Grab the Kleenex….because this one’s a tear jerker! A true animal lover wrote this story for GTHS. It shows us how a dog’s life can be changed by the actions of thoughtful people, caring organizations, and just ONE person opening their home to an animal in need. Not every animal has a great start in life, but organizations like GTHS are here to ensure that the end is a happy one. Thank you to everyone who has chosen to adopt a shelter dog…..and thanks for sharing Brandon!
I Am a Shelter Dog
By Brandon James
Today I was born. My mother met my father when she escaped the yard a few months ago. Including me, there are eight of us. Mother is already very skinny. I don’t think she eats much and the man she calls master does not seem to like her. He always yells at her and does not want her to come into the house because she smells. Mother’s smell is all I know.
I was born in the back of a shed on a lawn chair cushion and a tarp. We spend our days here while mother cleans and feeds us. She makes sure we don’t go without food even though she seems to be hungry often. The days are very hot but it seems to get a little colder at night.
After 11 days in the dark my eyes opened to the world. I can finally see my siblings who have been crying beside me all this time. For some reason there is only 5 of us left. I love them all.
The shed, our home, is very small and cramped. There are some bags of garbage next to us that mom has torn open to eat from. The yard doesn’t look like anyone has been in it for a long time except the path mother has to walk through has garbage, furniture, car parts and kids toys, just to get to the empty bowls at the back door. These are sometimes filled at night. Sometimes. Mother does not look well.
Several weeks pass. My siblings and I play in the grass sometimes. When the sun is shining it’s beautiful, but more often than not it is cold, windy and raining. We like to wrestle and bite each other until we are too tired to move any more. Time for a nap.
When I wake up the only thing on my mind is food. Mother is already feeding a few of my brothers and sisters so I snuggle up next to them and get my share. Mother’s milk isn’t right today. There is very little and it does not taste the same. Something is wrong.
The little girl in the house comes outside to play with us sometimes. She is very rough and she pulls my ears or tail. She has called me many names but the one that has stuck is “Spot”.
One day a man and woman came into the backyard with the man that lives in the house. They were talking for a while and then they picked me up. The woman kissed me on the nose and suddenly my mother and siblings got farther and farther away.
After a short car ride, with the woman holding me the whole time, we arrived at a new “Shed”. This was a big, clean, warm shed with people in it. The woman handed me to a small boy. He was so happy to see me and played with me all afternoon. I feel like I’m ‘rescued’ from the shed.
That night I thought about mother. I missed her. I cried out for her but she did not answer me. I cried until I fell asleep in the day cage the little boy put me in. I am 8 weeks old today.
As the days passed I slowly forgot how much I missed mother as I started to miss my ‘people’ when they left the house. I didn’t know what to do with myself so I played. I chewed shoes, pillows and the carpet. I didn’t know where I was supposed to do ‘my business’ so I went on the carpet. When the people came home they weren’t happy. They put me in a cage for the rest of the night or worse, they put me outside alone.
This cycle went on for a year until eventually they would lock me in the cage for most of the day. I did everything in my cage and because I started to smell they moved me and the cage to the garage. It was lonely in there. What did I do wrong? The boy doesn’t come play with me any more and no one takes me out for walks either. When they do come to see me I get so excited and jump everywhere. I thought they would be happy to see me too, but they only yell at me to stop jumping and put me in the yard. My back is itchy today and I can’t stop scratching everywhere. It looks like my hair is falling out. I am a year and a half old.
One day, as I lay in my crate, where I had to urinate last night, I heard a voice at the front door asking about me. Suddenly the man in the house walked into the garage with a woman in uniform. The man let me out of the cage and I ran right up to the woman and jumped all over her. She was happy to see me too! She touched me all over while she talked the man. He started getting angry at her as he threw me back into the cage and slammed the garage door leaving me alone again. There are tiny bugs biting me all over and it’s getting worse. No sooner do I scratch one spot, another area itches. I am missing a lot of fur and my skin hurts now.
