Before I knew it, we were standing in front of a puppy shaped entrance leading to the shelter. I felt a rush as I lightly pushed open the glass entrance doors, and we were greeted by long corridors of cages and stacked glass boxes on either side of a maroon reception desk. I felt a small ping in my heart when I saw all of these animals crammed into uniform enclosures, regardless of their stature. I had always yearned for a dog, and most importantly I wanted to rescue one from such horrid conditions. After five years of mercilessly begging, my dad said we could visit, and only visit an animal shelter to look around. I really saw no point in doing so because it didn't help my cause, but by then it was already settled. By 9 am the next day, we would venture to the animal shelter so I could gawk at a load of pets I couldn't have.
There were approximately 50 cats and a mere 9 dogs in the facility, but one caught my sight. He was a large brown pitbull with a dopey smile, his tongue drooping out of his mouth to the right. As I neared, he lept up so that his paw rest upon the glass underneath my hand. My eyes went wide as I turned to ask my dad if we could bring him home, but the words stayed stuck in my throat as he told me that pitbulls were vicious creatures. I never understood why my family hated pitbulls so much, especially ones as derpy as this one. Their hatred burned with a firey passion that even the fire from the pits of hell couldn't compare with, but I knew there was no point in arguing. I sulked away from tank- the glorious dog I wished to take home- and wandered around some more. No matter how hard I tried, I gravitated toward tank. I knew it was time to leave.
Our second destination- Dakin Humane Society- seemed more promising. They had many more animals and I couldn't help but once again feel pity for these animals. While the cats were given whole rooms to prowl in, the dogs were given 1x5 foot stalls. The dogs coward in their cages unfed and unwashed. All seven of them were in poor condition and most of them were above the age of 10.
As I ventured further into the shallow room, my ears were violated by a shrill bark. I eventually identified the source of the noise; a small, 18 year old dog aptly named scruffy. She had matted down fur and crooked teeth, but she was still kicking. Her mouth admitted a continuous string of barks that sounded like the coughing of a long term smoker. Situated next to scruffy was a one year old golden labrador that had been retrieved from texas two days prior. By his appearance I could tell that he was underfed and miserable due to scruffy's shenanigans. I sat criss cross in front of the cold steel bars separating us. The closer I got, the more I noticed. He had a black patch of fur on the top of his golden head along with one on his tongue to match. The marks resembled a spilt ink well sprawling out on an unforgotten writer's desk. His ears folded to the side limply as he let out a shaky sigh. Doing so revealed a small burn mark above his right ear. He seemed quite scared of everyone, but as I sat there he didn't flinch. Instead he weakly lifted his head to so that his nose and my hand met. I gave him a few treats which he willingly accepted. I was in my own world. Just me and the dog I learned was named sebastian.
The peace and quiet was eventually destroyed by a shrill call and a pointing hand that had accidently hit the back of my head. A little girl squealed and pointed to the dog in front of me. Sebastian whimpered and condensed into a smaller ball. Time was moving so fast I didn't know how to react. Her parents peaked their heads into the room as I sat on the floor listening to the shrill voices of a happy family. It hurt. Even though I didn't want to, I had to give up. I had decided maybe it was fate. Maybe I wasn't meant to have a dog and maybe I didn't deserve the happiness of having one.
Defeated, I stood to make way for the Dakin employee, equipped with release forms and a leash. I looked back one more time to watch her unlock the cage. I watched as she dragged the dog to its feet, harshly wrapping the leash around its neck, and handing it over to the privileged girl waiting with her grubby hands open wide. As I dragged my feet to the lobby, I heard the parents voice once more
“Let the girl have him.”
I was disgusted that she was the one to be given the dog as if he was an object. I returned my gaze forward, scruffy's barks ringing in my ears. I rounded the corner and caught sight of my dad; his face pressed up against the glass of the cat enclosure like a kid peering into the ice cream counter. What was in the room completely baffled me. It was a hefty maine coon cat with a missing patch of fur above his temple. He was an exact carbon copy of my childhood cat; the one I had to give away so I wouldn't have to witness it die. My first instinct was to find his age on his profile: age 19. I sighed in disappointment. It was useless. The air felt heavy as I crossed the complex toward the dogs once more. The closer I got, the louder the shrilling barks became. I kneeled in front of scruffy's enclosure with a scowl. Doesn't she ever shut up? Then I heard a small yelp. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a blur of blonde. There right in front of me was the same cheery ball of fur; tail wagging and tongue hanging. As I went to look for my dad I saw him. Shaking the hand of the same parents and little girl that I now had a higher appreciation for.