Having always grown up in a house with a dog, my life was feeling quite empty without one in our home. My fiancé, Chris, on the other hand, never had a “real” dog. His dogs had been medium sized and generally spent most of their lives outside. After going back-and-forth, we decided that we really wanted a Dogue de Bordeaux. We searched for awhile, but then my sister sent me information about two 6-year-old Bordeaux sisters that had just come into the breed rescue program. She’d like to help, but couldn’t take both. I spoke with Chris, and we decided that we would foster one of the girls. It would be a good opportunity to find out if Chris was really a dog person, and if this would be a breed that would be compatible with us.
So, Labor Day weekend we drove up to the Philadelphia area to pick up our girl. Her name was Jade and she was incredibly sweet. She had spent her entire life living outside and being bred. She had never known love as a dog should know it. She had no idea what her name was, didn’t know treats or toys, was skeptical of food, and wasn’t housebroken. It was going to be a long road for us we could see. We took her home with us giving her lots of affection. She was unsure and would often cower in a corner when people came to see her. She never tried to harm, but her tail was constantly between her legs. She quickly put on weight, and her energy level started to build. We re-named her Macy and she became our baby. The whole idea of only fostering her was quickly thrown out the window as we could not see ourselves giving her up for anything.

Chris, who had been the one with trepidations, now had Daddy’s little girl. She had him wrapped around her little—well, her little paw. She became our sidekick. We took her everywhere with us. Our weekends had quickly become excursions where we could include Macy. The amount that Macy’s spirit grew in the time that she was with us was amazing. She learned what toys and bones were, and decided that being inside the house was actually pretty nice. She began to trust strangers more and more, and the tail was now rarely between her legs. We even got her to finally play with other dogs! Chris and I were feeling such pride.
However, 5 months into our time with her, Macy’s health started to deteriorate. The vet thought she had a pinched nerve and we tried several treatments for that, to no avail. When they didn’t work we did a round of x-rays only to find that she had degenerative arthritis in every single joint in her body. It was so bad in her back that her spine had begun to fuse together. These were issues that had obviously been compounded by a life of poor nutrition and neglect outdoors. At this point she had developed a cough that the vet believed was due to her not being able to take big breaths because of the pain it was causing in her sternum, from the arthritis. He had been in business for 35+ years and had never seen a case as badly as our Macy. It broke our hearts, of course, so we tried as much as we could for several weeks. It just wasn’t helping. Because of the steroids, she wasn’t sleeping at all, and she had begun to drag her back legs so frequently that there were sores developing.

In the end, Macy could no longer even squat to go to the bathroom—she had lost all of her dignity.
After much emotion and prayer we decided that the only fair thing to do for her was to put her to sleep. I went into the room with her and held her the entire time. I decided that she should go with her collar and leash still on her, because she had learned that putting them on meant a day of excitement, and I wanted her to have that feeling forever. I kept her in my arms when the vet put her to sleep, and I’d never seen her look so peaceful. She even went “to sleep” as she always did when sleeping at home—curled up with her tongue hanging out of her mouth. I lay on the floor with her after the procedure and I felt such a calming. I knew that she was without pain, and I knew that she was happy.

I felt that Macy knew that she had finally had the chance to become a real dog. After all those years she had learned what being a dog was all about. She loved her pig’s ears, and her rope toy, and she finally knew to frolic with other dogs and with Chris and me. I know that God had a plan for Macy, and her time to go was not until she had learned those things. Now that she had, it was her time. I was so grateful for the fact that for the last 6 months she was able to know what true love by a family was. And I’m so thankful that she was able to make us a family. The joy that she brought us in that brief period was such a blessing.
Four months passed after Macy’s passing when Chris and I found a litter of Bordeauxs that came into the rescue program. We decided it was the best of all worlds and we would help by fostering. Once again, the fostering went quickly to adoption! We now have Layla, and I am so certain that Macy is watching down on us and had a hand in placing us with her. She has so much of Macy’s personality and beauty in her that I’m sure we’ll be just as blessed having her as we did with Macy.

Eliza from WA