Della was the matriarch to a pack of Border Collies and Tucker was her partner. They, along with nine other Border Collies were relinquished to Glen Highland Rescue & Sanctuary in May due to the death of a backyard breeder.

Della & Tucker had spent almost a decade together as a breeding pair. The affection between them was palpable, best described as ‘lovebirds’, truly elated to see each other, content to explore side by side and happiest together with the beautiful balance of mischief, play and curiosity. They were the perfect pair.

At Della’s first vet visit in rescue, she had to be rushed for an emergency surgery on a mammary tumor. It was malignant but fully removed. Returning from surgery for one day and night alone without Tucker led her to blast through a window, climbing high atop a computer on an office desk! Being alone was not for her. She needed her beloved buddy.

So Tucker joined her in the recovery location the next day and Della was so joyful and content, not a hint of wanting to escape. Even wearing an e-collar for two weeks, harmony was restored. They spent hours laying together, grooming each other, exploring outside, they were inseparable.

Clearly Della & Tucker belonged together but the big surprise came in the human reunion. A call out of the blue from someone trying to reach Glen Highland led to an all important comment: “If you ever hear of a dog named Della in rescue, please let me know.” Minutes after hearing that Della was in fact THERE RIGHT NOW, the plan was in place for a very special meeting.

For the first two years of Della’s life, she would leave her unfenced property (all the dogs ran loose) and visit the home of Shelley, a neighbor, staring into her sliding glass door wanting to come in. Day after day, week after week, Della came for meals and baths and even flea and tick treatments since the care was so lacking.

The love affair was instant for both. However, there was no way to purchase Della. She was destined to a life as a breeding female…puppies were her value. A fence eventually stopped all visits.

Roll ahead six years later, here was Della minutes away from Shelley in a new rescue in Virginia. The reunion was set! It was a glorious love affair of joyful jumps and licks and dog sounds of delightful, ‘it’s you’ and tears and hugging and kisses all around. Della’s body wagged from her nose to her tail and Shelley shared the same gleeful experience. Neither had forgotten each other. And each visit was the same…total excitement as if it was brand new all over again.

The hope was a permanent home for Della with Shelley, but heartworm treatment had to be handled first and then there was Tucker…parting them was a tough decision plus he could not live with her cats.

So, six months of weekly visits fit the bill for all involved. Shelley was Della’s faithful friend always at Glen Highland playing and laughing and hugging and kissing, rain or shine. They were the perfect pair. Of course, Tucker was showered in love, too!

Just as the heartworm treatment was slated to begin, the tragic news of oral cancer left everyone in shock. This second cancer was aggressive, not likely localized and Della was not a candidate for surgery. Just as life was looking forward, the losses for all were hard to comprehend.

But, no matter how awful both endings truly feel, the truth is six months of complete love and joy surrounded Della and Tucker and Della and Shelley. The love between these souls was so joyful even amidst the heartbreak around the corner.

There was no future here on earth for any of them to be together however their time on earth together was magnificent…the present moment was where they lived…for Della, it was plenty.

Her happiness soared.

Della reminded us of the truth of how dogs experience life…
right in the NOW, not the past, not the future but the NOW.

Della was 9 when she arrived at Glen Highland in June and left us in November, about to turn 10. All the tears are weighted with huge loss but also celebratory with the joy of reunion, even for a short time.

The journey goes on for Tucker. His next steps are fragile and require love to help him through. He must first undergo the risk of sedation for neutering while having heartworm. And, then heartworm injections over two months will bring him closer to adoption, yet carry great risk also since he has had the disease for so long. Shelley will continue her visits and all of us at Glen Highland will remain by his side whispering “Della’s Tale of Two Loves” in his ears. Love lives on Tucker... Love lives on...