Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Lost Dogs Found

Zeus leaps onto the bed and rolls on his back. Its 8:30 in the morning. Zeus isn't allowed to sleep in the bed and this is his version of a wake-up call. Before he can get into gear I put my hand on his chest and say "No wild dog, just snuggle time." He relents and I rub his belly and scratch his chest for a bit before rising to let out Isaac, who is whining at the back door.

As I pass through the dining room there it is on the table. The book. Its bright red cover taunting me, daring me to crack it open. I said I was going to read it this week and here I was half-way through my vacation and the only thing I'd read were the acknowledgements. I pick it up and drop it on the couch on my way by to let out Isaac, then I go into the kitchen to make coffee and feed the cat. I pass the couch, pass it again, there's the book, it stands out beautifully against the sage slipcover.

I know the story of Michael Vick and his dogs well and I've been wanting to read Jim Gorant's book ever since it hit the shelves.But now that I have it, a part of me isn't sure that I want to relive the Vick case. Finally coffee in hand, I crack the cover and begin to read.

Gorant writes well, very well and its because of this that for me at first it was tough going. The details of how Vick and his cronies tortured and killed his dogs are not new to me, yet reading it again three years later, I feel stressed and anxious just the same.Twenty minutes in I have to put the book down. I look at my dog Maddie, snoring away, fat and happy on the couch next to me. All of my dogs are rescues and although none of them were fought, each was a victim of cruelty. I run my hand down the curve of her back, kiss her on the head, pick up the book and continue on.

The details of  Surry County Deputy Bill Brinkman, USDA Agent Jim Knorr and US Attorney Mike Gill's refusal to let the case go is a triumph. Without them, there is no doubt the case would have quietly gone away and all of the dogs would have suffered and died in vain. At the time, I wondered why they accepted a plea deal from Vick, they had a ton of evidence, more than enough it seemed. But as I read the book it occurred to me that perhaps they did it for the dogs. These three men were the dog's first advocates.

Ultimately, The Lost Dog's isn't about Michael Vick, its about the dogs and the people who worked tirelessly on their behalf. Gorant tells their story with compassion and without sensationalism. The stories are heart warming and heartbreaking and Gorant masterfully weaves each tale, not telling everything all at once, but little by little, bit by bit, letting us progress just as the dogs themselves did. Their miracles didn't happen over night, but they happened and that is the joy of their story. There are many happy endings for the Bad Newz Kennel survivors and some sad ones too. 

Three of the dogs never got a chance for a happy ending. Two died at one of the shelters under circumstances that remain a mystery and one, Sussex 2621, was so damaged by her experience at Bad Newz Kennels that she could not be placed and was euthanized. She died without feeling the sun on her face, the kind and gentle touch of a human hand, she died without a name. It is her story that brings tears to my eyes and it is her story that makes my heart ache.Yet I am thankful that at least she no longer had to suffer and that her death, when it came, was compassionate, not cruel.

If you've been on the fence about reading The Lost Dogs, I encourage you to read it. If you haven't considered reading it, I encourage you to consider it. You're not a dog person? Doesn't matter. It may speak to you in a different way than it did me, after all we are all individuals just like the dogs, but it will move you, I promises you that. All you need do is see it through to the end.

Zeus leaps onto the bed and rolls on his back. This morning, I sit up and watch as he wiggles like a snake, every part of his eighty pound body in motion, feet kicking, massive head flailing from side to side, mouth open wide, tail thumping.  The wild dog dance is in full effect and as I take it all in,  I smile and say "Do that wild dog dance Z-man. Its good to be alive."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pal's Journey: Part 1

He was the strong silent type, he barked little and wagged a lot. An old brindle Bull dog, endlessly patient with little hands that pulled and grabbed and petted. Always willing to do his what his people asked, to go where they wanted, to meet and greet, to dress up and play the Clown Prince. All he did without complaint, no matter the weather, no matter that he longed for a quiet day of sunning in the yard or sleeping under the kitchen table. When asked to serve he did so, each and every time. He was there to comfort and console his family, healer of skinned knees and broken hearts. Nanny for the nanny less.

