Shady Dog Pet ID: 1025
My hang out: Scottsdale, AZ
My mug shots …
Here’s my story …
When I first entered the animal rescue I was met with immediate disappointment. Behind me Jeremy, my younger autistic brother, bounced around flailing his arms as was his usual stim. The clap of his flip flops colliding with the tile floor echoed through the near empty mall. My eyes scanned the former dog and cat store, taken over and converted to a rescue by the Animal Welfare League a few years go, seeing nothing but empty kennels. Other than the volunteers my brother and I were the only patrons.
To be honest, we didn’t enter with the intention of adopting a dog. Jeremy had a fear of dogs ever since he was bitten by the dog of one of his therapists. Though he grew up with our two family dogs, this phobia continued to plague him. Even his school which introduced service dogs for the children were scorned by my brother. But I knew my brother would benefit from having a dog in his life. I had seen the impact dogs can have on people with special needs.
We were soon approached and greeted by a kind looking young volunteer named Patrick. He offered a warm, welcoming smile and asked if we would like to look at any of the available dogs; three in total.
I explained my brother’s condition to him: Jeremy being autistic meant that he stimmed a lot. This stimming often frightened both people and dogs alike. Older dogs would be turned off by Jeremy’s sporadic jumping and growling, so we were hoping to look at a younger dog.
Patrick apologized and informed us the youngest dog available was just over two years old, and was timid in nature. I mulled it over with Patrick and settled on seeing the dog. Even though I was certain there wasn’t going to be a positive response, I knew it would behoove Jeremy to gain more exposure to some dogs to help him with his fear.
Patrick led us to a room before retrieving the dog. He returned with a lovely young Staffonshire with brindle coat and luminescent amber eyes. It’s pink tongue flapping around the black lips of its mouth. At just over two years old this was the youngest dog in the rescue.
Jeremy responded by jumping and growling; his left arm flailing in the air. The Staffonshire recoiled and fretted away, slinking into Patrick’s legs.
The terrified dog was quickly removed from the room. I felt a little disappointed. I knew Jeremy’s response was due in part because he didn’t want to interact with the dog. It was a friendly creature, and would make a wonderful addition to a family, just not ours.
The next dog Patrick brought in was a small, blonde mix with white whiskers jutting out of his long face. His chocolate eyes big and round like two large scapolites. His first instinct was to perch himself onto my lap and rest his head against my knee. A lovely dog, soft to the touch and one that provided a sense of comfort. He would be an excellent companion, but Jeremy started jumping and growling again, causing this dog, much like the other, to scurry away in fear.
I discussed with Patrick the possibility of seeing the third dog. He explained the third dog was extremely delicate and sensitive. It would be unwise to bring it into a room with Jeremy. He didn’t know how the dog could respond, and wished to avoid any negative repercussions. I agreed and thanked him for his help. I took Jeremy by the hand, telling him I was going to take him to get the cupcakes I promised him at the Wildflower next door.
After we left the rescue one of the volunteers called to us and told us they were getting more dogs including some puppies within the hour. I asked Jeremy if he wanted to come back to see the puppies. He said yes, though I doubted he meant it. He was more eager to devour a few cupcakes and would provide me any answer that would quicken his seizure of the deleptable pastry.
After lunch we returned, only this time the rescue was packed with people. I took my brother by the hand and led him to the counter where I found the volunteer who told us about the shipment of puppies.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “But all the puppies are currently being looked at.”
I thanked her and with my brother left the rescue. We were almost at the escalator when Patrick ran us down.
“Glad I caught you,” he said. “I wanted to let you know one of our puppies just became available if you want to see it.”
“How about it, Jeremy?” I asked. “Do you want to see the puppy?”
“Yeah, I want to see the puppy. I want to see the puppy, Paul,” said Jeremy.
We followed Patrick back inside where he led us to the room we sat in earlier. There I waited, sitting in one of two chairs while Jeremy sat across from me. I looked out the window at the people passing by. I noticed one of the volunteers in the back carrying a little black and tan puppy to the kennel across from me. His eyes darted around, finding himself placed in the kennel.
He sniffed the floor, hearing the door slid shut behind him. He lunged at the back with his ears propped up, yapping as if to say, human, human you left me in here. Human! Come back humans!
Not a moment passed when a young man and his girlfriend passed by. The man tapped against the outer glass. The puppy, realizing he was being admired jumped up with his paws spread out as if to offer the strangers a friendly hug. The couple laughed and moved on. The puppy’s eyes followed them as if to ask where they were going.
The volunteer soon returned and the puppy happily leapt back into his arms, ready to vacate the confines of his short lived prison.
I watched as the volunteer carried the puppy our way. The puppy’s eyes surveying the room, engorging himself on the affections of every passing patron who showered him with pets and awe of how adorable he was.
The volunteered entered, the puppy’s ears propped upon seeing me and my brother. Little, black ears flopping over themselves, framing his chestnut colored eyes. He had the appearance of a black and tan German Shepherd dog with a slick ebony coat with beige fur on his legs and chest. His beige chin complimented by two beige spots above his eyes like eyebrows.
He didn’t bark, but instead eagerly licked the palms of my hands when I reached for him. He settled himself in my lap, avidly sniffing any section of my legs his nose could reach.
I held him out to my brother asking him to pet the dog.
“No,” said Jeremy. “I don’t want to.”
“Here,” I said standing up and holding the dog out to him. “Pet the puppy.”
“No Paul,” Jeremy laughed.
