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Howling My Name

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One hundred twenty two. One hundred twenty three. One hundred twenty four. The curser continues blinking as I stare like a zombie at the blank screen. WHAM! The idea finally explodes in my head like an unapproved science experiment in the Chemistry room. Fingers flying, I type the slogan before it has a chance to escape my easily distracted mind.

“You wouldn’t kill your dog. So why kill their cousin?”


I sit back and admire my work. After hours pondering my thoughts, I completed the design. As I stare at the screen, I wonder if I really want to do this. Do I really want to risk becoming the weird girl again? Destroying my name? I can see the disaster now, as if Hurricane Katrina was nearing Wisconsin. Then I stop and the little voice in my head yells, “Since when do you care what other people think of you?!?” The little voice was right.


The next day I arrive at school, not sure where to even start this process. I lumber over to my friends and ask the question. “Would you guys want to buy a shirt?” What am I doing? Then, because of some unwritten friend code, they exclaim excitedly, “Yeah!” “How much?” I cringe. “Sixteen dollars” ... I hear myself say and try to justify. They sign the sheet anyway. I already had five down.



Throughout the day, the question got easier. The rejections were frequent and awkward, but ever name I got after made me keep going. The week flew on. The list got longer. The money stack got taller. I was doing this. The more I sold, the happier I became.



Friday comes. I sit at the computer and bellow for my mother downstairs, more so my mother’s credit card. She reluctantly walks in, eyes still questioning. But there was no changing my mind. I wanted this, to do this, and I was going to make it happen. The submit button was hit. They were coming.



The shirts finally came. They were a sky blue color with black words on the front and the face of a wolf on the back with more black words. I loved them and was overcome with a feeling of pride. I walked into school Monday with my shirt on and saw many others had worn it too. I understood this would give people more reasons to add to the list of weird things under my name. More reasons not to like me. More reasons to taunt. I didn’t care because that is part of the job of your name. To lead a long list of things, that together, make up your ‘reputation.’ I didn’t care. I stopped caring what others thought freshman year because who are they to make fun of someone who is not afraid to stand up for what they believe in? I didn’t care.


In my sschool, my name may bring different reactions. The weird girl. A best friends. A good student. But in that moment, the most common was probably the girl who sold the crazy shirts. Yet, I smile at that. Because I knew that if the wolves that my donation saved could know the name of their guardian, it’d be looked up too. Because that name, Rachel, took a chance and saved lives.





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