He made but one mistake. He got old. The children complained that "he wasn't any fun anymore." The mother that "he couldn't keep up and slowed her down" when she went for her morning run.  The father that he "couldn't count on him to watch over the family" when he traveled for business. He'd always been "much too friendly and after all isn't that why he allowed the dog in the house to begin with, so he would keep intruders out? "

Loyal and true, when the little one arrived, he took it in stride. When his puppy antics were too much the old brindle Bull dog retreated to his spot in the yard for some time to himself. The puppy grew mischievous as puppies do. "He chews my stuff," the kids complained. "He bites the leash when I jog," the mother complained. "He needs to be more protective," the father complained. We don't have time for two dogs the parents concluded.

The old brindle Bull dog hopped up into the SUV, pleased to be going for a ride. He sat on the passengers seat and watched the neighborhood pass by. His tail thumped on the plush leather seat, there was the house where Davey, the little boy with downs syndrome lived. He loved to visit him. He'd lay patiently on his side while the child rubbed his belly and pulled at his ears, remaining unperturbed when Davey became excited and wacked him on his big blocky head. There was the park where he went to watch his children play, first t-ball, then baseball. He stuck his head out the open window, cocked it and listened. He didn't hear as well as he once did, but he could hear he was sure, the faint sound of children laughing. The old brindle Bull dog smiled. Maybe they'd go for a walk in the park on the way home.

His owner stopped in front of a concrete building surrounded by chain link and razor wire. He'd never been to this place before. "Lets go," his owner said. The dog hopped out of the SUV and sat at his owners left side. The man took a note from his pocket and pinned it to the dogs collar. It read "My name is Pal. I am 13 years old. My family doesn't have time for me. Please find me a good home."  He tied the dog to the fence, got into the SUV and sped away.  The sound of Pal's wailing went unheeded.  Loyalty forgotten, loyalty unreturned.

Monday, June 21, 2010


It breaks my heart to think that he died alone. No one there to comfort him, to wipe sweat from his brow. No one to hold his hand, and say "I'm right here with you. You're not alone. You don't need to be afraid, its okay to let go when you're ready."

There was a thirty-six year gap in our ages. He was a proud, extroverted African-American man or as he preferred to say "person of color." An only child, born and raised in Boston, he'd traveled the world, but never learned how to drive. I was an introverted white woman. The youngest of four, born in New Hampshire, raised in Vermont, who had barely traveled outside of New England, yet we understood each other perfectly.

We were co-workers, who along with a group of four or five others became great friends. We'd lunch together, laugh and solve the world's troubles. On occasion our tight knit little group would take in a Sox game, or head to a restaurant in the North End to celebrate life's milestones; birthdays, the holidays, new jobs, retirements.  We both loved music and literature and talked on the topics often. "Did you see Miss Labelle on the Grammy's last night?" he'd say knowing I did, "Child, that hair and the outfit."

He was a big man, over six feet and was by far the best dressed man or woman in our office. His skin was a deep, dark mahogany, his salt-n-pepper mustache always neatly trimmed, his clothes well made and perfectly fit. He kept a spare tie in his desk at all times so he could change if he stained the one he was wearing while eating lunch. He loved to shop for jewelry at Tiffany's. His laugh, oh his laugh, it was loud, deep and genuine and one of the most joyful sounds I've ever heard. He was a man of great faith and he worshiped at the same AME church he'd attended with his parents as child. Every Sunday he sat in the exact same place. It was the seat his father had occupied before him.

He kept his life neatly compartmentalized; work friends, church friends, family, friends from his club. He was vigilant in keeping all of these worlds separate. A member of our group, the only other male, was very interested in the club Karl frequented on weekends. This guy was white, straight and very conservative, the polar opposite in life experience and world view from most of our group.  He was dying to know about this "club" and teased that if he found out where it was he'd to show up there some Saturday. On one occasion when he called the house and Karl's roommate answered, his desire to know got the better of him. He casually asked the name of the club and was rewarded with the information he'd been so anxious to have. A suburbanite, what he didn't realize was the club was the oldest operating gay club in the city of Boston. It wasn't long after that he dropped the bomb and revealed what he'd learned to Karl. It almost cost him his friendship. He'd crossed a line he shouldn't have, in Karl's world the lines didn't cross, the lives didn't intersect.

