What we knew about Nova (Cila, as called by her foster mom -- and it was a random name, nothing sentimental, so she didn't mind if we changed it), was that she was living on the streets in South Carolina and captured by a dog catcher. Before she could be euthanized, she was rescued by pet foster care in New England and sent on a train to live up there till she could be adopted.
The foster mom explained that she was estimated to be a year old and had already had a litter of puppies while living in SC (she did not know their whereabouts). So since we didn't know her exact birth date, we deemed November 13th as her birthday and we have a small celebration every year (mostly just a few extra treats and something extra nice for her dinner).
Nova has been a great dog and a wonderful addition to our family over the years. Even when she was still young she was never rough with the kids. She didn't much like having her front paws touched, but over time, she came to trust us and she doesn't mind anymore. She's always excited to greet visitors and if she can convince them to pet her, she stays right by them. But once everyone settles in for mealtime or chatting on the couch, she usually just goes and lays down somewhere (especially now that she's ten ... a little less so when she was just one or two).
I remember when J moved in at 2-1/2 months old the following January, Nova made it her personal responsibility to look after her. Where J napped, Nova napped alongside her. If J was in her swing, Nova was usually lying under it as it rocked. If J was crying in another room, Nova would come alert me that something was up. She was not trained for any of this ... she just did it naturally. It endeared us to her even more. We notice she does the same thing with E nowadays, so maybe she just has a really good maternal instinct for baby girls.
Nova has some quirks about where she perches or lays sometimes or how she always has to make a nest before bed at night, but all through the day, she'll nap on the tile or the carpet without much thought. She also is not a fan of inclement weather! It's quite entertaining how she prances through the snow or just sticks her back end out the door to relieve herself when it's raining. She used to run away a lot more to go exploring whenever she saw an opportunity and now, we've gotten more careless about leaving the door open and she's less apt to escape when we do. Maybe it's her age or maybe she's not as curious as she once was, but she sticks close to home.
We do talk some about what we'll do when Nova's finally done serving our family here on earth and though we don't even want to think about that time just yet because it'll devastate us all, C and I have said again and again, there is no dog who will be able to replace Nova and so it's unlikely we'll attempt it. Never say never, of course, but she has truly been at the heart of each one of us for these past nine years we have known and loved her.
Now, I thought I'd share with you some of our favorite pictures of Nova from over the years...
|Nova today, age 10|
|This was her online profile picture that made us pick up the phone to learn more about her. She was still Cila here.|
|This was Nova's adoption day. From her first day with us, she put up with all the roughness two-year-old Z could give her and still stayed sweet.|
|She loves napping in the sunshine, but who doesn't?!|
|When we look at these early pictures now of her on our back deck in New England, she looks so young to us.|
|"You want me to do what? My feet are freezing!"|
|"Can somebody please finish clearing the snow from my path?"|
|In her younger years, one of her favorite places to hang out was on the back of our couch looking out the front window. She was much like a cat when she did this.|
|Aren't her eyes just so warm and friendly?|
|Nova has always been a toy-sized dog in a medium-dog body. She fully believes she can fit comfortably on any sized lap.|
|"How else should I keep watch over those noisy songbirds?!"|
|Not much for toys now, she has loved her fair share of playthings over the years.|
|Why not use her as a pillow? She doesn't mind.|
|Every Christmas, Nova even gets her own bone-shaped stocking hung with the rest of ours.|
|Of course, the kids like to dress her up from time to time. She doesn't seem to mind it.|
|New home in New Mexico ... here she's chilling on the newly poured concrete patio out back.|
|But when we put in the sod, my, oh my, was she thrilled with the new place to roll and play!|
|She makes a great TV watching buddy, too.|
|This was the most fun she had in the snow, I think. It's really dry snow here, so she doesn't mind it as much as the stuff that fell in the Northeast.|
|Very hot outside, nice and air conditioned inside. She enjoys laying with part of herself in each to get the best of both environments. Kind of like how I always stick my feet out from under the covers to sleep.|
|A little older and slower now, but still super sweet and well-loved.|
|Her fanciest dress ... S bought it for her to wear on Christmas Eve in 2010. Pretty girl.|
Happy Birthday, Nova. We love you, Girl.