Daddy read me this story and I teared up.  I think my tail actually stopped wagging for a moment.

We did not need a dog. We’re retirees, and we’d just driven from Massachusetts to our new home in Venice, Florida. We’d wrapped some cherished family heirlooms in old blankets, and had pulled them down behind us in a little U-Haul trailer.

When we were done unpacking, we headed down to Suncoast Humane Society in nearby Englewood, just to drop off the old blankets. We were not going into the shelter. We did not need a dog. Our beloved chocolate Lab had died a year ago, but right now, we did not need a dog.

But somehow we didn’t leave. We went into the shelter — just to look around. We passed big dogs, small dogs, old dogs, puppies. They were well cared for, but a shelter’s a shelter, a cage is a cage. And a cage is not a home. They were all barking — except one.

That one was a big dog, very tall and sitting silently, perfectly still. The sign said his name was Major, age two. He was black, with a magnificent bushy tail and a tan mask framing gentle brown eyes. “I like you,” Major’s eyes pleaded. “Please, please take me home with you!”

Then he stood up, picked up his only possession, a rubber porcupine, and offered it to me through the bars of his cage. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and the rest is history.

No, we didn’t need a dog — but we needed this dog. Major’s a Shepherd –Lab, or maybe Shepherd -Lab- Husky. (Maybe “Shlab?” maybe “Shlusky?”) He’s eight now, his beautiful face turning gray. He’s amazingly smart, loyal and funny — and brings us Major joy every single day. And whenever we come home, he greets us at the door — offering us his favorite toy.

Nicole Anninger
Venice, FL
for Suncoast Humane Society, of Englewood, FL