I took the T to Brigham and Women's hospital after work. Karl was in the hospital again, but we didn't know what was wrong. When I took the elevator up to his room, I found he had the room to himself.  I sat by his side and we talked about this and that. Occasionally, he would start talking  nonsense and then a few minutes later make perfect sense again. Right before visiting hours ended, a nurse came in to take more blood, "where did he want her to stick him?" she'd asked. Unable to form an answer, he looked at me like a lost child. "Take it from wherever he appears to be the least sore," I told her and she did. Blood drawn, I kissed him on the cheek and told him "I'll see you tomorrow." When tomorrow came, so did the phone call that Karl had died.

Its been sixteen years and still he crosses my mind. I wish he were here to see the strides made within the gay community; marriage, adoption, no cure yet, but better treatment options for HIV/AIDS, more positive portrayals of gays and lesbians in the media. When Barack Obama was elected President, out of all my African-American friends it was Karl that I thought of first. As I sat listening to Obama's acceptance speech on election night, I cried tears of joy that the day had come, tears of sorrow that my old friend hadn't lived to see it. He would have been so proud.

Its strange what one comes to realize over time. After Karl died, all the worlds he'd strived to keep separate came together. I'd always thought it was a shame that he'd chosen to keep each aspect of his life in a little box, even said so to friends. Then one day I woke up and discovered, I've done the exact same thing. Keep it safe, keep it private, let each box sit on its own little shelf; family, work, work friends, volunteer work and friends,  etc. I am intensely private, always have been and I have begun to ask myself why? What is the risk in sharing? What have I lost, what have I gained?  What will happen if you let it all go? Can I change? Do I want to? I'm on the fence and its becoming somewhat less comfortable than it used to be.

If one called his house and got the answering machine, one would hear Karl's deep baritone voice politely inform the caller that he was unavailable to take their call and to please leave a message after the tone. After that standard message was delivered he would say "Uhuru," and the machine would click off. Uhuru, the Swahili word for freedom. Uhuru, something we all seek. Uhuru, something we must look within ourselves to find.  Uhuru, something to think about.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

School is in Session!

I watch my dog Maddie walk gingerly across the back deck, a little wobbly in her rear end and wonder how much longer it will be before I have to start carrying her down the steep steps to the yard. Her age, somewhere between eleven and thirteen, is beginning to show and it hurts my heart.

Our morning constitutional complete, we head into the house to join her “brothers” for breakfast. While the dogs eat, I jump on my computer to check my e-mail and Facebook. A friend has sent me a link to a “special letter” published in the Detroit News. When I read it my stomach twists in knots. Its written by Teresa Lynn Chagrin, an “Animal Care & Control Specialist“ for PETA. The title of the letter is “Rescued pit bulls not Family Pets” and it encourages the Livingston County Animal Control to continue to euthanize all pit bull type dogs that come through their doors. Her position is nothing new, for as long as I can remember PETA has sounded the death knell for pit bull type dogs. I know this, yet every time I see it stated in black and white I feel sick inside.

The irony is that PETA has something in common with the thugs, dog fighters and abusers they point to when attempting justify their position. They too make money, in the form of public donations, over the backs of the dogs they wish to exterminate. I keep hoping that they will change. That at long last they will look at the dogs and see what I see, learn what I’ve learned, but so far they have not.

I have lived with dogs all my life. Ask me for a story about my childhood growing up in rural Vermont and a dog; Stanley, Annie or Casey, Taffy, Emily, Minnie, Addie or Bromley will most likely be included in the tale. For the shy youngest child of Bob and Mary Fraser, the dogs were playmates, companions, and confidants. Each of our family dogs taught me something about life: loyalty, commitment, love, friendship and loss.

My childhood home, a large white 1793 colonial, sat on a hill which sloped down to the front lawn. A wide patch of lilies and stinging nettles bordered the lawn, and in front of that the quiet country road on which we lived. On the other side of the road stood the banks of the Connecticut River. The front lawn was flat and long with two huge pine trees, one anchoring each end. It was perfect for playing baseball.

I don’t remember who was batting, it may have been my sister Donna or me, with our brother Stephen, the oldest of the three of us pitching. Our Golden Retriever Taffy was with us, chasing down every pop fly just as she always did. All I know for sure is that one of us hit a foul ball over the patch of lilies and nettles, across the road and down the bank to the river. Taffy, our trusty Center fielder did what she’d done a hundred times before, she crossed the road to retrieve the ball. She found it. She was so proud coming back across the road to her children, baseball in her mouth, blond feathery tail held high and wagging. She didn’t notice the car, I don’t think any of us did, until it was right there, going too fast, straight down the middle of the road.

