I hope I never see him again
On Saturday he didn’t seem himself. I don’t know if he had had a bad night or if the shelter life was getting to him, but when I went to take him out for our run, he sort of moped along, obedient, but not his usual dopey, happy go lucky self.
I told myself that when I came back the next day, he and I were going on a road trip.
See, I volunteer for the Animal Rescue League in my spare time. (Ha!) My title is Dog Jogger. My role is to take approved shelter dogs out and run with them so that they get enriched, learn running etiquette and are more conditioned to home life. It’s been so rewarding, I can’t even explain it. Along the way, I fell in love with a dog named Julius. He’s been at the shelter far too long, at least 2 months. Here’s our story.
Sunday I went and got Julius out of his kennel and he was happy as I remember him. Maybe it’s because he recognizes me, but he was so happy he was wagging his whole body. I brought him outside where I had him pee and he expected us to head up Hamilton on our usual route, but this time we went to my jeep and he jumped in without a second thought.
We rode with the windows down and he sniffed every last bit of air that came flying into the jeep.
And he sneezed.
We got to the river, parking just outside the Heinz lofts on the trail side and we got to running. He did so well, even as the trail was heavily congested with runners, bikers and the Sunday strollers. He ignored everyone. Even the guy walking his pittie. And still the lady walking her chihuahua.
But as we were heading back to the jeep, there was a faint rustling in the trees and out of nowhere a goose come charging. That poor goose took one look at Julius and took off, Julius not far behind. I stopped him quickly and laughed because I’ve never heard him whimper or even bark before, but by god, lady, there was a goose! And Julius needed to be friends with that goose. He didn’t bark, but he squeaked for that goose.
I got him back under control and we continued running up the trail, but not a few feet on our jog, did a lady on a bike pass us by asking, “What was he going after?” with a laugh. I told her, “A goose,” and she laughed harder.
When we were done running (2 1/2 miles later,) I got his water out and sat down in the gravel next to him. He sat up tall and I put my arm around him. He rested his head on my shoulder.
I told him, “If someone could see us now, you’d have a home for sure.” He just lifted his head and re-rested it on my shoulder, knowingly. Calm.
Our drive home was quiet. Reflecting. He didn’t sniff out the windows. He just rested in the back seat somewhere between sleep and dreams.
When I dropped him back in his kennel, he immediately flopped down on his cot and fell asleep.
Why he’s still at the shelter is beyond me. If someone can just look past his huge amounts of energy, his pittie face and his strong body, somewhere is his perfect home. He just needs time and patience and a friend who loves to run.
Every time I go to the shelter, I hope I never see him again. While I’d love to see him again, away from the shelter, he deserves a home.
As I walked away I thought, “Maybe tomorrow will be your day. Just maybe.”