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The Runaway Abused Dog that Rescued Me

The Runaway Abused Dog that Rescued Me
Elisabeth A. Freeman - Sun Sep 16, 2012 @ 07:59AM
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I was driving home on slushy, nasty roads from my daughter's basketball game. When all of a sudden, a little brown pooch darted under my van. I slammed on the brakes, and slid to a stop. My heart sank.
Frantic, Melissa and I jumped out and looked under the van.

"Oh God, please let the little guy be okay!"

The small wet bundle of straggly fur sprang out from under the van and hopped right into Melissa's arms. I smiled to see he was okay. Melissa took that as a signal to pop the old familiar question.

"Can we keep him, Mom? Please!"

That's when I caught a glimpse of her brand new white basketball shirt. It was covered in black muddy paw prints! All I could think is, "That shirt is never gonna come clean!"

Besides, I didn't want a dog.

Let me explain. I'm not some heartless, cold, ruthless animal hater. No, I totally love animals. BUT I had four hyperactive kids with special needs, a husband, and a brand new house. I had enough cleaning to do, and I wanted the house to stay exactly like it was, brand new.

My number one rule was no pets. The kids knew better than to ask. I'd always say the same thing.


But I also knew this dog was shivering, cold, and wet, and if he stayed there much longer on that busy street, he would be road kill. "We can't keep him, but we can't leave him here either."

Melissa smiled big as she carried him up into the van. "Can we keep him for the night, then?"

"Maybe for one night," I agreed, "if you give him a bath."

"Yes!" She grinned from ear to ear. "Isn't he cute, Mom?"

I nodded. Undeniably, he was cute. But with the heat turned up full blast in the van, the smell of wet dog was overpowering all my senses.

Once we were home, the excitement began. All four kids crowded into the bathroom, splashing around, shouting with glee, giggles echoing about. I had this warm mushy feeling like I had made the right decision to let the dog stay. "What could one one night hurt?"

Then I caught a glimpse of it! Those same muddy paw prints I had seen on Melissa's shirt had now worked their way through the entire house, onto each of my brand new floora, and even onto my new couch! I couldn't contain myself any longer.

"DOWN!" I commanded firmly, as I gave the pooch a shove.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, he did the unthinkable! He lowered his bottom to my brand new carpeting, while lifting his tail, and began scooting his rear across the floor. The kids laughed. I wanted to scream!

"Oh no you don't!"

I picked him up, set him outside, and slammed the door. The kids began whining and crying, begging me to let him back in, but I had made up my mind. A few minutes later a knock came at our door.

"Here's your dog," our neighbor said, "he wandered over into our yard."

I smiled sweetly and took the pup. What else could I do? I didn't want to look like an animal hater. So, I decided to stick with the original plan, but that backfired too.

"I'm sorry," the lady at the Humane Society said, "but we're full." She told me I could place an ad in the newspaper and if nobody claimed him after five days I could keep him.

I don't want him!

I placed the ad, praying that someone would call and soon. The phone couldn't have been quieter. And the annoying little pooch followed me everywhere. Like a magnet he was stuck to my heels. When I sat at the computer, he laid under my desk. While trying to fix dinner, I tripped over him. Later, when I went to bed, he sat at the edge staring up at me with these sad, puppy dog eyes. He even followed me to the bathroom!

He was cute, but I wasn't budging!

Finally, after three days, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I leashed him up, took him to a good neighborhood about two miles from our house, and let him loose. I lost him quick and sped home. Walking into the yard, I announced to my husband proudly that I had gotten rid of the dog and hopefully he'd find a new home.

My husband, John, shook his head in disgust and said, "You might want to turn around."

I couldn't believe my eyes! Here was that dog, huffing and puffing walking up the driveway. He was determined to find his back back to me, a person who did everything in their power to lose him. My heart broke.

From that moment on, I fell hopelessly in love with him, picked him into my arms, and told the kids we were keeping him. They named him "Buddy."

Two days later, we came home from church to a message on our machine.

"I think you have my dog."

My heart sank worse than it did that first day when I thought I had hit Buddy with my van. Before saying a word to the kids, I called the lady back. She told me the dog's name was "Snickers" and he had ran away nearly a week ago. Sure enough, his ears perked right up when I called his name, and he came running to me. My heart hurt even more.

After I hung up, I broke the news to the kids. We all huddled together in a blanket of tears surrounding him. So strange how a dog I couldn't wait to get rid of a couple of days ago, had formed such a bond with me and our family that we couldn't bear to let go.

When the lady came to pick him up, he didn't run toward her, instead he hung his head and cowered in my kids arms in the middle of our living room floor. She explained how she had two other dogs, three kids, and one on the way.

"You can just have him," she said, as she handed me his shot record. "He bit me anyways." She showed us a huge scar going up her arm. This made me think there must have been some sort of abuse in the home, probably the reason why Snickers had run away in the first place.

I was shocked by the whole thing. We thanked her from the bottom of our hearts, overjoyed we got to keep him. After she left, I began to put the pieces together. Snickers had never even growled at me, my husband, or our four hyperactive kids the whole time he had been with us. And looking back, when I dumped him off on that walk, he was actually closer to his original home than he was ours, and yet he insisted on going the distance to find his way to us.

Snickers bonded with me instantly. Now I know why. We were meant to be together. Sort of like soul mates. We were both abused runaways. He came into my life to heal me, my family, and has went on to heal many others.

We've now had Snickers for twelve amazing years. During that time Snickers has become an Award-Winning Certified Pet Therapy Dog through Therapy Dogs International (after only ten days of training), he has worked to train other dogs and handlers how to become certified, he has served as the Mascot and "Bully Buster" of our Abuse Bites program to stop abuse and bullying, he won Mayor of the Shiawassee Humane Society for raising the most funds/votes ($5,000) for needy and abused pets, he helped raise over $20,000 for needy and abused people and pets locally, and he has put on an amazing trick presentation for kids all over Michigan at events in schools, libraries, and hospitals.

I thought I was rescuing Snickers that day on the side of the road, but really he was rescuing me. I may have had a brand new house when I met him, but he is truly what has made our house a home.
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