My Romeo, My Miracle This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

One morning while driving with my mom in her beat-up, paint chipped jeep, my sister gave me a call. She asked me if I would rescue a dog. I already knew my mom would say “No, are you crazy?” because we already owned a dog. However, I let my sister proceed with what seemed to be a futile request. She stated that the dog was abused, rarely fed, never groomed and abandoned owner after owner. My sister exhorted us to save the dog or it would have to go to the pound. I felt such compassion and sadness that I had to do something, anything, to save this puppy. I said “yes.”

My mom and I set out to Massachusetts to see what I had gotten us into. His name was Romeo and he was in such ugly shape that he reminded me of Chewbacca with his long, straggly, caramel hair. He refused to come to anyone and cried for the whole hour and half ride back to our house. Romeo would not come to me, eat his dog food, or let anyone pet him. I would look into his reddish-brown squinty eyes and see that he was in pain. We took him to the vet to get checked and, come to find out, he had never been brought to a doctor before and had to get all his shots that day. This event caused him to be even more reluctant to warm up to others. I thought to myself, “This dog will never change. What am I to do?”

Before Romeo came into my life, I was distant and angry at the world; a lot of things weren’t going well for me. My brother, who I am extremely close to, had left for the army and then deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan region. I had to move from my quiet home in Smithfield back to an apartment on a main street in Cranston. I was not hanging out with the best of people and my performance in school wasn’t to the best of my ability. In pondering, “what am I doing taking on this dog”, I reflected on how I felt when my brother left. I felt abandoned and out of touch with the world. I didn’t think I could go on pretending I was happy when all I wanted was my big brother home, playing video games with me and helping me through life’s problems. Also, I reflected on the situation of moving back to Cranston. I was still going to the same school, but I was leaving the quiet place where I could run around the corner on a hot summer day down to the fishing lake. Another thing I took into account was my so-called friends. They were anything but friends. They disrespected me by trying to pressure me to do illegal activities and used me to gain friends. All this deep introspection made me realize that I could help this puppy have a better life by helping myself have a better life.

I worked with Romeo everyday trying to elicit his trust. Eventually, he gave in by letting me feed him from my hand, he came to me when I called his name, and slept in my bed next to me. The name Romeo fit him correctly. He began cuddling with me every chance he could, even if it meant climbing on my chest and lying on my neck. If I give him a kiss, he comes back with five more. Romeo grabs my hand with his steel-like paw to let me know he wants to be petted. If I’m not paying enough attention to him, he’ll jump in my face like a jack rabbit. Now, when I look into his eyes, I see he isn’t just a dog, he has feelings just like a human. I can tell when he is happy, as when he receives a bone, or sad as when I have to discipline him.

As I’m seeing the changes in Romeo, I also realized something else within myself. I recognized the need to help change people’s opinions on animal abuse and to help get those who abuse away from innocent souls like Romeo. Some people think of animals as strictly animals that cannot tell a story; however, I believe animals can tell a story just like humans. When we look into the eyes of an animal, it’s like looking into the eyes of a child. We can see the emotion running within them and we can tell what kind of life they have. We notice the twinkling stars in their eyes when they see you coming through the house door. We also notice the heart pounding, widening of the eyes when they realize you’re upset with them. Once Romeo had changed, so had I. I no longer wanted to be distant from life. I wanted to enjoy the fullness that life has to offer me.

In a way, by saving Romeo, I also saved myself. I was no longer distant, I began to engage in conversation with people and give them my trust, just as Romeo had done with me. I began to think about my future, and realized what I wanted to do in order to accomplish my goals. Once neglected, Romeo is now in a place that is a caring environment where he doesn’t need to worry about getting fed, walked, groomed, or being loved. It’s not possible to thank Romeo for what he’s done for me, but I bet if he could talk, he’d say “You’re welcome and thank you!”





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