The Queen Named Princess: Her Rocky Road to Royalty

Legend has it, blues harpist in the smoky bars in the south side of Chicago circa 1930’s, would soak their harmonicas in bourbon. The idea was, it didn’t sound bluesy enough, and the bourbon gave the attitude by proxy of the player. Experts nowadays argue that the practice expanded the reeds and comb allowing an inconsistent tone when played.

Me, I’m old school. My Hohner harmonica is taking a dip in a glass of bourbon while I write this. What I’m about to tell you has all the makings of a solitary acoustic guitar accompanied by a raspy harmonica (both tuned to E#), and the steady 4/4 beat of a shoe tapping on a wooden floor.

Unlike most blues tunes of that era, this one has a happy ending.

Princess came to the NH Humane Society after her owner unfortunately passed away.  Family members had no choice but to arrange a lengthy stay in a local boarding facility since they had serious health problems themselves.   Princess had endured months of temporary living with seemingly no change to her situation. Understandably, she was finally given up for adoption with the solemn promise that NHHS would indeed find her a good home.   This shelter has a terrific track record at placing older dogs – did I mention, Princess is 11 years old?

The staff and volunteers at the NH Humane Society welcomed her with love and attention like every resident that arrives, whether they are dog, cat, or an occasional rabbit. The folks there act like each animals personal cheerleading team showering them with praise, affection, and one on one time.

Princess being the Ole Bitty that she is, eyesight failing, creaky bones, and desire to relax at her age, had a difficult time adjusting to yet another change in lifestyle. While her roommates barked and played, she just wanted to relax and enjoy her golden years. If she had one, she would have rapped her cane against the wall and hollered, “keep it down!”

When potential adopters walked by, while they thought she was sweet, invariably the choice was always to adopt a younger dog.  She lay low on her pillow and blanket, her old eyes just seeing shadowy figures.  It seemed as if she found solace, drifting off into sleep, which she did much of.  Daily walks and time outside on the grass, in the sun perked her up, everyone loved her, but it still wasn’t home.

The staff at NHHS, grew very attached to Princess, yet the picture above became her new norm. Given the high standard of care at the shelter, staff noticed she just didn’t seem well.  Sadly, after some veterinary tests were run, it was discovered she had some inoperable tumors throughout her body. Everyone was heartbroken.  A decision had to be made and it was one, no one wanted to make. Marylee told me of Princess’s medical issues, it was dim to say the least. She said if only we had someone to adopt her as a hospice type situation, give Princess a little time in a home, comfortable and away from the shelter.    She said “none of us know how long she has, a few weeks, or a few months, but I just don’t want her to live out her days with us.”  

Sometimes the universe speaks, planets align, and conversations between friends fall on someone else’s ears….

Feeling down, I mentioned Princess to my co-worker Wendy, who is an animal lover and has a rescue named Gibson (like the guitar).  She immediately texted her other half Bruce. Without hesitation Wendy told me that they would take her.

I said “really?”

She said “yes”.

I was elated.

Texts were fired off to make arraignments for a meet and greet with Princess and Gibson, on a Monday when the shelter is normally closed. Wendy texted me a picture of their ride home.

I was shocked to see Princess actually smiling and Gibson giving her the shotgun seat. Princess’s attitude became more upbeat, I think in her head she was singing Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel, you younger ones…look it up).

Princess has fit in wonderfully to the family. Gibson has become her protector, eyes, and tour guide as he she roams the huge yard they share. Wendy beams when asked how she is doing…The world needs more Wendy’s, Bruce’s, and Gibbons (tuned to #E).

Princess has picked her spot on the porch, listening to her own 4/4 beat, watching the squirrels scurry and leaves fall, passing the time, with an ever present smile.

Never to afraid to adopt an older pet.