Welcome to Allison Payne and Honey Bear love
I didn't fall in love until I was 45 yeas old. My love wasn't a man. My love wasn't even human. She was a four legged furry beauty named Bear. We met when she was my guest on the Adopt A Pet segment on WGN TV in Chicago. The moment of falling in love happened so fast, I couldn't stop it if I wanted to. It was meant to be. Bear came to our show with an animal shelter group called Young at Heart. The group takes care of older cats and dogs who are homeless.
The Young at Heart guests said Bear's family had lost their home to foreclosure and were unable to keep her. So they left her at the vet's office and never looked back. I hear a lot of people who abandon their pets don't look back because they don't want to know what happened. Bear was one of the lucky ones because so many animals like her wind up being euthanized.
I was perfectly professional interviewing the guests from Young at Heart, but after one look into Bear's eyes, my mind was somewhere else because my heart now belonged to her.
And the cats took to her like catnip! My feline fellas, Ed and Bradley, were naturally curious, but I think they followed Honey's cue. She didn't bother them, so they didn't bother her. Early on, I gathered the three of them and said, "You were all abandoned and I took you in because I needed something of my own to love. Just be good to each other and to me. You are, all I've got. From that moment on, I had the most wonderful, loving little family. Having a dog made it all more complete.
When we moved to Detroit, Honey Bear began slowing down. It was arthritis, but she still loved her daily outings. We'd take nice, long walks through the neighborhood. And Honey Bear always stopped traffic! Everyone wanted a closer look at, "The pretty dog!" People would pull over in their cars to take a longer look at her. She heard it so often, Honey Bear got bored with her beauty.
Bear seemed to say to me, “You look lonely Miss Allison. I think you could use my love. I sure need yours. I also need a good home. Could we give this a shot?"
By April 2016, Honey Bear was losing her hind legs. So long walks were now out. We continued our time together on short walks down the block. As her senses waned, Honey would find new ways to show me her devotion. Near the end, she would walk up to me and just put her head in my lap as if to say I love you. I would then hold her head and tell her I love you, too, Beautiful.
Shelters like Young at Heart give their rescue animals veterinary care and chips so they can be found if they get lost. Then they provide foster homes until they can find permanent homes for the animals.
The executive director of Young at Heart, Dawn Kemper, works sunup to sundown for the organization. She does all this while taking care of her own family. Dawn and her team are fully committed, but they could use your help, too. I’ll have more on that later.
For now, I want you to know I was a die-hard feline fan, before that magical moment with Bear on live TV. I had two baby boy kittens waiting at home for me. How would I explain Honey Bear when I moved her in? I added Honey to her name because I thought just plain Bear was just too masculine. I knew virtually nothing about dogs, but the folks at Young at Heart told me Bear was a Golden Chow, half Chow Chow and half Golden Retriever. She was a big girl like myself. She weighed fifty pounds and had nice big paws. I am 5’10 with size twelve feet. So we made a good match when we walked through our Chicago neighborhood. Two big beautiful ladies!
I loved showing her off. I’d put Honey in the car and take her everywhere with me. Hey, everyone, meet my new dog! My friends couldn't believe it because I was such a cat person. But there was no denying the 50 pounds of canine I now had on a crystal studded pink leash. Isn't she something? Let me tell you about her! Honey made an awesome road dog. She went to the nail salon with me. To the store. I even took her to Rainbow Push to meet the Reverend Jesse Jackson. I wanted her to understand black culture so she'd understand me.