Saving a Life

To my dear friend,
I have told the story of our struggle a million times to others, but you should know it. It may help explain why there are some days I cannot let you go. You are so understanding on those days and you seem to realize I just need a quiet moment with you to fully accept you are here and you are mine.

We both have paths that have left us with scars. I am an over-achiever who suffers with mild depression that only three people know of. A few months before we met I had decided to give up a career in a field I had trained for for four years and follow my passion, much to the initial chagrin of my family. I was moving to a strange city on my own with no friends or family nearby. I was terrified. So against my better judgment and the advice of others I began to look for a dog. At first I looked at bassets, but they were all in rescues and cost hundreds. Eventually I examined many breeds and started to form my picture perfect dog in my head. A dog who wants to cuddle, to sit at my feet while I work, who I could let off leash and would stay by my side. A best friend. A protector. I knew I needed a mutt.
I began to scour petfinder.com and craigslist. I wanted to adopt a dog in need. I visited all the shelters in town and met many dogs, but never made a connection. Until I read a post on Craigslist asking that people adopt from a county shelter an hour north. It was overcrowded/underfunded and they were having to put a lot of their dogs down. The dogs were ten dollars and besides a rabies shot had nothing done for them. I looked them up on petharbor and I saw you for the first time. I had seen a hundred pitbulls and pit mixes in other shelters and online. But your sweet labrador eyes looked so sad. I convinced a friend to make a day of it and we would just look. after driving an hour we were told because of construction the shelter would not open for another four hours. We almost went back home. But we instead visited another shelter and came back just to find you were not there. I asked when you had been adopted and they said you were at a special adoption event across town that closed in thirty minutes. We raced over and I finally met you. You seemed confused, but strong and sweet and one of the best looking dogs I had ever seen! You were the only dog not adopted. I asked how long I could wait to take adopt as I was a few days from my move and was informed this was your last week before being euthanized. I whipped out my checkbook ad within minutes you were calmly in the backseat of my car and had a new name. Apollo, in hopes that someone just hearing your name wouldn’t challenge you for my purse.

We struggled together those first few months. You were sick with kennel cough, a food allergy, and a skin infection.You constantly itched and were losing fur all over your legs and ears. I was giving you six pills a day and had to work from home because you broke out of your crate. You didn’t know then that nothing on this planet would stop me from coming home to you each night. You went from a ten dollar dog to a thousand dollar dog. My parents begged me to give you up. I was so worried I had failed you.
But just like all the experts said: with love, routine, socialization, and patience you got better! You are so confident now! You play with other dogs politely, you are on a premium food that makes your coat shine and grow healthy. You play and get into cupboards and bark when you hear a stranger at the door. You need to be close to me, you love to sit at my feet. When I let you off leash you say right by my side. ‘You help me focus on someone else and it has made my depression almost non-existent. I am in bed now with you at my feet. I love you so much. Everything was worth it. Everyone else wanted to give up on you, they say I saved you. But when I think of living without you I shudder. Here’s to many many more years together my dear friend and remember we have already weathered a storm, we can do anything together.


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