Rescued dog unleashes West Richland girl's generosity

Posted by Lucy Luginbill on June 1, 2014 

Sapphire McDonald hugs her best friend, a rescued Great Pyrenees.

COURTESY OF SUE MCDONALD

The young girl was “star-struck” by Nova, a fluffy white rescue dog, the moment they spotted each other.

“I just looked into her eyes,” 12-year old Sapphire remembers of their first face-to-face meeting, “and she looked into mine … and I just knew.”

It was love at first sight for the pre-teen and the 11-month old Great Pyrenees who romped together in the park in a “get-acquainted” meeting. Nearby her mom, Sue McDonald, chatted with the dog’s foster mom and Kat Shaddix who heads CARE (Columbia Animal Rescue Effort).

But even though there was a “spark” between the West Richland middle school student and the bright-eyed dog, there would need to be a heart-to-heart talk between mother and daughter first.

A very short talk.

“My mom looked at me in the car and said, ‘This is our dog,’” Sapphire smiles at the happy memory of a year ago.

They’d had one dog, Cloud, when Sapphire was age two and then a husky, Star, who had died a short time ago. So after a Petfinder.com search showed a gorgeous Pyrenees named Nova, Sue was already taken with the canine.

“I love coincidences,” Sue says about all the names referring to heavenly bodies, “and it felt like it was meant to be.”

Within a few days of the initial visit, Sapphire (named after the Sapphire Mountains in Montana) and Nova were playing and snuggling at home.

“What I love so much about her is that she’s my best friend,” the only-child of divorced parents says quietly. “I’ve had days when I’ve come crying home to Nova (after school) and I would spill it all out.”

That’s when Nova’s head tilts and it licks away a tear. The sweet bond between them is one reason why this petite brunette has such a heart for abandoned animals – dogs and cats that need help.

“I was playing ball with Nova in the backyard,” the sixth-grader remembers, “and ‘boom!’ there it was – to give back to the people who gave me my friend and ‘sister.’”

So grateful was Sapphire that she threw a birthday party recently, asking her six guests to bring money to donate to the charity rather than gifts for her. The total, including her own, was $150 to be given to the nonprofit rescue group CARE.

“My puffball Nova has taught me that not only did I rescue her,” Sapphire says thoughtfully, “but that she recued me.” And then she adds, “It was very fateful when I got Nova. I felt like God gave me the match.”

Together, a gem-of-a-girl and a loveable dog that brightens her day. It’s a match made in heaven.

If you have a story idea for Light Notes, email lluginbill@tricityherald.com. Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyLuginbill

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