Dogs are man's best friend, and the doggie in this story is no exception! Find out how Dusty, aka Danger, completely changed Timothy's life!
One day, I was running to keep my figure. And lately I've also been running to blow off steam. I was engaged to be married and my relationship was seriously on the rocks. That day, I had absolutely no plans to adopt a dog. I was out running, it was hot and I was dying of thirst. I stopped at a shelter to ask for water because it was on my route.
The shelter was overcrowded with a high mortality rate from what the volunteers told me. They introduced me to a dog and told me that if no one adopted him, it was over for him. But I noticed another dog staring at me with his tail wagging. He had one blue eye and one brown eye.
"He's half husky, half Australian shepherd," said a volunteer.Tired from my run and the Texas heat, I took a drink of water and sat under a tree with the dog. He was friendly but he didn't obey me at all. I said, "Sit," and he licked my face. I said "Come" and he left. A few moments later, he lay down next to me and put his nose against my knee. I thought maybe he would be a good running partner.
Being a teacher, I travel a lot. I don't have much time or money for a pet. But, out of curiosity, I took a look at the dog's file anyway. He had been abandoned by an old lady under the pretext that he was following her around the house...
The decision that changes everything
At least he wasn't dangerous! I put an option on Dusty until the next day while I thought about the damage he could cause in my life. I would have to pay a deposit for the apartment, buy chew toys, feed him, get him vaccinated... Plus, I was out of town twice a week, so I would need someone to watch him on those days. Someone I could trust with the key to my apartment. Again I thought he could run with me.
The next day arrived. I had important things to do, like shopping for example.I went to the grocery store. It was less than a mile from the shelter, so I promised myself I would stop by and say goodbye to the dog. He would find a family. When I arrived, he was lying curled up on a rubber cot. He was sleeping and shaking while dreaming. But he soon woke up and looked at me with his blue eye and brown eye.
"I'm going to get you out of here," I told him.
I soon discovered that he was not a great runner. He would stop every 3 seconds to eat dead birds or trash. His favorite thing to eat was pizza crusts.He seemed to be fearless, so I started calling him Danger.
A few days later, I had lunch with my friend Jon. He had had a trying week. Jon had just bought a house, his wife was pregnant, and their dog was seriously ill. He had eaten a tennis ball that was now stuck in his stomach. The surgery to save him was going to cost a small fortune.
It was the first time I left my dog alone, and my imagination started to run wild. So I decided to set aside money for canine emergencies: medications, surgeries and any other unforeseen tragedies. I joked that I was investing for his education.
Man's best friend
That winter, my fiancee invited me to her family home near Houston.His mother demanded that we lock the dog in a room with an uncomfortable white tile floor. So we made every excuse possible to take him to the only dog park in the area several times a day. On Christmas morning, we snuck off to the park, and Danger played with an older, limping German Shepherd. He belonged to an old Russian gentleman. "Every Christmas, Sasha and I come here," he said. "She's my best friend. In fact, she's my only real friend." I understood exactly what he meant.
When we got back to Austin, I bought a bed. Since I was 13, I had only slept on a futon on the floor. I chose a very low bed, so that my dog could get on it easily, even when he was as old as Sasha. It was compensation for the cold tile floor he had to sleep on. The following winter, my fiancee told me that she was expecting a child with another man. When I found out, I wanted to get drunk and punch the walls. But my dog wanted to go outside and play. So that's what we did. We snuggled together in front of the TV, and Danger licked the tears that ran down my face. He was the reason I made it through.
The next day I called Jon to ask for his real estate agent. It was time to find a real house in a better neighborhood for Danger. I had never liked the idea of buying a house. I soon realized that the banks didn't like the idea of me buying a house either. But I had enough savings to buy a small apartment. I just wanted a quiet place with big windows so Danger could see out when I was away. Our real estate agent found exactly what I asked for, plus a dog park next door. And I finally bought a couch. I chose it very low, so that Danger and I could watch TV together, comfortably.
Now I can't run like I used to. I've gained weight. I eat pizza every Friday night while watching TV with my dog. I call it our "movie night". My dog feasts on the crusts of my pizza. He never sees the whole movie. Danger always falls asleep with his nose against my knee. He shakes in his dreams and when it's time to go to bed, I call him "Dusty, come on". And he does come. I finally realized that he only comes when I use his real name!