An Unexpected Tail: Haru & Donnie... Friends To The End
My name is Courtney New and I just read your story about Shanghai. I am so inspired by the remarkable transformation love can create—especially when we honor, care for and respect all living beings as the majestic and beautiful beings they are.
I want to share Haru and Donnie’s story because they show me and my partner what true resilience, acceptance, forgiveness and unconditional love is—every day.
Haru is my partner Miwa’s 11-year-old rescue dog. Donnie is my 16-year-old rescue cat.
Miwa rescued Haru from a kill shelter in rural Georgia. Miwa’s friend showed her a Facebook post about him. A rescuer needed to get all the dogs from the shelter and the medical care and paperwork had to be completed before Miwa could finally bring her dog home.
Miwa named him Haru, which means spring in Japanese. “Waiting for Haru was like waiting for the spring, with that new beginning energy.”
At the time, Miwa was in college and had no idea how she’d take care of Haru, who was only a year old, but she made a promise to him and dedicated herself to his growth and well-being. She worked patiently with him through his separation anxiety and fears. She’s been there for him every step of the way.
I adopted Donnie from a coworker who’d rescued him from San Francisco’s SPCA. My coworker was moving and couldn’t bring Donnie because of a “No Pets” rule. She knew I loved animals and had a special connection with cats so she asked if I’d adopt Donnie. After checking with my roommates and getting the okay, I gave her a big YES!
I brought one-year-old Donnie home and it has been the two of us ever since. I’ve moved a lot and Donnie has been so amazing, graceful and resilient with all the changes. After ten years away, I moved back home to Hawai’i.
Blending Our Family
Miwa and I met in March 2016, fell deeply in love, and we became a family of four. Before Donnie and I moved in with Miwa and Haru, we discussed how we were going to introduce our boys with the least amount of stress possible for them. We had concerns about them getting along, but we also believed in them because we knew what they were capable of. We had a dream that one day we’d all be sleeping on the same bed together.
We took the transition step by step: introducing scents first; then a solid slab of wood to separate rooms; then a baby gate with a covering; then we removed the covering so they could sniff and see each other through the baby gate; finally removing the baby gate altogether.
There were growls, barks, distressed meows and hissing, but with time, patience, praise, love and positive energy… a year and half later, our boys were living together peacefully!
All of us now sleep on the same bed! Dream achieved! Earlier this year Donnie even slept next to Haru, touching bodies! It was a huge moment for all of us.
It’s been so magical to see our boys grow more and more comfortable with each other. We find them lying with each other on our bathroom rug: Donnie on his spot and Haru on his. We find them together in our second bedroom, too. It’s been funny to watch the dog and cat personalities interact. Haru bows to Donnie in play mode and… Donnie walks away. Talk about miscommunication! Hahaha!
But they are the sweetest boys. Haru will gently sniff Donnie’s ears. Donnie will wait for Haru to finish drinking water before he drinks himself. Haru is protective over Donnie when we take them to see their vets. Haru usually shakes and gets scared at the vet but now with Donnie, Haru will wait outside, sit and stay focused on the doors until Donnie returns. Donnie is a part of Haru’s pack and Haru needs to make sure that his pack is accounted for.
Miwa and I are filled with gratitude and joy seeing how far they’ve come and how much they’ve grown together. We love that they have each other. Love is everything. Haru and Donnie show us that anything is possible no matter what age, color and species we are.
Thank you for sharing your story, Courtney, Miwa, Haru and Donnie!