This I Believe

January 31, 2018
By , South Orange, NJ

I jumped out of the car and heard my feet crunch in the frosty ground, the noise breaking the eerie silence of the winter night. I picked up my foot and wiped off the--now liquid--snow from the sides. As soon as I exited the car fully, the night sprung into action. I felt little snowflakes delicately land on top of my head, causing it to look as if I had braided them intricately into my hair. I heard my sister open the car door and dash away to our nearby neighbors house, slowly disappearing into the falling snow “I have to go over to Frannie’s house!” she vocalized, now almost completely out of sight, the only trace of her were the deep footprints embedded in the blanket of white on the ground and the back of her jacket which was illuminated by the golden light coming from the tall green gaslights. At that moment, I almost lost my balance when I heard a loud shriek, that I could tell was my sisters. My parents dashed over to see what had happened. Minutes later, they came back, carrying something in their arms which I couldn’t quite make out until they came very close. In my sisters arms was a scruffy dog, whose coat and nails obviously hadn’t been trimmed in at least a year. All it took was one glance for me to decide that we would not be keeping this ugly dog, but little did I know that he would teach me many things in the upcoming years.
      

We bathed him right when we found him, and it was a mess. Once we poured water on him he looked as if he were melting. The weight of the water tugged at his coat and his long hair drooped down at his sides. The smell of wet dog, skunk, and dog poop wafted through the house even days after we finished bathing him. Months went by of searching for his owner. My mom, dad, and sister all tried reaching out to people who had lost their dogs and checking to see if he had a locating chip. My mom even tried posting about him on the towns Facebook page, but we came up with nothing. I was praying that we would find somebody to take him, because I was not amused with the idea of having a second dog, especially one that wasn’t potty-trained. We searched for his owner for a whole year and came up with nothing but a couple of offers to adopt him. At this time, my mom had visibly fallen in love with him, and she wanted to keep him. No matter how hard I begged, she would not budge on adopting him.
      

So, we went through a long process to adopt him. We contacted at least 10 grooming places, and most of them turned us down due to his tangled coat. One actually offered to groom him because they saw his story on Facebook. We had his coat trimmed and his nails clipped, and days of paperwork later we had legal control over the animal--exactly what I was not hoping for. This was the first lesson the dog taught me. You can’t control every aspect of your life, so you must learn to accept change.
      

This whole experience really changed the way I looked at every situation. I started to become more flexible with problems, and the dog started to grow on me. I’m not sure whether it was because of what he was teaching me, or if it was the haircut, but I started to realize how much he was affecting me and my mindset. This dog came into my life because I needed a wake up call that not everything goes your way, and change will always surprise you in the most unexpected time. I believe that everything happens for a reason.






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