Elementary school was a mess. Detention after detention after missing out on recess to have to make up for a years worth of reading logs I hadn’t gotten around to. A lack of motivation combined with a lack of stimulation led to a lack of success academically. My parents wanted this to end and I wanted a dog, so though I had never written an essay for english, I wrote six and a half persuasive pages to my parents on why our family needed one. We eventually came to a diplomatic agreement that if I kept anything less than a 90 off my sixth grade report cards, our family would adopt a puppy! Summer rolled around, I was a straight A student and hitting up PetFinder at least twice a day to look at all the adoptable animals near me. Finally, I found the link to a cute West Highland White Terrier puppy with a rescue in the metroplex. I told my parents about this dog, and they contacted Tina, the head of Cody’s Rescue. She claimed that the Westie was unfriendly, and we should adopt a chihuahua named Mason instead. My parents obtained details from her regarding when we could meet the dog, and I waited and waited and waited for that day.
Finally, the much awaited day came, and my mom, dad, brother, and I hopped into our 2002 Toyota Sienna and hit the road. We arrived at the pet store outside of which were the rescue group dogs. I ignored the stink and barking and searched for Mason. My parents asked Tina about him, and she said his foster home hadn’t brought him. I was upset and my parents did not want to embark on another thirty minute long drive to find a suitable pet, so we surveyed the available animals. Most of them were energetically barking from their cages, but one dog was sitting erect not making a peep amongst the chaos. My dad noticed her first and asked Tina for some information. The dog turned out to be Angel, a mix of breeds rescued from a pound after being picked up as a stray. She was two years old and currently living in the company of nine other dogs at Tina’s house. My dad (the most reluctant about getting a dog) liked her, so she was the one we would get.
Two weeks later Tina came and dropped Angel off with a box of kibble and a crate. Tina inspected our backyard and came to the conclusion that if we put Angel out, she would be unable to escape. Tina explained to us that Angel was house trained, crate trained, and good around children and dogs. Tina informed us that Angel was two years old.
Angel quickly became my best friend.
A couple years later, we took her for her vaccinations at the Animal Hospital of Valley Ranch. Dr. Barry Chaikin inspected her fur, paws, nose, breathing, heart rate, weight, and previous health history. He noticed clouds in her eyes and asked how long they had been there. We told him that they had been there since we adopted her. We thought she was four and a half, but he told us that she was at least ten and could be eleven or twelve. I teared up immediately after hearing this and mom my plainly said dogs die too.
What was I expecting? Tina explained to us that Angel was house trained, crate trained, and good around children and dogs. Angel peed on the carpet after only having been with us for a week. We had put Angel in the crate one night, and when we came home only two hours later, her crate was filled with puke and pee and poo. She was sleeping in all of it. Our neighbors had come over with their five and eight year old children, and Angel had scraped her teeth against their skin. On her second walk, we encountered a neighborhood dog, and Angel immediately began to growl and pounce on him despite him being thrice her size. Tina informed us that Angel was two years old. Why would this have been true?
Dr. Barry Chaikin handed us her heartworm medication and ear infection drops, we paid him and left.
I began to hate Tina.
My mom explained to me on the way home that she was the one who didn’t want to get a dog in the first place because her mom had died of ovarian cancer that had been aggravated by her childhood dogs. I was shattered. Prior, I had been led to believe that my dad was the one who was so opposed to the idea of adopting a dog. She proceeded to say that what had just happened was the reason we shouldn’t have gotten Angel. How could she say that with Angel in the car after what had just happened? She knew that I was already upset about the news we had just gotten.
I gave Angel her medicine when we got home.
I began to think of how stupid I was through the whole process of adopting Angel. I shouldn’t hate Tina, I should hate myself. Instead of adopting the picture perfect puppy, I was stuck with a pitiful pompous pooch. I had completely ignored thoroughly inspecting her as I should have done prior to adoption, but I was only a seventh grader. Why did my parents put so much pressure on me for her not being perfect when they had agreed to adopt her?
Now, Angel is house broken and I have learned to love her despite her not being what I want her to be a hundred percent of the time. Everytime she misbehaves, my parents and I will still argue about whose decision it was to adopt her in the first place, but we quickly look past that and resume our activities. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if my parents had never agreed to adopting a dog. I wonder if I would still want to at this point in time. Most of the time I just think about how lucky I am to have any pet. Walking and feeding and bathing her gives me a purpose that I feel like I lacked before adopting her. I have become a much better student than I had been in elementary school, and my parents have become more tolerant of Angel. I think that she turned us into better people, but I won’t know for sure until she leaves us.