He may have resisted, but his grin and chortle indicated he was enjoying himself. He did reach out patting the puppy on the head briefly before retracting his hand. The puppy desperate to offer licks.
Jeremy stood shot up to his feet and began to jump and growl–back to his stim. I half anticipated the puppy would be horrified much like the previous dogs. To my amazement, not only was the puppy not frightened, he leapt from my lap and bounced over to my brother. When Jeremy stopped the puppy sat by his feet, ears propped and head cocked as if to ask why my brother stopped playing.
“No dog,” said Jeremy scooting away from him.
The puppy began to chase after him.
“No, no, no, no dog,” Jeremy said, running behind me.
The puppy continued to chase him. Jeremy jumped again, his growl even louder. In turn the puppy responded by jumping up at Jeremy’s feet, nipping playfully at his ankles. No matter where Jeremy scuttled off to, no matter whether he jumped or growled or flailed his arms, the puppy responded happily.
I picked the puppy up, seeing Jeremy might be agitated by all the teasing. The puppy made a quick crawl on my legs to near my brother, but I held him back. Soon he complied and rested his head against my leg; his eye attentively set on Jeremy.
“You want to hold him?” I asked Jeremy, carrying the puppy over to him.
Jeremy lifted his arms, “No, no, no.”
He said no, but he didn’t mean it. I rested the puppy into his lap and he began to pet it.
It was at this moment I knew we were not leaving the rescue without this dog. This was our dog.
I pulled out my phone and called my mother.
“Mom, it’s Paul. Listen, you know how I said I was taking Jeremy to the rescue to look at dogs?”
“Well, I found the perfect one. You have to see him. He’s a German Shepherd mix and he’s really taken to Jeremy. You have to come down here and meet him. When’s your lunch?”
“I”m sorry Paul I took an early lunch at 10. I won’t be able to come see the dog until I get off work at 5.”
I turned to Patrick.
“How long are we allowed to stay in the room?” I asked him.
“As long as you want,” he said. “But adoptions close at five.”
“Okay mom, we’ll wait for you.”
“Paul, it’s only just passed noon. I can’t get there until after 5. Are you sure you want to wait that long?”
“It’s five hours.”
“Are you sure?”
“Mom, this is Jeremy’s dog. We’re not going to find another like it. I’m going to adopt this dog, but I want you to meet him first.”
“You’re absolutely sure? Okay.”
I hung up the phone.
For the next five hours we sat in that room, the puppy sleeping much of it. Any time Jeremy returned to one of his outbursts the puppy was alert and ready to chase.
While we were waiting I picked up my phone and called my father, a pilot who at the time was on layover in Amsterdam. I took a picture of the puppy and texted the image to my father.
Cute, my father texted me.
Just to let you know, I’m adopting this puppy and he’s going to be staying at your place for the next two weeks while I’m at work.
Wait what? My father texted.
Patrick was kind enough to watch the two of them for me as I left a few times to purchase Jeremy a few frozen lemonades, pretzels and cupcakes as bribes to keep him in the room. But hey, he had his treats and he was content, and I was content, and the puppy was content.
By five the crowds had diminished. My mother walked in and found us sitting in the room. I showed her the puppy, letting her hold him in her hands.
“He’s cute,” she said. “But don’t you want to look at any of the other puppies first?”
“No,” I said. “This is our dog.”
“Okay, but haven’t you looked at the other puppies? How do you know this is the one?”
“This is the one.”
She asked the volunteer to bring over one of the other puppies. A sweet little girl who had been the admiration of my many of the passing patrons. Unlike her brother she had more of an Antolian Shepherd, and was full of energy. But my heart and decisions was made.
Unfortunately, the time to adopt had expired and I would need to return the next day. I told them I would be back first thing. My mother reminded me she had worked the next morning, and needed me to watch my brother for her since his school was on Spring Break. She let them know she would take an early lunch and return to adopt the puppy.
The next morning at exactly 10 I received a phone call from my mother.
“Someone’s looking at your dog,” she said.
“I got here at 10 and waited for them to open, but they said this old lady got here first and now they are showing her the dog! I tried to tell them I already had the intention of adopting but they told me it was something stupid like first come first serve.”
“Tell her she can adopt the sister, that puppy is Jeremy’s!”
I didn’t waste another moment. I went to Jeremy’s room, finding him on his computer.
“Come on,” I said grabbing some clothes for him. “We have to go to the mall to get your puppy.”
“Paul take a shower? You can take a shower Paul,” my brother protested.
I raced to the mall, speed limits be damned. This was a matter of possibly losing out on our family dog and there was no way I was about to let that happen.
My mind became flooded with questions: how much could I bribe this old lady to give us the dog if she does adopt him? Can I convince her she is depriving an Autistic child of his dog be enough for her to hand him over? Would a judge rule in favor of justifiable homicide?
We reached the mall. I ran up the escalator as fast as my feet would carry me, dragging Jeremy behind with me. Once we reached the top of the escalator I saw my mother exiting the rescue, holding the puppy in her hands.
The puppy looked at her as if to ask where this woman was taking him. He soon spotted me and my brother. He struggled to free himself from my mother’s grip. I reached out to grab him from her as he jumped at Jeremy. I managed to catch just as soon as he left my mother’s hand.
The young puppy frantically began to flap his tongue about ready to shower my brother in kisses. His boy had returned to him! His buddy, his new playmate.
I held him out for Jeremy, allowing the puppy to lick his hands and for my brother to pet him.
We had him now. He was where he belonged.
Author – Paul B.
Shady Pet Awards/Notes:
- Rescue Pet
- Service Pet