She made it back to us, circled three times and collapsed at our feet. The driver who hit her, a neighbor from further down the road, got out of his car, looked at Taffy as she lay laboring in the grass, shrugged his shoulders and said “Sorry, I’m late for work.” Then he got back into his car and sped away. Later that afternoon, as our entire family stood by her grave and wept, my father buried Taffy in his beloved garden. It was the first time someone I loved had died. I was five years old.

It was Casey, a beagle who came from “the pound,“ who first taught me that it was possible for someone to overcome their past. Casey had been a hunting dog and knew nothing of living in a house. He was destructive and untrained and it’s a testament to my parents commitment to their pets that he didn‘t end up back at the pound within 48 hours of coming home. He was for a time relocated from the house to the barn and after learning some manners, moved back into the house where he took up permanent residence.

Casey was a dog of great spirit and great voice. He never failed to howl for a handout at the dining room table when we had company over for dinner and although the dogs were not allowed on the furniture, he never overcame his desire to sleep in my mother’s favorite antique wing chair. He would worm his way around any obstruction placed in the seat to keep him out and despite the scolding he’d get if caught, he’d curl up in that chair whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Casey was also the best judge of character of any dog we ever had. As a teenager, I was home alone when a man with some antiques to sell appeared at the door and asked if my parents were home. I told him they were not, but he stepped past me into foyer to see for himself. When he lingered a little too long after I’d said “I’ll tell them you stopped by,” it was Casey who firmly, but appropriately let him know that it was time to go.

Life often comes full circle and so it has been with me. I have worked with dogs for the past twelve years as a volunteer, rescuer and shelter professional. I first met a American Pit Bull Terriers at a Massachusetts shelter where I became a volunteer. At the time I knew nothing of the dogs other than what I’d heard on the news, but I had an open heart and an open mind. It turns out that was all that was needed, the dogs did the rest. I was hooked. It was at that shelter that I adopted Isaac, a little ten week old brown and white pup who had been left to die in a dumpster. Now ten years old and getting very gray, it was Isaac who changed our elderly neighbor’s opinion of his kind and it was Isaac who helped a little girl who had been bitten by another type of dog overcome her fears. She would come to the shelter each Sunday with her mother and grandmother and he would wiggle and wag at the sight of her. It took a few visits before she found the courage to pet him, but when she did she was rewarded with a big smile, a wagging tail and a gentle kiss. After awhile they stopped coming, there was no need, with Isaac’s help the child had overcome her fears.

Since I first walked into that shelter twelve years ago, I’ve work with hundreds of pit bull dogs. The thing that struck me then was the resilience of the dogs I cared for and it is that resilience that amazes me still. With some dogs its their wiggling, wagging eternal optimism, “I’m stuck in this place, but I’m still going to put myself out there and make a new friend” that brings a smile to my face and inspires my admiration. With others it’s their courage to try to overcome. To trust when no human has ever proved to be trustworthy. To bravely put one foot in front of the other and give it one more try. Children share this type of courage, but as we grow into adults it seems to get lost in us. We become worn down, jaded or too invested in our point of view to consider any alternatives.

When we paint every member of a group, human or canine, with the same brush instead of treating them as individuals we do them and ourselves a disservice. If ever there were a group of dogs who proved this point, it’s the group that hailed from Bad Newz Kennels. When Bad Newz Kennels was raided, PETA recommended all of the dogs be euthanized without the benefit of evaluation. What a tragedy it would have been if that had happened. Today, the Bad Newz Kennels Survivors are thriving. The dogs have contributed to society through education, therapy work and by being cherished family companions. To have summarily put them to death would have been a shame and a sin. When we open our minds, watch and learn the dogs will teach us.

And so I wonder, who is the teacher and who is the pupil? The best of us endeavor to socialize our dogs well, to teach them to be confident, happy, well behaved members of our families. For myself, I’ve learned so much more from the dogs I’ve known than I could ever teach them. From shelter dogs; Spice, the very first pit bull to capture my heart and a long time shelter resident taught me that if you keep your spirits up and hang in there good things will come your way. Bubbles and Sweets taught me about overcoming your fears and putting your trust in strangers. Charlie and Alley taught me that sometimes a dog knows who their person is the minute they walk in the room. Scar, Jesse and Jericho that life is full of second chances, when a good one comes your way, TAKE IT. Angel, Annie, Bella and Samson that life isn’t always fair, people will let you down and hearts get broken along the way. Sara Lee that a very smart dog can make you look really brilliant or really silly and that you should think twice before teaching a dog how to open the refrigerator.

