Now for something apolitical.
Twelve years ago, my mother had been dead for two years and my father was about to retire.
I didn't like the thought of him rambling around an empty house, so I asked a friend of mine who was part of an informal animal rescue group to keep her eyes and ears open for a beagle, the breed that both my father and I were partial to.
At the end of March, she told me about a beagle named Rusty (the Wonder Beagle) who was on his second family, and for various reasons, they were looking for a third. My dad and I did a pre-placement visit to make sure the dog was healthy and good-natured.
It was love at first sight.
Twelve years ago to this date, we went and picked him up and brought him to his forever home.
Two Christmases ago, he got very sick and almost died on us. But he bounced back - for the most part. He developed diabetes and we've been giving him daily insulin injections ever since.
Along with the diabetes and old age, he's become blind and is hard of hearing (or maybe just selective hearing?), but his heart his as gentle as it's ever been and he is not in any pain.
Even though it was very expensive when he got sick, and even though it will break our hearts when he succumbs to the inevitable, we have no regrets.
As I look back over the past twelve years, I can say I don't think I've ever met a more loving or a more gentle soul. His unconditional love carried us through job losses and the death of my grandfather. He's given us joy and his antics have given us laughter that are more valuable than any amount of money.
We have no regrets for taking him in to our lives.
But we do have one question that may never be answered.
Who rescued whom?
If you're ever looking for a companion animal, whether it be a dog, cat, bird or any other critter, I would suggest looking at the local humane society or contacting a rescue group. These animals make great companions and will be well worth the investment.