We lost our 12 year-old Chocolate Lab more than two years ago, but the ache in our hearts made the idea of another dog too painful for most of that time. Our younger dog, a Black Lab named Pancho, was hugely helpful to my recovery when he stayed with us late last year (when our daughter was traveling), and he reminded us how much we valued the companionship (and playtime) of a dog. My friend’s rescue Golden Retriever story opened our eyes to a similar organization for Labrador Retrievers. We filled out the application, had our home inspection, and waited for the right dog.

And here he is. This is Kumba, a name of African origins meaning “black fruit tree” according to the Internet gurus. He is a four year-old Black lab from Puerto Rico who we are adopting from the Labrador Rescue of Florida. He is one of the 700 dogs that will find forever homes this year through this amazing organization of dedicated volunteers.

Kumba is the 98th dog to be fostered by Kim in Pompano Beach. She has already told us that she will cry when we come to take him home with us. Except Kumba, who seems collected, trusting, and loving.

His previous owner in Puerto Rico must have given him a good home before surrendering him to a shelter a couple of months back when he was leaving the island rather than going through the paperwork process that would have allowed him to take Kumba with him. Somewhere along the way, though, Kumba developed an infection that had him terribly anemic when he arrived in South Florida in December. It took antibiotics and two transfusions to get him back on his feet, and he is now recovering from neutering surgery.

We met each other this past Saturday when our daughter and Pancho were with us. Everyone got along. The dogs sniffed and relaxed. We hoped Kumba would be thrilled to hear Puerto Rican Spanish; he was cordial but not overly impressed. We’ll have to work on our accents while he continues to heal. When his foster Mom Kim calls, we’ll say “VAMOS!”

Kim says Kumba likes to be where his people are. We look forward to his companionship when we’re sitting writing or reading or watching the telly, and to enjoying the fresh South Florida air in walks around our lake and, when he’s ready, at Dog Beach.

We will give Kumba a good home, and food and toys and walks and love and food. He still needs to put on a few pounds. In fact, he’s a little like I was a few months ago: on my feet, but a little wobbly and a little bony. I know how important it was to grow back into myself. We’re ready to help Kumba become his full self.

5 thoughts on “Opening Our Hearts to Another Dog

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