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Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am her person.

Today I made the mistake of opening an article from the Charlottesville, VA SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: the local pound) entitled "The Twelve Saves of Christmas." I naively thought this would be an article about twelve animals that had been adopted. The first animal that I read a little story about was Blue, a charming pitbull pup that needs a home. What?! NEEDS a home?? Crap. What have I done?! While I have a little rant stored up about how SPCA videos are cruelty to humans, I was completely sucked in.

Almost three years ago now, I adopted a pitbull from the closest no-kill SPCA. Her name is Lovely and she is my baby, my best friend. I cannot even begin to tell you what a difference she has made for me. I saved her life, and she saved mine.

When I started looking for a dog in January-ish of 2009, I had no idea why I was doing it. I'm not really a dog person. I never have been. I kept thinking to myself "Kendra, why are you doing this? You don't even LIKE dogs," but I kept looking. I met many very very sweet dogs, dogs who don't shed a lot, dogs who don't jump on you, dog's that don't yip, completely lovable dogs, but I wasn't impressed. At least I had the good sense to know that I couldn't bring home a dog that I wasn't completely over the moon in love with, so I kept looking even though I was meeting SO many good dogs. I knew they deserved someone who would love them more than I could. I began to wonder if I was wasting my time on this search, but something told me to keep at it. I came home from the Nelson County SPCA one day and started looking up the animals that were available for adoption on the internet. My head told me this was the stupidest attempt so far. "Kendra, you cannot choose a dog based on a picture on the internet," I told myself. And then i saw Lovely's little doggy profile. This was her picture.

Right?! When I saw it, I was smitten. "Kendra!" I told myself, "you cannot choose a dog based on a picture on the internet!" So I went to meet her in person. I got to the SPCA, and I looked for her, but she wasn't in her kennel. I was so nervous that someone had already adopted her, or that she was sick or something awful, so with shaking hands, I offered the picture I had printed from Lovely's profile to an employee, and said "I was hoping to see this dog." The girl got a HUGE smile on her face and exclaimed "Lovely!" It turned out, Lovely was so scared of people that they kept her in the manager's office when groups of people were visiting. (like the group of schoolchildren that were, at that moment, tromping around the grounds)

The employee warned me that she wouldn't be very social with me, but I didn't care, i just wanted to meet her. When she came out to meet me, she was terrified. She wouldn't look me in the eyes, she wouldn't let me touch her, in fact, she was choking herself with her collar pulling on the leash trying to get away from me. But from the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the reason I had been looking for a dog. This dog needed me. And I didn't know it at the time, but I needed her. We desperately needed each other.

I couldn't take her home that very day, and for the few (utterly miserable) days that followed, I wasn't sure if I could take her home at all. There were issues with the insurance and owning a pitbull, (which I had been completely unaware of, as naive as I am.) I also needed to have a vet ready, which I didn't. And the icing on the cake, I didn't have the money to pay for the adoption fees and for the essentials needed when bringing home a new dog. I thought my heart would break.

Then the miracles started. Our insurance agent was retiring in a few days, and my mom went to ask him what kind of restrictions were placed on owning a "dominant breed" of dog. His answer: just don't tell the new agent. If she bites someone, the insurance will pay the claim, and then drop us, but as long as that doesn't happen, it really doesn't matter. He wasn't going to tell anyone. My friend Heather recommended a vet, so I was good there, and then, like manna from heaven Heather said the words, "If you're SURE that this is your dog, then I'll help you get her. I'll pay the fee."

Lovely was mine. I was Lovely's. She is my dog, and I am her person. I belong to her. It took me two years to pay Heather back for the money she spent helping me bring Lovely home, but I know that I can never truly repay her for what she did for us, for me and Lovely. My life took a sharp turn that day. I became responsible for another living being, and it changed the way I live my life. I am a better person because of this dog, and she is a well-loved, affection-craving, almost-social animal now, almost 3 years later. My heart, and my home are full.

I cannot adopt this dog, Blue. Not today, and not any time soon. I wish I could save them all, one at a time, but I can't. He is a living, breathing, loving creature of God, and maybe you, or someone you know can make a home for him. This tiny little blog with a hundred and nine readers is my only voice, and I needed to speak about this. This dog deserves a story like Lovely's. Will you help me spread the word? Post it on your facebook pages, your twitter, your blogs. Tell your friends, show them Blue's story! I know that they are out there, and maybe together, we can find the person that is meant to belong to Blue.