There are only a few times in my life when I didn’t own a dog – when I was in college and when I was in the military. During those times I was blessed to come home to my childhood dog, Rusty. I was around 9 years old when my mother adopted Rusty from our local animal shelter. He was laid back, friendly and always seemed happy to be a part of our family. As a latch-key kid, it was Rusty who greeted me every day after school. When my parents divorced, only Rusty knew what I was truly feeling. When I was 16, my grandmother passed away. I recall walking down the stairs in the middle of the night, only to turn the corner to catch a glimpse of my mom crying and hugging Rusty. We have many pictures of happy times during holidays and birthdays where Rusty photo bombed before photo bombing was even a thing. I don’t believe I truly understood his companionship and unconditional love until I was much older, when Rusty passed. I took his passing hard since he had always been there for me and, in return, only wanted a warm bed, some treats and affection. My family buried him in our back yard with a tombstone that read “Here Lies a Faithful Companion” (although, we all knew he was a member of the family).
In my current household, we have three rescue dogs. Sheba, our grandma, would have a made a great stand in for Sarah McLaughlin’s “In the Arms of an Angel” commercial. We walked past her kennel, she put her big paw on the gate and gave us the saddest puppy dog eyes a two year old boxer mix could portray. We adopted our yellow lab Mattie, five years ago at an adoption event outside of Petco. She was the last dog left in a pen and had the most beautiful pink nose and big eyes. Lucy, our youngest, we fell in love with while on vacation in Mexico. We first saw her on the streets and she was very friendly and trusting. Two days later, on the opposite side of town, she found us again. We flew her home and she has been the most gentle, obedient and loving animal. Best chachki ever! I think about all three of their stories and can only assume the life they previously lived. Mattie loves to steal food, remind us when it’s time to be fed, and there have been many times when I wanted to rename her Marley. Sheba gets along with all dogs, loves people, and if she were seventy-pounds lighter, would prefer to be a purse dog. All three guard our home, make fantastic huggers, work hard for our approval, and love us no matter what.
I would love to continue adopting more animals, but unfortunately time and space currently prohibit that option, so instead, I volunteer. Each animal in the shelter has a story. When I spend time with them (even ten minutes) they are so grateful. I have a great soft spot for animals who have endured pain, loneliness, and abandonment but are still able to find a way to trust, forgive, and love unconditionally. Those are qualities I wish I could master as easily as they have.
The Pflugerville Animal Shelter is small and with the forever growing Pflugerville population, we are seeing an abundant amount of surrenders and strays. Animals are coming into the shelter at a much faster rate than adoptions and fostering. We need more volunteers to walk the dogs, play with the cats and share their story. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, please consider a donation or sharing our PflugervillePetsAlive.Org page.