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See With Your Heart

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No one's life should ever be this cold and lonely. No one, no matter how cruel or awful, should ever be abandoned. But life isn't fair.

I was born on an arctic winter day, in a little house in the town of Oneida, New York. My mother, a purebred black Labrador, gave birth to four beautiful puppies that day. My father looked exactly like my mother, except for one thing. Under his stomach, he had a little patch of hair missing. Many people thought that it was just a little birth mark or rash, and no one ever dared to question it. That is, until I was born.


All of my brothers and sisters had a solid coat of midnight black fur. They were all claimed and sold before they were able to walk. After my last sibling had left, and no one had even thought about buying me, I knew there was something wrong. I always told myself that one day my perfect owner would come along. But whenever someone came to visit, they always said, 'Look at that dog. He is an eyesore. Why don't you just get rid of him now?'

A few days after I was born, I was playing outside and walked past a mirror. That was the first time I noticed that I was different. I wasn't like my siblings, and I definitely didn't look like any dog I had ever seen. I had barely any hair covering my body, blotchy, pink skin, and little tuffs of hair sticking out in random places. Many people would describe me as a Labrador size Chinese Crested (a hairless, ugly dog).

I woke up one morning after many months of insults with a feeling of hope. As if something good was finally going to happen to me. And I was right.

After lunch time, I heard a knock at the door. An old woman with a birth mark up and down her entire right leg walked in. I could tell she would become someone very close to me. The sparkle in her eye was something I had never seen before. When she looked at people, she didn't judge them by what they looked like. She gave them a chance; a chance was exactly what I needed.

I heard her and my owner talking to each other.


One woman said, 'But people would stare.' I recognized this voice to be my owner's.

'You don't think people stare at me every day? You know how hard it is to watch people point and stare and pretend like it doesn't hurt you?' This voice, for sure, was that of the old lady. It was soft, but it was loud enough to make a point. It floated through the air like velvet and was as smooth as cream. It was the kind of voice that you could fall asleep to, and deeply miss when it was gone.

The next set of events happened in a blur. Coins were thrown down on the table; the old woman hooked a leash onto my collar and pulled me out the door and into her car. When we got to what I assumed to be her house, she looked at me lovingly with a sparkle in her eye. To her, I was no different than any other dog.

The next few weeks were pure luxury for me. I received my own bowl to eat out of, toys, and all the attention I could want. The old woman was not married and her children were probably grown up, so I was the center of her world. For once, someone cared about me.

One day, when my new owner didn't return home from the grocery store, I started to become worried. 'She wouldn't leave me, would she?' I thought to myself.

The phone began to ring, which surprised me and caused me to jump. There was nothing I could do, but wait for the answering machine to pick up. When I did, I heard her voice. Only this time it was quiet, horse, and crackling.

I listened to her message, but couldn't make sense to her words. That night, the door didn't open and the lights were never turned on. When I could no longer keep my eyes open, I curled up under a pile of blankets and fell asleep.

The next morning, a smell of pancakes wafted through the air. I went into the kitchen and found a lady a little bit younger than my owner. She had the same features, except for one thing. Her eyes were black rocks without a hint of sparkle. I could tell from right there she had no heart.

When she looked down and saw me, she screamed and jumped away.

'Filthy rascal! Get out of my sight this instant!' she exclaimed. She grabbed a fork off the table and held it up in the air. 'Move any closer and I'll''

I was used to hearing statements that were cruel and heartless, but what this woman had said would stay with me forever.

Before I knew what was happening, the woman had put my leash on and starting walking down the street with me. Once we were at least a quarter of a mile away from my house and in the middle of nowhere, she slipped my collar off. Then, she ran away from me and I watched her go. She wouldn't let me follow.

What was happening to me? How could this be possible? Where was my owner and why was I on the side of the street? Questions raced around my head and tears filled my eyes. I whimpered as loud as I could, but no one heard me.

