Few scenes can make me cry like a baby more than a companion animal reuniting with his or her humans after a lengthy separation.
But somersaults, squiggling butts and other forms of jubilation are not just reserved for a pet’s owner/parent. Some animals have an instant recognition of the people who first rescued them - long after the fact.
In November, 2017, our friends Chaz and Monica adopted Lana, a sweet, mixed-breed dog about whom little was known. Over time, Lana settled in with her new family and was every bit a member of it as her human mom and dad.
Last Spring, Chaz took Lana to the Boneyard Dog Park in Culver City, California, (right off of Leash Lane!) for a wide-open game of fetch. Time and again, Chaz sailed a ball across the lawn and Lana raced to retrieve it.
Chaz wound up for another pitch, released the ball and watched Lana dart past it and straight into the arms of a man at the far end of the park. Lana furiously slathered the man with kisses. Chaz ran over and apologized for Lana’s behavior. Sam, the object of Lana’s ardor, said no apology was necessary.
As Chaz and Sam chatted, Lana’s story unfolded. Sam and his fiancee, Ally, had fostered Lana the year before. Lana was pregnant at the time and gave birth to a litter of eight puppies, one of whom had accompanied Sam to the dog park. On that fateful day, “Bowie” and Lana were reunited and one extended family - furry and human - was born.
Lana and her other pups all found forever homes last year, but Sam and Ally always wondered about Lana. That mystery came to rest when Chaz and Sam chose to take Lana and Bowie to the very same dog park at the same time.
“Lana now has two families,” Chaz said. “When one couple goes away, the other couple takes care of all the dogs.”
Was this family collision happenstance or serendipity? Who knows. The 2010 census reported that there were 5,218 dog-owning households in Culver City alone. If a broader area of West Los Angeles encompassing Chaz’s and Sam’s homes were considered, that number would be exponentially higher. Couple this with the dozens of official and unofficial dog parks in the area and the fact that members of separate households decided to attend the same park on the same day and at the same time . . .
To these two families, the reasons don’t matter.
Gratitude is enough.