Story and photo submitted by Richard Lema
In May of 2009, I adopted Divinity, a 9-1/2-year-old Cairn Terrier. Divinity had spent the first nine years of her life inside a cage in a commercial breeding facility. The Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network rescued Divinity in late November 2008. Shortly after gaining her freedom, Col. Potter transported Divinity from Southern Missouri, to her foster home in Minnesota. Unfortunately, during her first months of freedom, Minnesota was having a particularly brutal winter that provided no opportunity for Divinity to go outside, other than for a quick dash to potty.
Learning to live in freedom required several months of adjustment that first year, and our walks were painfully slow as Divinity needed to stop and inspect every smell she encountered. However, only ten months after her adoption, Divinity had not only completed her Canine Good Citizen training, she had also passed the evaluation to become a Pet Partners therapy dog.
Divinity was an international traveler with two trips to Canada where she enjoyed camping, and wading in Lake Superior and the Assibone River. Besides our Canadian trips, we went camping in state parks in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.
Divinity loved going places, and we traveled to five states together. Always ready for an adventure, Divinity had a raised co-pilot’s seat to add to her enjoyment and comfort. From her car seat, Divinity was able to relax and enjoy an unobstructed view of the countryside.
A special tradition we enjoyed were our annual mid-winter, indoor camping trips. During our first January together, Divinity was feeling down, so to cheer her up, I decided another camping trip was in order. I set up the tent in the living room and hoped for the best. Not to worry, as soon as the tent was up, Divinity climbed in, and did not come out until morning. Over the years, we added additional indoor campouts, and we spent many nights camping inside as her health declined during her final months.
Like her dad, Divinity enjoyed farm life, and we had a menagerie just outside our door. Divinity’s animal companions included horses, goats, llamas, dogs, and cats, and her farm adventures included her going for a very memorable horseback ride.
Divinity retired as a therapy dog in 2012, and moved on to a life of being spoiled by her dad. After retirement, Divinity, through her blog, became a champion for senior pet adoption, campaigned for discounts for senior pets, and became an advocate for handicapped pets. Sadly, five months after her 14th birthday, Divinity’s veterinarian diagnosed her with terminal cancer. She fought bravely, but lost her final battle on September 10, 2014.
As for dad since Divinity's death, I have continued what Divinity started by maintaining Divinity's blog, and doing what I can to help Cairns and other dog breeds in need. I have posted information on topics such as cancer in dogs, senior dogs, blind dogs, hospices for dogs, handicapped pets, boating with dogs, doggie treat recipes, and a variety of other information related to pets. This is my way of honoring Divinity’s memory and the causes that, through her, became so dear to me.