I made up many reasons for why I was out here all alone. Maybe my owner's sister never owned a dog before and didn't know how to take care of it. Maybe my owner would come home soon and find me.

Hours passed and reality sunk in. I was homeless, all alone, and abandoned.
I spent the rest of the day searching for food in dumpsters and trying to find a place where I could sleep. Whenever people passed me on the street, they acted as if I had rabies and was just another piece of garbage. Mother's grabbed their children's hands and told them to stay away from me. Other people couldn't even stand to be on the same side of the street as me.


I walked for miles and miles trying to find somewhere to stay. I passed my old house, but no one was home. Finally, I found a cardboard box full of packing peanuts. I curled up inside of it and fell asleep.


The next morning I woke up to the sound of a motor. I peeked over the side of the box to see where I was and my weight caused it to tip over. Packing peanuts spilled across the sidewalk and I shook to get them off of me.


On the side of the road, I saw a mud-colored truck. At first I thought nothing of it. Then, I heard the crying of dogs inside of it. A man dressed in the same brown color as the truck started to walk towards me. He held a net and a few little objects were attached to his belt. I now understood what his purpose was. I ran away as fast as my hairless legs could take me. Since I wasn't sure of my path, I had to look ahead and plan where I was going. This slowed me down a little, but I still managed to get out of the dog catcher's sight. I now found myself in someone's backyard. I hid under a bush until the man's footsteps slowly faded away. After my heart stopped pounding and I calmed down, my stomach started to grumble.


My breakfast consisted of the end of a banana, a quarter of a hamburger, and some stale cookies. Considering that I was able to eat at all made everything taste like it would in one of those fancy restaurants.


I planned to walk back to my owner's house again to check if anyone was home, but on the voyage over, I was stopped by a little girl. She was about 5 years old and had her shiny brown hair pulled back into pigtails. She was dressed in light pink overalls and her socks had beads sewn onto them. She was playing on a driveway with chalk when I first saw her.


'Puppy!' She screamed with delight. She reached her arms out to me and let the chalk drop onto the driveway. 'Puppy! I wanna pet you!'


Without hesitating, I walked up to her with a wagging tail. I made sure not to jump up on her because I didn't want to scare her.


Her warm hands against my cold skin felt soothing. I felt all of my muscles relax and I let out a big sigh.


She asked me what my name was and I replied with a bark.


She giggled. 'I don't speak dog! My name is Natalie and since Natalie sounds like Princess, I'll call you Princess.'


She picked up her piece of chalk and drew a stick figure of a little girl on the driveway. Next to it, she drew a dog with a bow and a funny outfit.


Natalie pointed to the girl. 'This is me.' Then she pointed to the dog. 'This is you. I'm gonna make you look like this.' She smiled and rubbed the top of my head.


She started to walk towards the front door of her house and I followed. Natalie walked into the kitchen, where I saw a tall woman. She looked surprised to see me, but quickly ran up to pet me.


'Natalie, where did this pretty dog come from?' she asked.


Her hands felt just as good as Natalie's.


'I found her,' she replied with a smile.


The woman felt around my neck, but couldn't find any identification. She told Natalie that they would put up signs for me in case I had a home, but if I didn't they could keep me.


Natalie's mother grabbed a phone to call someone and Natalie brought me to see her room. It was pink with translucent shades and had a fluffy bed in the corner.


'We have to give you a bath. You're dirty.'


Baths were never my favorite, but I didn't complain. If I had to take a bath in order to have a home until my owner was found, I would.


Even if it was only for one day, being alone is the worst feeling you could ever have. I would never wish someone to have to go through that, even everyone that made fun of me.


After my bath with raspberry shampoo, Natalie used a blow dryer on me and clipped plastic bows in my little clumps of hair. She took pictures of me and said that I could be a fashion model if I wanted. I barked and wagged my tail in reply.


For lunch, Natalie's mother gave me chicken. A man, who I figured to be Natalie's father, brought me a bag of dog food when he got home near dinner time.