Over the next few days, the family came to see me a few times more than usual. They cleaned my cage and gave me more water and food than I’m used to. I feel better now but these little black biting bugs are agony.
I woke up one morning to the garage door opening. The sun was shining bright and the air was fresh and warm. Not like the stale air I have gotten used to. As the big door went up I saw that clean uniform again. I became very excited! The woman walked over to my cage, opened it and called me out. With great energy I burst out of the cage to her arms. I could tell she wasn’t happy when she saw my hair loss. After some yelling by the man from the house I was taken to a white truck at the road. The gentle woman enthusiastically coaxed me to get into the cage in the truck. This one was cleaner and bigger than I was used to. The door closed.
We drove around for a little while. I don’t like the car. It made me sick but I was happy when we stopped.
When we got out of the car all the nice people came out of the building to say hello. Everyone patted me and scratched me everywhere. I was led to the back door of the building and I was overcome with fear and anxiety. It was loud, dull, wet and I could smell so many other dogs. I thought about mother. Is she here?
The nice woman in uniform stayed with me the whole time, hugging and kissing me. She kept calling me “removal”. I didn’t know what that meant but I liked it so far. For the next few hours I was pampered like a king! My long, painful nails were cut, my sore dirty ears were cleaned, the long matted fur on my belly, neck and behind was shaved and the people put something on me that made all those black biting bugs fall off. I was given a huge meal and a clean bed to finally rest on. I was ‘rescued’ once again.
The first few nights were difficult. Several dogs would howl all night and some cried. I tried to sleep. I miss having people around me, so to cope I chewed. Chewed my blankets, chewed my toys, and even chewed my cage.
The routine of the day is good for me. The people here all love me and I love them. There are so many dogs here that they can’t possibly play with me all the time but they do their best. I don’t have any pain, itch or hunger any more….for one of the first times in my short life.
A few times a week people walk by my cage pointing at me. Some say I am cute and others don’t pay much attention to me at all. Is there something wrong with me? I hope someone comes in that gives me a chance. Although I love the people here, I wish I had a family to play with like when I was young. I am three years old now.
One day a man walked in and came right to my cage. We spent lots of time together before he grabbed my leash and we strolled out to the nearby field. The warm sun was beating down as we walked through the snow….it was peaceful. He would throw the ball for me and I would do my best to bring it back to him, sometimes making him chase me for it. I haven’t been this happy in months. I was never put back into that cold cage but rather into the back of a warm car. Everyone came to say goodbye to me, but I didn’t know where I was going. I was so excited to be out that I forgot how much I hated the car. I did not get sick.
We arrived at a nice white house with a huge backyard. The man showed me around and gave me all the new toys I could play with, food I could eat and beds I could sleep on!
The man was always home with me. We would spend hours walking together like we did when we first met. He would let me sleep in the bed with him, which was the most comfortable thing I have ever been on! I didn’t feel the need to chew anything any more and with his help, I learned where to do ‘my business’. He is now my best friend. These have been the best 6 years of my life.
I woke up one morning after a sleepless night and realized I could not walk properly. My back legs were not working like they used to and if I tried it hurt. My best friend picked me up slowly and carried me to the car. From the back seat, too weak to stand, I could see that we were driving somewhere I haven’t been in some time. When we stopped my best friend carried me again. He was crying.
We walked into the building where once again I smelt all kinds of animals. Everyone here was nice here too, but seemed quiet and sad. I laid down on the floor with my best friend for some time. He was crying so much. I licked his face softly but I was so tired. The door opened and a woman in a white coat walked in.
In my life I have been helpless, sold, loved, neglected, ignored, forgotten, removed, saved, pampered, adopted, loved and now I have to be let go. I had friends for some of my time but a best friend for the last 6 years.
I am a shelter dog, I am a rescue and I found my loving forever home.