A long time ago I had a different family. There was a lady and a man and four kids and I remember they were so excited when I first got there. We played and wrestled on the floor and they gave me treats and asked what they should name me. But I wasn’t there very long before I had to pee, I was only little and it was such a long ride. I didn’t know the rules yet but apparently I did something wrong because the lady got mad. She started yelling and swatting at me with a stick with bristles at the end and there was more yelling and then I was shoved outside. It got dark after a while and I didn’t know how to bark yet but I cried so they would remember I was there but they didn’t come back. I remember it got pretty cold that first night and I was so hungry and thirsty. But the next day the sun came out and the kids came outside! I heard them come out the door and I whined and they came over to the side of the porch where the man had put up a little wall to keep me in. One of the boys had a bowl of food and I gulped it down but I must have eaten it too fast because some of it came back up. And the lady was yelling again but then they had to go somewhere and they put me back in that little part of the porch and all left. They were gone for a long time, it was almost dark again when they got back and the lady told the kids there wasn’t time to play with me they had to get ready for bed. But she brought me some more food and water and then went inside and I was alone.
I spent a lot of days like that, I don’t really know how long. Sometimes the kids would play on the other side of the house and I couldn’t see them from my little spot on the porch but I could hear them. After I learned how to bark I would let them know I was there but even though I could hear them, they must not have been able to hear me on the other side because they didn’t come over. It got warmer and I was glad that the nights were not cold but it was so dark and then it got pretty hot. Sometimes it was scary, I would hear all kinds of sounds, but after a while I got used to it and was only scared every once in a while. The lady and man and kids and I didn’t spend a lot of time together but I was glad when we did, I tried to listen to all the rules so they would like me and the lady wouldn’t yell.
One day I was in my spot on the porch when two people drove up in a car. The lady was outside and looked relieved and was pointing to me when she spoke with them. A new lady got out of the car and came right up to me and started petting me and talking like she was happy to see me. Then a man came up and told me what a good looking dog I was and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. I was nervous, I hadn’t been in a car in a long time, maybe since I first came to live with the family, but I wagged my tail and gave him a lick. The man put a little loop around my neck and helped me get in the car and the lady got in the back with me. One of the kids came over and said goodbye and I barked so the others would hear but they kept playing and didn’t say anything to me. The man got in the front seat and we drove for a while and then he stopped at a place with a big field of green grass and a stream and a pond. We walked all over and I sniffed everything and chased an animal with a bushy tail that the man called a squirrel. Then we got back in the car and the lady said we needed to stop at a store for a collar because the one I had was way too small. I didn’t know what a collar was but when we got to the store the man took the little loop off my neck and put a bigger one on, I’d never been anywhere that needed a collar and I guess I got too big. We walked around and I got to say hello to a few other dogs, then we picked out a sqeaky ball and a chew rope and a big bag of food. We got back in the car and drove a while longer until we pulled up to a house I didn’t recognize, it didn’t have a porch but there was a big tree in front and a sidewalk and a lot of people walking up and down, some with other dogs or little humans. The lady opened the door and the man helped me up the steps – I never had to learn steps before! – and there was a little black dog standing there. He sniffed me and the lady told him to say hello to his new brother.
My humans told me that some families just aren’t meant to have pets for a lot of different reasons, but that they are not always smart enough to figure that out before they bring one home. It took me a while to learn the rules with my new family and I made them mad sometimes, but I think we worked out most of those issues. They got a big metal crate and stuffed it with a comfy blanket and a toy and helped me know where I could go pee and where I should never go. That was really the big one and sometimes the lady would get mad and I thought maybe they would make me sleep outside even though they don’t have a porch, but they never had and the man assures me they never will. At night my humans sit on the couch together and my brother and I squeeze in around them and they pet us and tell us how good we are. Sometimes the lady even kisses me on my snout, although the man tells her he won’t because he knows where my nose has been. Some of my favorite times are when the little humans are around, they like to throw the ball for me to chase and we go for long walks and make trips to the dog park and use me for a pillow when they are tired. I’ve learned tricks and get food and plenty of water and cookies for being good or just because, and my mom cuts my hair and sometimes finds a bandana for me to wear, and my dad rubs that spot on my belly that drives me crazy. Sometimes I remember my first family and hope they are happy. I know I am.