Finley - Willow - Louisville, KY
When I adopted Willow from B.A.R.C. in November of 2006, my world as I had known it had collapsed. Within a six month period, my husband died, my Berner girl, Missy, died and I just buried my father. Although B.A.R.C. had named this nine month old, long legged pony of a puppy “Derek” after Dr. McDreamy of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, Willow was anything but McDreamy. All I could do was look at him, anything else overloaded his senses; he was essentially feral. I decided to change his name to B.A.R.C.’s No More Weeping Willow, or Willow for short. I decided that the name was to hold significance for both of us; this would be the beginning of a journey towards no more pain and no more tears.
I had owned rescues in the past but nothing had prepared me for what I was going to encounter with Willow. It took months for him to cross the threshold to come in to the house from outside. I couldn’t look at him when he ate; he wouldn’t walk on a leash. The only saving grace I had was my Berner girl, Kenzie; she was his lifeline to the real world. She took him by the paw and showed him what it meant to be a Berner. She housebroke him; she was his protector and his guide.
In time Willow slowly learned to trust me. It would be a butterfly kiss here, a nudge of my arm there, a Berner lean another time. He learned that he was safe; I would protect and love him always and forever.
Willow was rescued by B.A.R.C. at an Amish puppy-mill auction. The Amish don’t care about the way they keep their dogs; to them they are nothing more than livestock. They don’t care about orthopedics or heath issues and Willow received the short end of the bargain on both counts.
Beginning immediately after I adopted Willow, he was diagnosed with IBD and has been on special dog food. They say the brain fairy comes at age three, well with Willow he never came but the train fairy did and he left an orthopedic wreck on his back end. Willow has hypothyroidism and epilepsy. His seizures are terrifying to watch, completely helpless other than to hold him so he doesn’t injure himself. He has recently developed an auto-immune disorder that attacks his toes. All twenty of his toe nails came off at one time, he required surgery and months of follow up care. However, not once during that entire ordeal did he as much as whimper. He trusted so completely that what I was doing must have been necessary.
Willow may not have many cogs in his head but he is all heart. He is 100% pure undeniable love. He radiates sweetness and grace. There is so much of me, of my emotions, of my energy poured into him that he is my heart dog. He is my soul mate.
Patti Finley-Louisville, KY