Another in a series of stories written by volunteers about dogs they helped save. These stories illustrate the wonderful outcomes that are produced through our volunteers' commitment to saving these animals. I hope you will find them inspiring!
One of the Lucky Ones! by Mirja Bishop
She sat in the corner of her run looking at the wall but every now and then sneaking a peak towards the front. Her eyes gazed at the floor almost as if she couldn’t deal with the reality around her. Dogs were barking and jumping up against the sides of their enclosures. She sat and stared not understanding what this was all about.
She was a sandy colored terrier mix named Petunia and reported to be 3 years old. That was all that I knew about her when I opened the door to her run. She looked at me first with fear, then her eyes softened and stared at me. I sat down next to her and soon could feel her warm body next to me. She leaned against my leg and sat quietly staring straight ahead. I spoke softly to her about how awful this must be. She allowed me to touch her so I gently stroked her coarse terrier fur. Treats were accepted without hesitation. That was a good beginning. As I sat quietly with Petunia, I realized how totally overwhelmed she was with her surroundings. The barking, the clanging of doors, the sight of dogs being taken back and forth, the sound of voices were too much for this little one to understand.
Later I learned that this was her first day at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. She had been transferred here from the South LA Shelter where on April 25 she was surrendered by her owner. Petunia was pregnant, probably full term, and for reasons that I don’t understand she wasn’t wanted anymore. The puppies were aborted and her pregnancy was over – just like that! Thus began the journey that would eventually bring her to a shelter where her chances for adoption were greater.
On subsequent visits to the animal shelter where I volunteer, I would always stop to see Petunia and give her a treat. She was usually sitting at the entrance to her run staring straight ahead. She seemed to have come to terms with her existence. Petunia enjoyed being taken out to the grassy play area where she could romp and jump around on the grass like the happy puppy that she had once been. Unfortunately all of that would end soon enough when it came time for her to return to her run.
I felt certain that someone would adopt this sweet, cute little dog with the beard and the giant eyes accentuated by a dark circle making them appear even larger. She was the kind of dog that people like to adopt. She was medium sized, she was young and she was gentle. What else could anyone ask for? The days went by and still she waited.
On May 20 one of the other volunteers said words to me that would repeat in my head over and over for the next few days, “Mirja, this is your dog.” I had been waiting so long for another dog, waiting for what I don’t know, but waiting! I had seen many a dog that I had considered adopting but I was unable or unwilling to make a commitment and just DO it. I had become spoiled with the freedom that comes with no animal responsibility and yet I yearned for a dog of my own. On Friday May 22 when I awoke, I told myself that if she was still available I would adopt her. Well the rest is easy to figure. Petunia was renamed Sandi and on May 22, 2009 she became my dog.
As I type this story I look down at Sandi as she sleeps next to my chair. This is now the house where Sandi lives. She has stolen my heart and the heart of everyone she meets. She is a loving, silly, cute, friendly little girl who likes nothing more than to have her head scratched or her chest rubbed. She runs or rather lopes around her backyard; she chases the squirrels out of her yard and enjoys rolling in the grass. There are the walks around the block or better yet the walks in the park. There are people everywhere that she can lean against and whose hearts melt when she looks at them with her large doe eyes.
Yes, it took a long time for me to make the decision to adopt, but now I know why. Sandi was the dog meant for me and I was meant for her. I am truly the lucky one!
Mirja and Sandi at home!
Adopt, don't shop! Visit your local shelter and save a life today! www.laanimalservices.com