Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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September 15, 2013

09/15/2013 — Lee Ward: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Throwaway animals make best pets

ASHLAND — Having a completely trustworthy, loving friend who will never tell your secrets is a great thing.

You can get one at your local animal shelter. I did.

Some people have the idea that something is wrong with shelter dogs. On the contrary, there usually was something wrong with their owners or else that dog or cat would still have a safe, healthy and happy life with the owner.

It was January 2007 and our beagle was missing. My husband was ill so I said I’d go down to the shelter, which isn’t far from our house, and see if he had been picked up.

While there, I saw the ugliest little dog I’d ever seen. When she saw me, she bounced up and down on her front legs as she snorted and slobbered, her bottom teeth jutting out from her severe underbite.

I went to her and petted her through the cage, but I moved on. I wasn’t there to get another dog; I was there to find the one who was missing.

A week later, I went back, hoping our Rosco would be there. He wasn’t, but the ugly little girl dog named Marcella was still there and again greeted me with snorts, slobbers and protruding teeth.

Again, I petted her and I walked away. But as I drove, I felt a stabbing pain in my chest. I just knew no one would take that little dog because she was too ugly to be adopted. I wanted to cry. But instead, I called my husband to see what he thought about me bringing her home. More of a dog lover than me, he said, “Do what you have to do.”

I immediately returned and got the dog. When she saw me, she went wild with excitement. She was so wild, it was difficult for me to put the leash on her, but I managed to. Then, I went to pay the minimal fee to take her. She continued to jump and prance so much I wondered how I would ever get her into my car and drive home.

But once we got in the car, she sat down in the passenger’s seat and behaved like a little lady.

When we got home, shortly after the other dogs had eaten their dinner, Marcie walked into the house and greeted the other dogs as though she’d known them all her life. She fit right in. And she didn’t seem as ugly as she did when she was in a cage.

Now, six years later, my girl is comfortable, happy, healthy and independent. She barks to let me know something’s happening outside. She’s friendly and sweet to my guests and she sometimes gets in bed with me to watch television, cuddle or nap.

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Start thinking about it now.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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