That night, Natalie and her parents watched a movie together. They made a spot for me on the couch to snuggle in with them. I finally felt like I was part of a family, but a part of me still strongly missed my owner. I fell asleep on the couch, but when the movie was over, Natalie's father carried me into her bed. Isn't it amazing how one night I fall asleep in a box as an abandoned dog and the next I'm with a family that loved me from the moment they saw me.



I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding in my stomach. I let out a big sigh of relief. I had dreamed that I was back on the streets again and I had never found the little girl.


I kept telling myself over and over again that it was only a dream. It wouldn't come true. Still, when I went back to sleep, I curled up right up against Natalie. The beating of her heart and her warm breath slowly calmed me down.


The next morning, I had yet again another feast fit for a king. Natalie even gave me a little piece of her pancake. It melted in my mouth like warm butter.


Natalie took a crayon and made a list of what we were going to do. I could tell it was going to be a long day.


First on her list was dress up. I had never done this before, but I went along with it anyway. How bad could a pink boa scarf and some plastic sandals be?


We spent the entire morning dressing me up. When she would take off the clothes, I would lick her on the face, which made her giggle.


At lunch time, Natalie's mother came into her room with a serious look on her face. I begged that they didn't have to get rid of me.


She explained to Natalie that her grandmother was in the hospital. She had fallen a few days ago, but would soon be better.


Natalie burst into tears, probably not understanding what her mom had just said. Salty drops of water fell hard onto my skin. Her limp body fell on top of mine and her mom came over to her.


She explained to her what that meant. After her grandmother was recovered, she would come live with them. All I hoped was that the grandmother would be as nice as Natalie and her family.


Natalie's tears started to dry up and her heart started to calm down again.


I started to feel the urge to go outside, so I ran to the front door. Natalie soon understood what I wanted and slipped a new collar over my head.


The collar was blue and stiff, obviously never used before. It came with a matching leash.


Natalie walked me outside and let me 'do my duty.' Then she grabbed a wagon and told me to jump into it. She wheeled me up and down the driveway in it until her parent's called her inside.


A few weeks passed and none of the lost and found signs were responded to. Natalie dressed me up day after day and took me on walks. It was the most fun that I had ever had.


One day, Natalie's father came hope with a bright and excited face. He said that her grandmother would be able to come home to their house tomorrow. Natalie's face lit up with delight and she danced up and down the hallway with me.


I fell asleep that night dreaming of Natalie's grandmother. I hoped with all my might that she would love me and wouldn't be like the wicked witch of the west.


I woke up that morning first with excitement, but I was also trying to prepare myself for the worst.


The doorbell rang at exactly 1:05 P.M. I had to remind myself not to run up to her or jump. When you're an excited puppy, it's not exactly the easiest thing to do.


Natalie's father opened the door and I couldn't believe who was standing there, the delivery man.


My heart sank. She wasn't here yet. I sulked to the couch and looked out the window. I waited there for another thirty minutes, until I had to take a nap. Once my eyes were closing, I was woken up by the sound of the doorbell.


When the door opened this time, I almost fell over. There in the doorway, standing with a cane, was my owner. I ran up to her and I forgot everything about trying to act calm.


Her massaging, wrinkly hands were so familiar that I forgot where I was. I loved her so much and she loved me, too. My owner didn't abandon me.


My owner didn't ask any questions and neither did I. Right then, I couldn't care less who the lady was that left me all alone and she didn't even wonder how I was in her daughter's house.


At my first veterinarian visit, tests determined that I had a harmless genetic hair problem, but my hair would soon grow in as I got older. Just as she said, when I turned one, I had the silkiest black hair covering, yes, all of my body.


I couldn't believe that now I got to live with all the people that love me more than anything, that don't judge by me what I look like, and would never abandon me.


A family is a precious thing. Enjoy it while you have it, invite people to be in it, and love everyone, no matter what they look like. Happiness and the feeling that you belong is all you can ask for in life.





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