Back in November, we ran into this little guy at the local pound.
He was sitting in a corner, shivering in fear atop a cushion soaked in wee-wee. He could barely look up at me when I sat down next to him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an animal so afraid in all my life.
He’d been in the shelter system for at least a couple months, and no one seemed to know where he’d been before that or what his life had been like.
But as I sat next to him and started to gently pet him, he turned his eyes up to meet mine, and they were full of longing. Begging. It’s what dogs do when they’re sitting next to your chair at the dinner table, but his look was more than just asking for a tasty treat. He looked desperate and so, so sad.
I wasn’t in the market for a dog his size or one with his issues. The shelter volunteer told me he wasn’t even housebroken. But when someone — even a dog — looks at you with such sadness and an unspoken plea, you just can’t tell ’em no.
So Lieutenant Barclay the Dowg lives at our house now. And in the past couple months, he’s done amazing things. The first few days, he just slept and slept. Barely even wanted to eat. But we worked with him and comforted him, and slowly, he started coming out of his shell.
Get this, man: Last week, he rode the bus with me to work. Downtown. No problemo. He’s still shy, but he’s not the pathetic little creature I first met. I’m just so glad we were able to give him a happy life.
Funny, though: I was thinking of buying a purebred Maltese right before I met him. I’m so very glad I didn’t. He needed me in a way that a purebred puppy never could, and I’m blessed that I got to meet his needs, even though he’s just a dowg.