I share my home with four companion animals; one cat, Spencer, and three dogs; two American Pit Bull Terriers, Isaac and Maddie and one American Bull dog, Zeus. All are rescues. It is Maddie’s sense of humor that reminds me to lighten up and not take everything so seriously. It is Isaac’s calm, steadfast nature that gives me the strength to keep on keeping on and it is Zeus’s bull dog determination that reminds me not to let my own determination lag when I feel like giving up. They are all teachers of tolerance, forgiveness, patience, devotion. School is in session and we humans still have much to learn. We need to pay better attention.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Journey's End

She will be gone in the morning. Her bedding will be picked up, washed and put away. Her room cleaned, toys removed, as if she'd never occupied that space at all.  I think of this as we walk down a winding dirt road in the middle of nowhere, this old American Bull dog and I. I knew the day we met she was destined to break my heart, even said it out loud, as if by doing so I could prevent the inevitable for both of us. Her death, my grief.

Maybe it was that she reminded me of my own American Bull dog Zeus. Same bark, same mischievous streak, same endearing way of flopping down and showing their bellies as if to say "Aww shucks, I was only kidding," if you spoke to them sternly.  Or maybe it was simply the glimmer in her eye. Whatever the reason, from day one I was smitten.

She was the sole survivor of a cruelty case that counted over fifty other dogs among its victims. She'd been in the shelter system ever since, a victim of policies that had nothing to do with her as an individual. She had survived the cruelty and the shelter stay with her spirit and sweet nature intact. She'd made it so far, from hell and back, but the illness came before the forever home and so it was that we walked that dusty dirt road together one last time. 

As we walked, she sniffed every little thing, taking it all in. I watched her and cried. Through my tears, I told her that our journey together was reaching an end. I told her she was going to go walk with my friend Thea soon. I promised I'd be there to hold her one last time, to send her on her way.  It was the least I could do for this soulful old bull dog.  "Thea will love you," I said. "You are her type of dog; smart, spunky and with one heck of a sense of humor." Cancer took Thea, but as a Buddhist she believed she would be going on to another life, had another path to walk. Since she'd died, I have always pictured her walking down a country road, surrounded by a pack of dogs. I knew my sweet girl would be joining them.

She will be gone in the morning. She has a new journey ahead and she is leaving me behind, better for having known her.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hunting for Bargains at the Salvation Army

"So its come to this," I told myself as pulled into the Salvation Army parking lot. Money has been tight for longer than I care to admit, and that was before the dog ate the candles, the deer hit the car and the cat developed a kidney problem. I was down to one pair of decent jeans and two pair of Khakis, a "work pair" and a "good pair" ie, the pair I could wear to do errands and not look like a ragamuffin. Everything else was worn through at the knees, stained or both. I work at an animal shelter. When your jeans aren't fit to wear to work, you KNOW you're in trouble.  So here I was at the Salvation Army on the hunt for a bargain.

My father was a school teacher back when feeding a family of six on a teacher's salary was a real challenge. When we were kids my mother would go to rummage sales. She also used to make our clothes, something I'm am definitely  not capable of doing. Its not overstating my lack of sewing prowess to say that in junior high I was the Home Economics teacher's worst nightmare. Still, this was the first time that I found myself shopping for second hand finds as an adult.

I entered the store, breezed by the used furniture section and headed straight for women's jeans. The clothes aren't arranged by size and the sizes aren't on the price tags, you have to hunt for the size on the garment. I started at the end of the row and flipped through checking size and price tags and sometimes labels. Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, Chic, Wrangler, Mudd, Old Navy, Gap, you name it, they got it. A woman started at the other end of the row. She was much faster than I and it wasn't long before we passed headed in opposite directions, I'd done about a quarter of the row. Was there a trick to this size reading thing? Maybe my speed would improve over time.

