such a short time period. Dixie came into our house around 10:00 p.m. She was a little timid at first and tired, but she did a quick survey of the rooms, then she came to my chair, took a fancy to my feet and did not leave until I moved... from that moment on wherever I went Dixie came too. She was just a super pal. Over many years and many pets that we and our two children have had, I have to say that Dixie had the most profound effect on me. I witnessed true dog devotion to one person. I would watch TV and Dixie would lay on my chest with her head on my shoulder. When I placed her on the bed she would pull down the sheets and crawl in and cover herself until I got into bed. She would even help me in the garden... she developed a taste for flowers, and she could smell her way to the ones she liked. Due to the fact that the cataracts were fairly advanced Dixie managed to navigate by smell and shadows. If I had to go out on an errand she would wait by the door until I returned home. Then last fall, 2003, it became apparent to us that the time had come to say goodbye to a wonderful pal. I have to admit that I will always treasure the words of the technician who said, as Dixie licked my chin while the veterinarian pressed the syringe... She is saying Goodbye and Thank you.
We like to think that during the four years she was with us, that she enjoyed her life with us as much as we did having her in ours. Dixie has left an indelible mark of true doggy love on our lives.
We received a lot of condolences, but one poem seems very appropriate:
The Animal Place
When God made the Animal,
He had us in mind...
They needed some people
With hearts warm and kind.
And we needed something
To fill up the space that
He left in our hearts,
Called the "Animal Place"
So hug them and love them,
They're only on loan
When their time here is over
He will welcome them home.
The saga continues... In January 2004 we received another call from our daughter inquiring whether we would like to help out another little Border Terrier who, similar to Dixie, had lost his owner. Courtesy of Camilla Moon of Hume, VA and Lyn Bolt, Foxbolt Border Terriers, Houston, TX , the stage was set and "Adam" was transported from Oklahoma to Canada. A copy of the note Adam sent to Lyn reiterates how fabulous the Border Terrier Rescues can be:
I feel that it is time for me to let you know that I am being a very good boy, you could of course allude to me as a senior, an old man as well, but I have to tell you that I am as frisky as a six month old puppy. I have taken on a new lease on life up here in Canada: my new adopted owners are just what I needed. I have suddenly remembered my early training days, when my name is spoken, I listen, when asked to come, I dash to who ever called me, and I sit when told to. I have to also tell you that I watched that dog show from Madison Square Gardens last week. I did get a little excited at times, I watched from the bed and there was not enough room for me to run around, so a couple of times I almost fell off the bed. I get to go for a car ride every morning to fetch the paper, they really do treat me so well and they have some great friends. We went to visit some friends in an apartment the other day and the gentleman introduced me to so many people that I felt I was a real celebrity. Now another friend of my new family wants to take me into a seniors home to let me show off how friendly and caring I can be and to help brighten their day. I want to thank you again for getting the ball rolling to land me up here in Canada. THANK YOU.
That's all for now. Have a Great Day Tomorrow!
With sincere best wishes to all the readers of The Borderline.
Eric and Gwynneth Dunham
Courtice, Ontario, Canada
Eric Dunham passed away on July 21, 2004 at the age of 85 and "Adam" became the soul mate for Gwynneth Dunham. Eric's very close nephew, Ben Pigot, a 12 year old boy with Autism wanted to do something for the Border Terriers because they brought so much love into Eric and Gwynneth's lives. Ben's Mother, Tina, went with Ben and together they raised $250.00 from relatives in Lincolnshire, England to send as a donation to the Border Terrier Club of America for the Border Terrier Genetics and Health Division in remembrance of Eric Dunham.
Sadly, Adam passed away in 2005 following dental surgery, The following poem reflects Gwynneth's heartache at the loss of another beloved companion.
Only A Dog....
"It was only a dog" I hear someone say.
They don't understand why I feel this way.
Only a dog, yes,but more faithful to the end.
Always there when I felt sad.
Always there when things were bad.
Brought me joy, and comfort too.
Honest, reliable, forever true.
I may have another, yes I know.
But I'll never forget the one I love so.
My beautiful Adam, my precious pet.
Only a dog, but the best that could be.
With heavy heart I walk each lane.
Wishing we were together again.
Life goes on, yes it is true.
But it is not the same Adam, without you.
Only a dog, yes I know.
But he was mine and I loved him so
Sleep well dear Adam!
Gwynneth joined her beloved Eric, Adam, Dixie and undoubtedly several other wonderful companions at the Bridge on August 15, 2008. While she will be sorely missed by all who knew her and fondly rememberd by all who met her, there is peace in knowing they are together again.
The Bridge gardens will bloom all the better for their magic touch.