Your owner surrendered you to a stranger to protect you from the beatings and abuse you endured by her husband.
Your rescuer placed you in a nice boarding facility to allow time for you to find rescue. You were frightened, cowering in the kennel, growling and snapping at the attendants. You befriended a female attendant and began to play catch with her showing some signs of confidence after a week of hiding in the kennel, but still your videos showed a unconfident dog who was afraid.
I wasn’t planning on taking in another dog, but agreed to meet you as a favor to help your rescuer better access your needs.
I spread a blanket on the floor, tossed treats around the room and sat there waiting for you to enter the room. You came in and ignored the treats, barked at your rescuer until she tossed you a piece of chicken and then sat down next to me on the blanket. You were special, a dog with so much love to give, who needed to be seen.
You allowed me to pet you, leaned in to sniff my hand and then hair, I was smitten by your good looks and desire to be close, although still confused about what was happening in your life. I messaged your potential foster the video I had of you at that moment, she said bring you to her.
We left boarding that day. We shopped in the store to pick out a collar and lead that your rescuer paid for as a gift to you. We stopped for 2 Freedom McDonald’s cheeseburgers on our way out of the city. You were cautious at first and then gobbled them down before settling down in the sit to nap.
We spent the rest of the early afternoon at the vet getting your vaccinations brought up to date, microchipped, lab tests and socializing with the vet techs. This is when I named you Cannon. Your old name and bad history gone and a new beginning in your journey. We talk about how I was going to help you find a family who would love and protect you, who would see the light within you as I did and that your foster Mom was going to show you the way.
A fitting name one of the tech mentioned as you had a bark like a Cannon, so deep and powerful. One that made people step back and take notice.
You had one ear that flopped sticking out from the side of your head, the vet concluded it was most likely due to trauma to the ear that caused it to break and heal in that manner. It made you even more unique.
We left the vet and drove to Normal, Illinois where your foster was waiting for you with two new dog friends and 3 acres of land to run free and be a dog.
You and I played in the yard for close to 2 hours while we waited for them to arrive home. You found every abandoned ball, bone and stuffy toy spread out throughout the property. You brought them all back to form a pile.
We walked the entire property, you checked out the chickens in their coop and didn’t pay them any mind.
You then began to run, and handed me a dirty, sloppy wet ball to toss.
You chased down that ball like you were shot out of a cannon and returned back to me as if you were Secretariat heading towards the finish line.
We played and played until my arm gave out and the other dogs arrived home. You had the biggest goofy smile on your face. I fell in love with you on our very first day together. You weren’t broken, you were lonely.
They weren’t so sure about you as let’s face it you were a rude greeter, kept insisting on placing your front paws on their backs. Overcompensating with the sniffing of the butt and licks.
When I left that night you were hanging out in the house and by the time I arrived home two hours later, you had gone in your crate for the night.
The next morning you were neutered and a friend of the rescue picked you up from your foster home. She texted me what a wonderful sweet dog you were and how handsome despite the silly ear.
Each day you blossomed more and more. Your foster Mom would message about your progress, you stopped trying to make friends with the other two dogs and now they were okay with you being there, you practiced being off lead and your recall was on point. And you played fetch and more fetch, now it was your foster mom who suggested we send a Chuck it set with you to your new home.
Inquiries came in off your bio and one caught our attention. A family with 5 acres, no children, work from home once a week, a adult daughter vet tech who would visit during the week to spend time playing with you, a dad who had days off and was looking for an errand partner. You would be the only dog and gets all the love and their undivided attention.
Their application was processed and they drove to meet you, yesterday. I received a message from your foster mom that you spent time practicing walking with them on your harness, playing and getting to know one another. She felt confident that they could take you home and begin your foster to adopt period. She promised if it wasn’t working, you would come back to her and she sent you off with a kiss and prayer.
As I sat reading her message about the visit and that you had left, the phone rang.
You had bolted out the door at the new home.
I alerted lost dogs of Illinois. Your foster Mom left immediately to make the hour drive to the home to begin searching for you. I left from my home to do the same, we knew if you heard our voices you would come running to us, just as you had done without fail in the past. Your foster Mom had decided when she found you were coming back home with her to stay forever.
The phone rang, they said they were rushing you to the ER, all I could make out was you were having trouble breathing. I rerouted and headed towards the ER hospital. When I arrived I learned you had left us. I was inconsolable and still am. I begged the hospital to let me in to see you to hell with covid guidelines, I needed to see you. They obliged. I sat in an exam room waiting for what seemed to be forever, praying it was all a bad nightmare.
When I pulled the blanket back, it was not nightmare to awake from, there you were, my sweet boy Cannon, gone from this world. I asked for your forgiveness, I didn’t fulfill my promise, your tomorrow’s filled with running, fetching and cuddling were not going to come to fruition. I cried over you, stroked your soft fur and prayed with my hand on your still heart.
I removed your collar, but had to leave your harness on you and arranged for your ashes to come back to me.
I will make the drive to your foster home and together with your foster Mom we will spread them across the property, you are eternally free to run.
Cannon you are the reason I rise up each day no matter how battered I feel. Living beings are not broken, only in transformation waiting for the light to be seen within.
Until we meet again, you will remain in my heart.
You were special. Run free you were loved beyond measure.
Thank you to the staff at Premier Vet in Orland Park for your compassion in allowing me to spend time with Cannon.
Thank you to the nurse who found Cannon on the road and stayed with him, comforting him as she knew he was dying. Thank you to the foster to adopt family for bringing him to the hospital for me to claim him.
Thank you to the client in the hospital parking lot who seen my pain though I wore a mask and came to my vehicle as an act of kindness to comfort me.
Thank you to his rescuer, Lori for giving him a chance by taking a chance on placing him in boarding in hopes that a rescue would take him.
Thank you to the kennel attendant at PetSmart in the South Loop for not allowing him to give up hope.
Most importantly thank you to his foster Mom Kim who gave her heart to him and who also seen the light within hidden behind the loud bark and uncertainty. You could have given up that first night for the sake of not stressing Tillie and Finn with Cannon’s obnoxious behavior, but you gave him time to decompress. You worked with him and developed a bond of trust and he became your shadow. Cannon is the reason why we open ourselves to the pain and challenges of being a homeless dogs guardian, the not so perfect dog that deserves to live the good life just as much as the cute puppies who are easy to love and find homes.