You don’t know me but I’ve seen you many times before. I see that sympathetic look in your eyes when you have come to my shelter's Adoption Days. Surely, you recognize me. I’m the non-descript six-year-old dog with kind of shaggy brown hair. The sign on my kennel door says I am “Male-Mixed.” I’d prefer “Sexiest Dog Alive” but they didn’t confer with me before they posted the placard. I usually give the camera my good boy look, but I’m sure the sparkle of hope no longer shines in my big brown eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that I ended up in a no-kill shelter. I’ve heard the alternatives are pretty dismal. How did a great guy like me end up in a place like this? Let me tell you my story.
I remember when my eyes first opened as a roly-poly pup. If the crowd gathered around my mom for dinner was any indication, I came from a large family. We lived in some kind of wire cage outdoors in the country. It was a good time in the beginning. I wrestled with my littermates, climbed on old tires, and slept. Once Mama quit nursing us and we wanted puppy food, the humans complained that it was too expensive to feed us. One day we were loaded into a box, put in the back of a rusty old truck, and driven to a store parking lot. The woman put a big poster with “Free Puppies” scrawled out with a marker.
I watched as one by one people took my brothers and sisters to live with their families. When it started getting dark, the humans were tired and cranky. They took down their sign and loaded us back in the truck bed. The box was a lot roomier since it was just my two sisters and me left behind. We snuggled together on the towels that were lining the box and waited anxiously to see Mama. She was going to be shocked to learn the others had gone to live somewhere else. We all hoped that she wouldn’t be too sad. What happened next is seared into my mind.
The man did not take us back to mama. He stopped the truck at a smelly place where people dump their garbage. It was nasty and the smell made us sneeze. My sister, “The Runt” was certain that he was just stopping on his way home. Runt was wrong. He took our box out of the truck, shoved it next to the dumpster, then he and the woman drove off without us! We squealed as loud as we could but it was no use. We had been duped and dumped by humans that we trusted. The realization that humans could be so cruel is a painful lesson for a helpless trio of puppies. The three of us huddled together through the night frightened and hungry. I didn’t sleep at wink because I was so afraid a big animal would come get us.
Actually, the only visitors we had were a couple of feral cats. They looked into our box, shook their heads, and tsked. They understood all about being hungry and brought us back some scraps of bread. Other dogs can say what they want about the feline persuasion, but those two cats saved our lives that night.
When morning finally came, an older man wearing faded denim overalls came and peered into our box. Being the protective brother, I gave him my ferocious puppy growl. He laughed before he picked me up and gave me nose nuzzles. He mumbled something about his wife “skinning him alive” if he showed up with more puppies. Before we knew what was happening, he loaded us into his truck and we were off on another journey. I told my sisters not to be afraid because I would protect them. I never let them see how frightened I truly was since they needed me to be brave.
We didn’t go very far before the man pulled into another parking lot, leaving us in our box on his front seat. I figured he was going to get another ‘free puppy’ sign. Instead, he came back with some yummy canned dog food. We gobbled it up, waddled our fat bellies over to a puppy pile, and fell sound asleep. I’m not sure how much further we traveled before he finally came to another stop. This time, it was here at this shelter.
I’ve spent six years waiting for another ride to take me somewhere else. My sisters have been gone for years; they were adopted while we were still puppies. I haven’t had a bad life so please don’t think I’m whining. The people here are nice, I get plenty to eat, I’m groomed, exercised, and sometimes I get to wear an “Adopt Me” vest when I go for walks. I have heard the people here say I’m probably getting too old for anyone to adopt. How in the heck can that be possible? Dogs can live for a long time; I’m not even middle age! According to Guinness, the dog that holds the record as the oldest living dog at age 21 was an adopted shelter dog.
Besides, I am totally over the gnawing stage; I’ll admit there are a couple of chairs I left my mark on back in the day. People can see how big I am because I’m finished growing. I’ve seen some fellas leave here tiny and come back the size of a semi-truck! No sirree, with me what ya see is what ya get. Being my age also assures people that I don’t have any hidden genetic problems. I’m healthy as a horse and my awesome personality is well established. Did I mention that I could be the sexiest dog alive? Yeah, I thought so. It is possible that I could become a famous television personality. I am not sure if you’re aware of this fact but many talented dogs come from shelters and make it big in show biz. I don’t like to name drop but does “Benji or “Old Yeller” ring a bell? I’m not making any promises but I’m just saying it is a possibility. There is no limit to my potential with the right person and that all important love connection.
Anyway, that’s my story and as you can see, it’s not that sad. I mean there are worse things that can happen to a dog besides being in a shelter. It’s just that it could be so much better. Don't worry if you don't see me at your local shelter. There are plenty of dogs and cats waiting for a best friend just like you. Thanks for caring.
Retweet~ Read "A Letter from a Shelter Dog" today on Barking from the Bayou. https://t.co/vEn73CHuwh #rescue pic.twitter.com/5sJfddE7tM— M. K.Clinton (@mk_clinton) July 5, 2016