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Grisabella This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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As a longtime dog owner and active volunteer at my local animal shelter, I have met many extraordinary animals. But no dog has touched my heart like Grisabella, whose story began on a rainy day in March.

I was braving the weather to walk some of the dogs at the shelter, but I was already envisioning myself at home curled up by the heater. As I walked by a building, I saw movement behind a garbage can. Taking a closer look, I saw a thin dog with a green fungal infection and weeping sores that covered her body. The dog was too weak to get out of the rain, but she managed to wag her tail and give my hand a friendly lick.

“I'll come back for you,” I told her. “Just stay where you are.” I prayed that she would listen.

All night long, I was tortured by thoughts of the dog. I had never seen an animal in such bad condition before. The next morning, I begged my mother to drive me back to where I had seen the dog. It was still raining, and I was worried that she might have moved. I desperately wanted to help her. When I returned, the dog was still curled up behind the garbage can.

I quickly put a leash on her and enticed her out with treats. Her legs were bloody and her back was covered in green fungus, and she was afraid to get into my car. So, I walked all the way back to the shelter with the dog, whom I named Grisabella after the character in “Cats.” On that walk, as she slowly limped along, Grisabella and I bonded. I didn't think she would make it, but she trustingly followed me as I sang to her and urged her along. I was so happy when we finally reached the shelter. She was so weak, underfed, and infected that I was sure she would die, but at least she was out of the rain.

But Grisabella surprised me. The next day I came to the shelter, Grisabella was wrapped in a blanket and lying under a heating lamp. When she saw me, she gave an enthusiastic wag of her tail. As the days passed, a miracle took place. Thanks to good food, rest, and medicine, Grisabella was healed of her fungal disease and regained her strength. I still remember the proud day when I took Grisabella for her first walk since she came to the shelter. This time, she did not limp haltingly but bounded after me with sparkling eyes.

Grisabella and I formed a true friendship. Whenever I went to the shelter, she would bark happily and wag her tail until I played with her. I spent many happy days taking Grisabella for walks, brushing her, and talking to her. I imagined with joy the day she would be adopted.

As the months passed, Grisabella grew stronger and stronger. All signs of her disease disappeared. She was the poster-child of the shelter, greeting everyone with a happy dance. But then one day, I came and Grisabella did not welcome me with a happy dance. The fungal infection had made a reappearance, and I found her covered in blood with most of her hair again missing. Even then, she greeted me with wags and happy whines. I was devastated that Grisabella was sick again, but I left the shelter confident that she would make another recovery.

That was the last time I saw her.

When I came the next week, I learned that my beloved friend had died. I was devastated. Grisabella did not deserve the life that was handed to her, yet she was always cheerful. I am sure that she even met death with a final wag of her tail.

Nothing will ever fill the place in my heart that I gave to Grisabella. She was a model of patience and optimism, and I grieve for her every day. My only consolation is that now she is in a better place, where disease and infection can never harm her and where she will always have shelter from the rain. F

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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JRayeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 6:05 pm:
I'm so sorry about your dog :( But I do think this is a beautifully written tribute to her. The sweetest dog story I've ever read! I think your expirence at the animal shelter is great inspiration for your writting. Keep up the good work! :)
 
IrenieThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
today at 8:06 pm :
Thank you for your kind words :) Have a nice day!
 
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