by Jayson Kimberly, Age 15, Montgomery, Texas
The following is a story submitted for the DWAA’s Young Writers on the Web program.
In the fall of 2019, I was invited by Abandoned Animal Rescue (AAR) of Magnolia, Texas, to participate in “A Night in the Dog House,” a unique event to raise funds for their rescue animals. Volunteers would spend a night with a dog in a kennel, so humans could experience the shelter world through a dog’s eyes.
I was grateful that they reached out to me to take part and could not wait to tour my 12-hour living quarters. Upon arriving, I was greeted by some fantastic volunteers who spoke about the event as we walked toward the indoor kennel room. All the dogs were excited to see us, barking and wagging their tails as we walked in.
As I rounded the corner, I saw a beautiful brown Pitbull mix lying on a dog cot in a kennel. I looked at her information sheet and learned that her name was Summer and that she had been at the shelter for a long time. She and a fur friend were brought to the rescue together. Her friend got adopted soon after.
The volunteers noticed my interest in Summer and asked if I would like to step inside and say hello. As I entered, I bent down and introduced myself to her. She looked at me with her big, brown eyes as if she wanted to respond but could not. She obviously enjoyed the company because she was jumping all over me and giving me kisses.
Even with the short time I spent with her on the tour, I had trouble understanding why she hadn’t been adopted. Was it because she was a pit mix? I never could figure it out, but I knew she was special and had love to share with everyone. Even though someone had thrown her away, she still had hope that there was someone out there who would want her.
I promised her if she wasn’t adopted by the time the event took place, I would share the kennel with her.
Summer stayed on my mind after I left the shelter. I wanted her to be adopted and have the love given back to her just like she gave to me in the short time I was with her. I saw her joy having me in the kennel, and I felt sad having to leave her behind.
Weeks passed, and I raised thousands of dollars for the rescue with Summer as my focus. I shared her photo over and over in hopes someone would adopt her before the event, but that wasn’t meant to be.
That day, I arrived with a lot of stuff to decorate in hopes I could make Summer’s kennel more like a home for her. I brought blankets and pillows, dog toys, treats; I even brought pajamas for her and me.
Summer had an indoor-outdoor kennel, so while I decorated inside, she patiently waited outside. When we finally let her in, she was excited to see the newly decorated kennel and see me again. I could tell by her reaction that she hadn’t expected something like this and really wanted more attention and love. I quickly dressed her in her pajamas and gave her the toys and a few of her treats. As I was giving her these, I wondered if she had ever had any toys of her own. I laid down in the kennel, trying to imagine what it was like for her without everything I had brought. The floor was cold, hard concrete. She had a cot but nothing else.
I thought about the show she had to put on as strangers walked by just to get attention, competing with the other dogs. I felt sad for her, wanting to give her the things she has been without all of her life. Luckily, I had plenty of blankets, treats, and all the other things she needed to be happy through the night.
Since I could not adopt her because of my five dogs, I did the best I could to get her out there, sharing her pictures throughout the night.
After falling asleep, I had learned that she had soon laid down next to me, drifting to sleep.
The next morning, I woke up to good and bad news. The good news was I had won the dog-tired award as I was the first person to fall asleep. But I was also faced with the fact I would soon be saying goodbye to Summer again.
I gave her all the treats and hugs I could and promised to share her picture until she had a home. I really didn’t want to abandon her, but I knew she would get adopted soon.
A Life She Deserves
Not long after that AAR called to tell us that my wish had come true. Summer had gotten her forever home.
It’s been over a year now, and I still think about her, so I reached out to AAR for an update. Here’s what her owners said: “It’s hard to believe Summer has been with us almost a year! It has been great, and she is the perfect fit for our family! She loves to snuggle, play, lay in the sun, and go for walks. She had gotten really spoiled with all the time we spent with her over the Coronavirus break but has since adjusted to us going back to work. We believe the only reason she was with AAR for so long is because she was waiting on us to find her!”
I was thrilled to see her again through all of the pictures they sent, and I was as happy as when I had spent the night with her.
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