Smell the Coffee: More how-we-met stories about our pets

I recently wrote about those “when our eyes met” moments many of us have had with the animals who become members of the family. That instant you know they’re about to be yours.

Wrote Libby Kozak Tolley of Belle about how she came to have their cat, Tux:

“A young lady I worked with at the time came in one morning talking about how she’d been going through the drive-through at Tudor’s on her way to work. When she rolled her window down, a little tuxedo cat jumped right through her window. She asked if anyone knew who it belonged to, and they assured her it had been hanging around for a couple of months.

“Since she loved cats and already had two, she brought him into our office and called her mom. Could she keep it please?? But her mom said ‘no.’”

Since Libby didn’t see the cat anywhere, she asked, “Where is it now?” The girl opened her desk drawer.

“And there lay the prettiest little kitty I’ve ever seen. I was in love.”

One look was all it took. She said Tux isn’t so little anymore. “He’s quite a bruiser. All the dogs in our neighborhood are afraid of him.”

My friend and former co-worker, Amy Robinson of Charleston, is a devoted animal lover who had quite a few how-we-mets, since her entire family has a serious soft spot for rescues and strays.

Amy’s mom and sister were at the vet’s office once when a couple came in with week-old puppies they wanted to have put down. The mother dog had mastitis and couldn’t nurse, so raising the pups would be a major commitment.

“Dad was a hard no,” Amy said. “At that point, we had two dogs and he thought two was the limit.” But he was outnumbered, and they ended up with a third, Roxy.

Even though Amy’s dad had cast the sole “no” vote, Roxy became absolutely devoted to him.

“She liked the rest of us, but she was totally Daddy’s girl. If you hugged him, she’d shove her way in between to reclaim him. As much as he’s loved all the other dogs, I know Roxy was absolutely his heart dog, like Riley is mine.”

I’ve seen Riley and Amy together and remember thinking their bond seemed special. Most every dog person seems to have one that outshines all the rest. There’s a connection that goes one step beyond. There’s that moment when you just know.

Amy went to the shelter a month after having to put her beloved Lab, Molly, to sleep. She wasn’t sure she was ready to adopt again and was looking for a sign. She had initially intended on looking for an older, large black dog, since they have the toughest time getting adopted, but none connected.

“I decided to take one more pass through the dogs. And that’s when I saw him. He was sitting in the middle of the cage, facing the back wall, with his head over his shoulder, looking at me.”

She asked if she could take him outside and they played for a bit.

“Before we headed back in, I sat on the sidewalk to get down on his level,” said Amy. “Without hesitation, he hopped in my lap, curled up and looked me straight in the eyes as if to say, ‘OK, let’s go home.’”

That was her sign. Riley is an interesting mix of German shepherd, beagle and hound, so when anyone asks, he’s a German beagle hound.

“I love all the dogs I’ve had in my life,” Amy said, “but I’ve never had a bond like the one I have with Riley. He is the most intuitive, loving dog. He knows when I’m sad and is at my side in an instant, his big eyes full of concern. If tears are shed, he presses himself as close to me as he can possibly get.”

Call me sappy, but I’m such a sucker for stories like this.

Karin Fuller can be reached at

Funerals for Saturday, December 14, 2019

Akers, Trela - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.

Cochran, Jacob - 3 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Cosby-Matthews, Hattie - Noon, First Baptist Church of Charleston, Charleston.

DeMarino, Jane - 1 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Gunther, Jewell - 1 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, Chapmanville.

Hall, Betty - 1 p.m., St. Andrew United Methodist Church, St. Albans.

Holbrook, Linda - 1 p.m., St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Pinch.

Johnson Jr., Delbert - 11 a.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

King, Edna - Noon, St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Charleston.

Kiser, Kenneth - 6 p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Lawrence, Mamie - 2 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

McCutcheon, Alice - 1 p.m., Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson.

Mills, Melinda - 5 p.m., New Baptist Church, Huntington.

Rannenberg III, Thomas - 2 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Ray, Sandra - 1 p.m., Crooked Creek Church of Christ.

Roach, James - 1 p.m., First Baptist Church, Ravenswood.

Tyler, Gloria - Noon, Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

Ulbrich, Sandra - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Williams, Laura - 2 p.m., Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home, Flatwoods.

Wood, Ruby - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.