I want to tell you a story about a little dog. This dog was a good little dog. Yes, he chewed on shoes and piddled on the floor. But he didn't mean it. He was just a puppy after all. He wanted to be good. But the man and the woman who lived with him and his 4-legged mom said they had too many dogs already and that the little dog was too much trouble. So they took him to the animal shelter. The little dog was put in a small cage with no friends to play with and no one to pet him. He had food and water and sometimes he got to go outside and walk around, but most of the time he was in the cage - alone. It was very scary! Sometimes the people who worked at the shelter would come and get a dog for a walk - and the dog would never come back. The little dog heard that they were put to sleep. Sleep was good, but somehow sleeping and never coming back didn't seem right. The little dog worried that might happen to him and he was afraid. Sometimes, people would come in to the shelter and take a dog from the cage. These dogs also never came back. But the little dog heard that this was different. These dogs were going to new homes where they would be loved and be part of a family. The little dog wished every night that someone would take him home.
One day a man and woman came in to the shelter. They stopped at the little dog's cage and talked to him. The little dog sniffed at the woman's fingers as she reached through the cage. She asked if she could hold the little dog. When she picked him up, the little dog reached up and kissed her on the chin to say thank you for taking him out of the cage. The woman cuddled the little dog, looked at the man, and said, "I want him." That's was all it took! The little dog couldn't believe it. Someone was going to take him home.
The little dog came to live in a great house in the country. There was a big yard for him to run and play in and two other dogs for company. There was a soft comfy bed for him to sleep in during the day and at night he slept in a big bed with the man and the woman. He had toys and treats. He even had a cat! But his favorite thing was to curl up in the woman's lap in a big chair they shared. Sometimes she would read or watch TV. Sometimes she would just sit with him. It really didn't matter what they did, because he knew he was loved.
As the years, went by the little dog got older. It became harder for him to see. He couldn't always jump up in the chair. Sometimes the woman had to carry him up or down the stairs when his legs were stiff. Sometimes he couldn't always make it out the pet door in time and would have an accident. He was scared that he would have to go back in the cage. But the woman still loved him and cared for him. As he got older they spent less time walking and playing and more time just sitting in the chair together.
In case you haven't figured it out, the little dog was Bob and the story is how my Mom and Dad found him at the shelter. He was lucky. He have lived here for 21 years and was loved and cared for every day. I only spent a few years with him. He was already old when Mom brought me home. But I know he had a great life. And when it was time for him to go to sleep, Mom and Dad were with him so he wouldn't have to be alone even then. But there are thousands of dogs and cats who aren't so lucky.
I am not a shelter dog. Mom bought me from a breeder. But the Yorkshire Terriers she has owned are the only dogs she has ever bought. All of my playmates here at home are shelter dogs. And they are all great dogs! They love Mom and Dad with all their hearts. They guard the house, cuddle with them on cold winter nights, walk with them on warm summer evenings. They keep mice and snakes and all the other assorted country critters out of the house and yard. They play with me when Mom is too busy. Mom and Dad rescued them and brought them home and they respond with unending loyalty and companionship. Mom says they are unconditional love!
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. So this month, I am asking you to think about adding a furry friend to your home. If you have room in your house and your heart for one more thing to love, please visit your local animal shelter and adopt a dog. Go to your local shelter, find the perfect dog for your family and give another little dog a forever home.