Sparkle came to us in 2011, when she was about a year old. She was found running along a highway in Vermont. She had recently been spayed. The people who found her tried in vain to find her original owner — calling all of the veterinarians in the area — but failed. She was put up for adoption by Mary, whose dog-loving hobby evolved into Mary’s Dogs adoption service, and we adopted Sparkle . . . or so we thought. We soon discovered that she had adopted us, because she immediately latched on to me (David) as her Daddy.

Sparkle meeting the family for the first time
Mary (white shirt) of Mary’s Dogs delivering Sparkle in 2011

Sparkle had obviously been well treated and quite well trained before she came to us. She is VERY well behaved — except for pulling too excitedly on her leash sometimes, or occasionally stealing banana bread that was left too temptingly close to the edge of the counter. And she is very friendly to all well-intentioned people. She does NOT like guns or power tools.

Sparkle with her adoptive family, sitting on the porch
Sparkle in 2011, with her Daddy and family

Over time, we discovered that Sparkle loves being outdoors in front of the house — all year — soaking up the sun and meeting people and dogs as they pass. She is on a leader that prevents her from reaching the sidewalk, so anyone who is afraid of dogs can also pass without feeling intimidated. She is great with children.

Sparkle is never left outdoors unattended: even if you don’t see us, there is always someone at home to let her in when she wants to come in. She just goes to the door, gives a little bark to let us know, and we let her back in.

Over the years, Sparkle developed many friends in the neighborhood. People would often stop to pet her on their way to and from work, and some would even go out of their way to see if Sparkle would be out there, so that they could give and receive some much-needed love in their busy days.

Nonetheless, every once in a while someone new to the neighborhood would see Sparkle sitting alone outdoors — perhaps in the heat of summer or the cold of winter — and, not seeing us and not realizing that Sparkle was outside by choice, they would worry that Sparkle was being being neglected. A couple of times people — meaning well — even called Animal Control. But nothing could be farther from the truth: Sparkle is well loved, well treated, and is only outdoors when she wants to be outdoors. Finally, to allay people’s concerns, we put up this sign:

Sign on a post "My name is Sparkle . . . ."
“My name is Sparkle. I LOVE to be outside and meet people, all year! But I also go inside whenever I want. If you have questions, my tag has my adoptive mom or dad’s cell phone number. They speak English better than me.”

That solved the problem. But when the COVID-19 lockdown began in 2020, we realized that Sparkle had so many neighborhood friends who would stop to pet her, that she might become a vector in spreading the COVID-19 virus. So we added this hand sanitizer station:

Hand sanitizer mounted on a post
“Please sanitize before and after petting me. Thanks!”

It’s been very popular, and we sometimes find hand sanitizer refills left, to help us keep up with refilling it.

Sadly, it appears that Sparkle is nearing her last chapter. A few months ago she had what appeared to be a tooth infection. The vet extracted the tooth and put Sparkle on antibiotics to heal. But for some reason, her upper jaw never fully healed. After several more weeks of tests and changes to her antibiotics, lab tests determined that Sparkle has an incurable tumor in her upper jaw. You can see the swelling on the side of her snout:

Sparkle, with swelling on the left side of her snout
The side of Sparkle’s snout is swollen from the irritation of the tumor in her upper jaw.

Fortunately Sparkle is doing well so far. She has slowed down a little, but she still has good energy, and she still is in good spirits. We cannot know how much longer she will be with us, but we hope she will receive as much love as possible while she is here. She certainly has given a lot of love, joy and comfort to us and many others over the years!