The “human animal bond.” We’ve all heard of it. But what does it really mean? Sure, I’ve bonded with all of my pets – I love each and every one with all of my heart. But with Astrid, a.k.a. “The Gremlin,” I’ve experienced the human animal bond on a whole new level.

I first “met” Astrid on facebook. The night before I had made the excruciating decision to put down Finn. Finn had been a tough little bugger  I was emotionally, financially, and physically drained. And then, a fellow Philly animal welfare friend posted, “Astrid really could be his twin” on my timeline. Of course I had to see just who this “Astrid” was. Astrid (or “the Gremlin,” as her foster mom called her), was a little old lady (15!) who had been found wandering around Pennypack Park. In bad shape, she was blind, matted, underweight, and covered in mammary tumors. Her foster mom scooped her up to see whether she had a chance or if she could allow her to die in dignity and in the comfort  of her home.

astrid's surgery stitchesBut after having her tumors removed by University of Pennsylvania Mammary Tumor program and getting spayed, this little old lady made a huge comeback. Although she does have an aggressive form of cancer, it had not yet spread to her lymph nodes. This tough broad was otherwise as healthy as a horse.

I can’t  can’t pinpoint exactly which moment she stole my heart and the bonding began. Maybe it was when I saw how she quickly “mapped” my apartment, when I first heard her incredibly loud snores, or when I realized she sounds like she’s saying “Rat!” when she barks. But our bond went a level deeper when I realized that Astrid was teaching me about resilience.  When she bumps into an object, she rebounds. When she falls down or stumbles, she picks herself right back up and keeps moving. And when I think of what she’s been through…wandering around that huge park all alone, unable to see anything and starving…then having two major surgeries at once…and yet it hasn’t kept her down.

Adopting a senior dog who is dying of cancer is a tough road to travel. I have to constantly remind myself that our time together will be short and to make the most of it. So when I noticed that she was showing signs of being in pain, I took a deep breath and brought her into Penn for a re-check. As I waited for her chest x-ray results to see if her cancer had metastisized, I felt an enormous lump in my throat. Having prepared myself for the worst, you can imagine the tidal wave of emotions I felt when the vet told me her x-ray was clear – it was most likely just bad aches and pain from arthritis!

coffee with dogSo, with pain medication in hand it was time to celebrate with a cup of coffee from our favorite dog friendly Philly coffee shop. My little Gremlin wriggled into her sweater and nestled into my arms as I slowly sipped my Joe. It truly was a #RecipeForMoments.

Regardless of whether Astrid is healthy or not, every moment together strengthens our bond. Because, you see, Astrid and I don’t have just one #RecipeForMoments. Every single day together is a precious moment. And I savor each and every one of them.

This post is sponsored by Nature’s Recipe® on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Nature’s Recipe® For Moments on behalf of Nature’s Recipe®, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Nature’s Recipe® is not responsible for the content of this article.


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Our story is a part of the #RecipeForMoments blog hop hosted by BlogPaws. Link up below or post a comment to share your story of the bond you and your pet share. What do you think your pet feels in your special moments? Five random U.S. winners who link up their blog post will win a Nature’s Recipe® lightweight collar camera to capture special moments from their pet’s point of view. See BlogPaws for official rules and details.