I made the decision in the spring of 2009 that I was moving to South Carolina along with my 14 year-old daughter. My husband had transferred there the previous fall and it was difficult at best to have our marriage long distance. Not to mention it was hell on both of us, him driving the 11 hour one-way trip to and from Ohio and me flying on the opposite months to see him. It was fun like we were dating again but it was hard trying to manage a life in that way.
It was a difficult decision taking my daughter out of her comfort zone, a place she had known for all her 14 years with her family and friends. My two older daughters who were adults had agreed to take over our home we owned and rent it. It all seemed to be falling into place.
I packed up the Mustang with the last of our belongings. We had sold most of it in a garage sale to save on moving expenses. My youngest daughter, Miss M, slept most of the trip alongside my Chihuahua. It was a long drive and she ended up getting car sick.
I had resigned from my job in Ohio and decided to take the summer off in South Carolina to get my daughter acclimated to her new surroundings. She was an introvert and making friends for her was not easy. It was during that time that I saw her have a panic attack for the first time. It scared the hell out of me. I had no way to help her and I had no idea what to do. She was miserable and depressed. Skype became her daily connection of her old life and to cry to her sisters how unhappy she was. I felt horrible and questioned my decision many times.
I took her to counseling but this didn’t seem to help. I opted to home school her which was a very bad decision for her freshman year. I tried going around the neighborhood and schools to help her meet new people. She was becoming more of a house hermit by the day and her panic attacks were becoming more severe and frequent.
I have rescued animals even as a young child. I had been going to the local shelter close to home and helping walk the dogs to pass the time. It was a great stress reliever. I decided to ask my daughter if she wanted to come along one day and was surprised she agreed to come along. At first she did hesitate, not knowing what to do when we arrived and wanting to take every one of the dogs home with her. Eventually, in time, she became a regular volunteer and found her voice. As families came in she was the greeter who showed them dogs to best fit their family. I was shocked as I sat back and watch my flower, a.k.a. my daughter, blossom.
We volunteered to start fostering dogs in our home. They gave us a small white pit/boxer mix which Miss M named Isabella aka Izzy. She was with us only a few weeks when the shelter doc told us that she had a condition that didn’t allow her to swallow. My daughter set her alarm and every few hours she made sure Izzy was syringe fed. Even when my husband and I took a trip up North for a weekend, my friend stayed with Miss M and said she was so responsible in taking care of Izzy for her young age.
Izzy ended up having to be put to sleep a short time later because she was not able to process food and the nutrients and she was dying a slow death. Nothing my daughter could have done would have saved her and she was devastated.
A friend introduced us to a boxer rescue from North Carolina. She talked us into taking a little white boxer who was dumped at a shelter. She was only four pounds and she was deaf. She had no other medical conditions.
A lady at the shelter had contacted the rescue group and the rescue group passed the information on to my friend who talked us into taking little Clover.
As fosters, we tried to find her a home but the minute we mentioned she was deaf people shied away. My daughter decided Clover belonged with us. I told her it was a lot of responsibility of which she agreed to take on.
That was five years ago. Clover has watched my daughter go through high school, her job at a pet store, college, met her many friends and loves going to the beach. She has been by her side during her panic attacks which have since been controlled by medicine and my daughter learning how to control the stress in her life. Clover has been more than just a dog to her, this is her best friend. She has helped my daughter foster litters of tiny kittens and been understanding when we would bring in foster dogs to find them a home. Clover waits crying by the door around the time Miss M arrives home. Even though she can not hear, her other senses are incredible and she can sense Miss M’s emotions.
We set up a Facebook page, Clover the Deaf Rescue Boxer, to help educate others about deaf animals. I was amazed how connected we became to the entire world, literally. When my daughter chose to attend vet school, a poster drawing of Clover in a lab coat with Miss M, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine arrived to us from overseas. Clover is known throughout our town and we are asked where she is when we go places without her. Clover is not picky, she wants love, to play, truck rides in Miss M’s Ford, and her free pup cups from Sonic.
I was not certain about keeping Clover. I wouldn’t change a thing now. I think about the day when Miss M decides to move away and I know Clover will go with her. That day will break my heart as I have grown so attached to Clover. Her nub wags as we come home are part of our lives.
Clover has saved Miss M in more ways than anyone would ever know. She enjoys being in South Carolina where animals are a priority and she can attend vet school. We started a group in our area called “Animeals” which works with Meals on Wheels to provide food to those who have pets and are home bound.
All because of the love of animals and Clover!
Always remember adopting a pet is forever, not just a brief period of time. Miss M and I have been through a lot in the past few years and Clover is right there by our side, always.