walter suzy and joyce
Walter suzy and joyce
Joyce with suzy sunshine and walter (her new best friend)

When we were advised that a senior couple in Northwest Calgary were hoping to adopt a dog, we were happy to stay on the lookout for a very specific dog; an older Black Labrador, no larger than knee-height, calm, good on walks and very affectionate. I was doubtful that such a dog would come available within a reasonable time, if ever, but we took their request and promised to keep them in mind.

I have come to believe that when you put a request out into the universe, it finds it’s way back to you in amazing ways. Only about a month or so later, an SOS call came through to us from a woman frantic to find a home that afternoon for a Black Lab. The staff at Northwest Veterinary Clinic suggested that she call us.

We normally do not take on emergency rehoming cases, but we made an exception in this case. When the owner brought her dog to me, I instantly thought of the senior couple and their request. An hour or so later, it was clear that this was the exact dog Joyce and Ken had hoped for.

Joyce and Ken were notified that we had a match for them, and the very next day they took the dog, which they renamed “Suzy Sunshine”, into their hearts and home.

I kept in touch with them over then next several months, and was delighted to hear about all the joy she was giving them every single day. She was spoiled rotten, and this 80-something couple had so much fun treating her like canine royalty.

Walter suzy
Walter and suzy. Notice how big her smile is. She is a little black bundle of pure joy.

Back to the universe again, they say that many things happen for a reason. Whether you believe in God, or not, some higher power must have had a hand in placing this dog with this couple.

After she had been with them for several months, Joyce began to have difficulties with her memory. One day in winter, Joyce took Suzy out for a walk in the neighborhood. On the way home, Joyce took a fall and could not get up. Suzy reacted by sitting down at Joyce’s side, helping her to stay calm until help arrived.

As Joyce’s memory issues were diagnosed as Dementia, Suzy was her anchor, there to calm and refocus her whenever things got to be too much for Joyce.

Black lab adoption storyA few months later, tragically, Ken was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Suzy Sunshine became Ken’s constant companion. When he was bed-ridden, she stayed by his side in his bed, comforting him until the day he drew his final breath. She was simply amazing.

Sadly, after Ken passed away, Joyce had to go into a Memory Care facility.  Suzy went to live with Joyce’s daughter, Kelly and her husband Rick. Suzy still visits Joyce, and is having a wonderful time with her new furry friend Walter.

When we reflect on what a difference Suzy Sunshine made in the lives of Joyce and Ken, and how she arrived out of nowhere to be their respite in the face of terrible illness, we are amazed and awe-struck. Suzy Sunshine is the closest thing to an Angel any of us have ever seen- a miracle in the form of a cute little Black Labrador Retriever.