From Shelter to Chalet? A story of hope amidst transition

Transitions in life can bring many changes to your happily ever afters.

One day you turn around and realize that the storybook ending you thought existed was a mirage, and the story isn’t over yet.

This particular story involves one of the sweetest creatures I’ve ever encountered. Just seeing his picture online made my heart hurt. I was in no position to take him on, but on the other hand, I was in no position NOT to.

So…I did what my heart led me to do, I made the phone call.

The phone call was to the local animal shelter. You see, Chip (or Fido at the time) was on the list of animals at the local shelter who was to be euthanized at noon the next day if no one could adopt him. For some reason this particular day, and this particular dog, I couldn’t let it go. I waited. I actually waited until the next day into the late morning and then I just couldn’t take it anymore. I called.

Now because I’m one of the emotional sorts when my heart gets involved, I did the only thing I could do…I took a deep breath and held it together just long enough for the ringing to stop and when the poor, unsuspecting lady on the other end of the phone answered my composure was gone. And much to her surprise she was now on the phone with an emotional, babbling through tears, crazy lady.

After a bit she was finally able to translate all the rubbish into the fact that I was frantically trying to find out if this particular animal was still there and what the process was to save him. What an amazing lady! She should’ve gotten an award for dealing with me that day!

The great news was that he was still there. The bad news was that I wasn’t able to get there until later that afternoon.

After telling my daughter what we were doing, we stopped and got any extra supplies we might need before going to the shelter. We had no idea what we were getting into, but we wanted to be prepared. We had just lost our family’s dog the previous summer to old age, so we didn’t have many supplies we needed.

Upon entering the shelter facility we waited patiently until it was our turn. Mind you I’ve kept my composure the entire rest of the day. But then it was our turn…and you guessed it…melted again. Luckily the lady remembered me from the phone…I suppose there was something memorable about me 🙂

They went and retrieved the dog we had come for and then we took care of the paperwork, etc. involved in his adoption. And yes, I had regained my composure after only a few minutes…

During this process this dog laid directly at my daughter’s feet, not wavering once. I was astonished at how well behaved he was!

He loaded up and rode like a pro all the way to our house, which was in the country so it was a decent drive. He seemed to love every minute of the ride.

Once home he received his official title of Chip. You could see the look of happiness on him. He had a big yard and lots of room to run. Life was good…finally.

Fast forward a few years, lots of hours of playtime, and a major life transition. The promise I made to the shelter was lingering over me. We were having to move, and there was no way he could move with us. He needed lots of space to run and our new place had a tiny yard. It would be irresponsible to put him in that type of space.

What options did we have? What would we do now? We would have to give him away. This was not how we wanted things to turn out. We made a promise that we would take care of him and give him, as they called it, a fur-ever home. We were failing him now.

Our move was supposed to be temporary so maybe he could stay with someone during the short term, until we were able to get a bigger yard.

And then it hit me! My dad! He loved Chip, and he had plenty of room out in the country for Chip to run and have the space he needed. Maybe he would temporarily dog sit? He had recently lost his longtime friend, and canine companion, not long before this, so having another dog around might be good for both of them.

I called him up, and he was glad to help. I think the thought of having another companion around was especially enticing for him. He was happy to have Chip and enjoy his company for a short while as we got situated with our moving. He was very clear that Chip was my daughter’s dog and that he would make sure she got plenty of opportunities to see him. It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that he was “camping” at my dad’s for a while.

But then it happened, the transition started to occur. Those two bonded like peanut butter and jelly! Our lives continued on in our busy and bustling fashion while my dad and Chip hung out on the back porch in the evenings and rode around town running errands. They became inseparable, best buds.

My dad started to worry about when he would have to let him go and give him back to us. The thing was, we watched how much they needed each other, and how much they enjoyed each other. There really wasn’t a question of where Chip needed to be. We had busy lives and he had found his mate. He had found someone who let him sleep inside, who made sure he had clean sheets on his bedding, who loved to cook for him, who drove him all around town (in the front seat, of course), and who loved spending time with him.

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” – M.K. Clinton

So, in the end, he went from living in the shelter to living in his own chalet. Nothing fancy, but he has his best bud by his side. And he seems to be quite content with his setup these days. It’s a great reminder that there’s always hope, even when it’s hard for us to imagine how or where it exists…especially in the midst of transition.

You got this!

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P.S. When you get caught in a situation that is just out of your control, just remember that many times things work out just the way they’re supposed to. Even though we try to be in control of situations to make them turn out for the best, sometimes what we can envision as our best isn’t the best at all. Sometimes it’s the things we can’t control that end up making the biggest impact.


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