Three months ago, my husband and I adopted our dog, Henry, a foxhound-pointer mix. Just after his adoption, we learned that Henry had a sister named Leia. Upon being removed from their former home, they were separated, and due to limited space at the rescue facility, Leia was sent to a boarding kennel because there was no Room in the Inn, or the shelter in this case.
We continued to follow her story, hoping she would quickly be adopted. The rescue organization was reluctant to allow the siblings to stay together, worried that there might be behavior issues between the two dogs. Leia was constantly in trauma. She was moved from the boarding kennel to a foster home where she became ill and soon had to be transferred to the rescue facility where we first met Henry.
As the months went by, I continued to feel a connection to Leia even though I had never met her. Last week, I was out doing some Christmas shopping on my lunch break, and as I left the mall, I turned in the opposite direction I usually drive because the traffic was terrible. I thought I’d take a different street that would reconnect me to my work office. As I turned on the street, the traffic became backed up even more and I found myself sitting at a stoplight at a small cross street. While stopped, I realized I was looking at the side street that leads to the rescue facility.
Leia came to my mind and I decided to turn down the side street and stroll quickly through the facility. She was there, sitting alone and sad in the shelter, full of busy people and barking dogs. Leia had been in shelter life for four months, and due to the stress of that environment, the abusive environment from which she was removed, and the separation from her brother, she had developed a fear disorder. The shelter employees told me she would have a hard time getting adopted because she wouldn’t interact with anyone. No one, in all of that time, had shown any interest in her.
My heart was broken seeing Leia alone and distressed. I thought about the amazing new, love-filled life her brother enjoys each day. My husband and I discussed the possibility of adopting her. With four cats and a dog in our home, our busy schedules, and the financial commitment, we couldn’t find one logical reason to bring her home. In the end, we made our decision based on intuitive judgment—a gut decision that felt right regardless of any analysis brought to it that countered its validity.
Leia has been with us for three days on a trial term, and if all continues to go well, we will adopt her next week. Henry and Leia are exhilarated to be together again. Henry is teaching Leia to trust people, and she becomes more confident each day. I believe that, with a little time, she will outgrow her fearful reactions and become the strong woman she was meant to be. We didn’t have any Room in the Inn either, but we opened our doors anyway. The birth of Hope now dwells in our little home, and for that, Christmas has already come.