How one dog finds real love.
I wonder why I wasn’t enough.
That was the thought that went through my head every night as I laid in my kennel, listening to the other dogs around me.
If you’d asked me before that, I would have told you everything was great. I had a home, a place to sleep and people who loved me.
Or so I thought.
I tried so hard. I really did. I thought I was being good.
Sometimes I would make messes on the floor, but that was only when I was left alone for so long. It’s hard to hold it for ten hours.
Mom and dad didn’t seem to understand and they’d get so mad at me.
I felt really awful about myself, but the next night they’d let me snuggle with them on the couch when we watched TV so I hoped they’d forgiven me.
I was always happy to see them when they came home from work. Even on the nights when they pushed me away.
I ate all my food like a good boy. A lot of nights they didn’t really seem to notice.
Still, I thought I had a good life. I thought they loved me.
I’d heard talk about realtors and sentences that ended in “for the new home,” but I really didn’t see it coming.
When we got in the car together, I figured it was a family trip. We’d taken those when I was younger and it was always so much fun. Mom and dad would laugh and kiss me and we’d play. I was so excited I almost couldn’t stand it.
Even when we pulled up to the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, I still didn’t get it.
Mom and dad told the people words like “moving” and “can’t take” and they didn’t even look back when they left me with the Animal Care Technician who took me to my kennel.
Late at night, when it was dark at the shelter, I liked to think they didn’t look back because they were so upset. On the bad nights I didn’t believe it.
I was really sad and I know the people at the shelter sensed it. I wasn’t good enough for mom and dad and I did the best I know how.
There’s no way I would ever be good enough for anyone else.
One of the staff members was super nice to me. She took me to the outside run and let me sniff the grass for as long as I wanted and told me how sorry she was that my mom and dad left me.
I was so scared of getting close to her because I knew I would just let her down, too.
I just wasn’t good enough.
But the thing is, she never seemed mad at me — no matter what my kennel looked like when she came to see me. She never pushed me away when I bumped her hand with my nose.
She let me kiss her face and she always kissed me back.
I really looked forward to the time we spent together. It was nice to feel important to someone.
Then one day she did the strangest thing. She put me in a car — I was pretty sure it was hers — and she had papers in her hand that said “adoption” on them.
She turned around in the seat and looked me in the eye and said, “It’s gonna be you and me now and you will never be left again. I promise.”
And you know what? She was true to her word.
She and I are best friends and have been together for the last ten years. I never have to worry about being good enough. Ever.
She kisses me every night when she gets home. Every. Night.
I can sometimes tell she’s in a bad mood or stressed out, but she never pushes me away. Never.
She always has time for me and tells me I’m a good boy and that I’m the best thing that ever happened to her.
One night as we both are just about ready to drift off to sleep — I’m beside her in the bed, of course — I realize that with mom, it’s not about being good enough.
Because she loves me for exactly who I am.