Next it was on to the dressing room to try on the stack of jeans I'd pulled from the rack; no, no, no, the Levi's were a maybe, a pair of Tommy Hilfiger painters pants a definite yes. Street clothes back on, return rejects, search again. More jean, Dockers, cargo pants, a pair of olive khakis, back to the dressing room, this time there's a wait. The gal who passed me in the jeans aisle was waiting at the dressing rooms too. She was an attractive woman,  about my age, tiny, with long salt and pepper hair. I noted a couple of tattoos designed to look like bracelets on her wrist as I observed the finds she has clutched to her chest. We waited amicably for the changing room occupants to try on their selections, their feet visible under the door. The woman in changing room one wore flip flops, no socks and was doing a little jig as she tried on each outfit, feet landing back on the little black sandals like a gymnast on a balance beam, never touching the floor. The gentleman in the changing room next to her was using a pair of jeans as a carpet. I hoped he planned to buy them, not put them back on the rack.

My second round of try-ons scored me two more pair of pants, a pair of jeans, a pair of navy blue Dockers. I tallied up my purchases and headed for the check out. The woman ahead of me in line was asking the clerk to check the prices on a couple of items. She said she'd just returned to the area and had nothing. She was getting as much free stuff as she could and asked for recommendations where she might find household items etc. "I gave all my stuff away when I moved," she said, looking up at the clerk from her wheelchair. The clerk gave her a few suggestions, checked the prices and turned her attention to me. While I'd been waiting I noticed a sign that I had missed when I first arrived, "all green tag items 50% off." Two of the three items I held in my hand were green tags. Yes! The clerk tallied up my purchases, folding them neatly and placing them in a bag. The grand total for all three items, $10.37. Score!  Looks like I just may become a Salvation Army regular.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Meet the Bull dogs!

American Pit Bull Terrier
Birthday: July 4th, 2000
Claim to Fame:Sun God

He was only 10 weeks old, but Isaac knew we were meant for each other right from the start. When I sat in his kennel at the shelter, he climbed into my lap and gave me a very gentle kiss. Later when I got up to leave he tried to squeeze underneath the kennel door to follow me and promptly got stuck. We have been inseparable ever since.

Isaac is my rock, my doggie soul mate, my port in any storm. He is sweet and gentle and greets everyone like they are a long lost best friend, even if he's meeting them for the first time. He is kind to other animals including with his canine brother and sister and head butting cat. Yet there are those who would cross the street when they saw us coming or back away after learning he was a pit bull. That makes me sad, not for us, but for them. Cleary a fully wagging behind and a big pit bull smile was not enough to calm their fears or assuage their prejudices.

At almost ten years of age he’s getting a little gray around the muzzle, but he is still young at heart. All these years later it is still amazing to me that this soulful dog was left to die in a dumpster as a pup. Someone considered him trash, but he truly is his mama’s most precious treasure.

Madeline aka Maddie
American Staffordshire Terrier
Birthday: December 25th, 199???
Claim to Fame: President, Counter Surfers Club of America, New York Chapter
Maddie wasn't supposed to stay. In fact, I used to refer to her as Madeline NOT Fraser, as if I could somehow convince myself that this naughty little dog hadn't charmed her way into my heart. She was a foster, a foster, a foster, until she went on a trial adoption. I cried every night for a week before she left, I cried all the way to the house where her new family lived and all the way home again. When the family called four days later to say that perhaps they weren't "ready for a dog," Maddie came home and never left. That was  eight years ago.

Maddie is my comic relief. She makes me laugh every day. She thinks she has the world by the tail and even when she gets into mischief, which she often does, I just can't stay mad at her. She is sweet and sensitive and a world class snuggler. Not bad for a dog who lived the first 3 years of her life on a 4 ft chain.

She is probably at least eleven now and could be older, she was an adult "3-5" when she was pulled from the shelter. Maddie the foster dog wasn't staying, but I am so very thankful that she did.

American Bull dog
Birthday: March 31, 2000
Claim to Fame: Run Away

The new addition to the family, Zeus joined us in November 2008. Zeus is proof that sometimes dogs do know best. He knew he was my dog from the start, it just took me awhile to get on board with the idea.

He’d been at the shelter for four months and we had been best buds from the start. I loved him to pieces, but I wasn’t looking for a third dog. Two was enough, we had a nice even keeled household, why mess with a good thing? When a nice couple adopted him, I was wistful, but happy. He was a great dog, going to a nice home. Then he got lost. I spent every day for three weeks looking for him day and night. During that time I made a lot of silent promises to him if only he would be found safe and sound. Thankfully he was, thin and sick, but able to make a full recovery. He came home the “for the weekend” the Saturday after Thanksgiving and never left.