I grew up with family pets. We always had a dog, a turtle, or both around the house. When I was 12, we adopted an oddly shaped dog named Bruno who had been rescued from the street. He was burly and rugged, loved the outdoors and was a great guard dog, mainly because he was part Rottweiler.
Bruno enjoying the sunshine
Bruno was not your average mutt. He was short in stature with a seemingly oversized head, had short legs that were disproportionate to his body and front feet that turned outward with small fat rolls. Bruno was thick and heavy, weighing in at around 70-80lbs., even though was under 2 feet tall. He was the color of a rotty, with a big head. The rest of him had the characteristics of a Basset Hound. This dog was one in a million...or so I thought.
Bruno posing for the camera
Fast forward many years and after Bruno's peaceful passing of old age. (He was eating a chicken tender my brother had just fed him when he went, his favorite.) I was now 19 years old and still cried over Bruno even 2 years after his death. We hadn't had a dog since him, because we all knew nothing would be able to replace that hilarious, personality-filled chunk of love and loyalty. I knew I wanted another dog, but didn't think I could ever be that close to one again. Boy, was I wrong.
My birthday was coming up and I drove to a local animal rescue center to spend time with the dogs and see if I had a connection with any of them. One of the foster parents asked what I was looking for and I didn't know what to tell her, so I told her about Bruno. After tears started to fill my eyes, the woman touched my arm and said to me, "Honey, you're never going to believe this. I have a Rottweiler-Basset Hound mix at my house that we rescued from a kill shelter. He was on his last day and about to be put down when we took him in. We've brought him here for weeks but no one has shown any interest in adopting him. I want to bring him here next week for you to meet. I think he was meant for you."
"I want him."
The words fell from my lips before I even had time to process them.
The following weekend, I adopted a dog that didn't have a family, had been called 3 different names but knew none of them, was unwanted by many and somehow, he managed to save my life.
I have dealt with depression nearly my whole life. I am sometimes socially awkward and very shy in intimidating situations. I was bullied in middle school, which lead to my lack of friends and a distance from my parents. Even if I seemed happy, there was always an indescribable deep sadness inside of me. I contemplated suicide on many, many accounts. I still deal with depression and become overwhelmed with life from time to time but my family, friends, and Roscoe keep me going. He has such a personality and an ability to feel my sadness. He knows when I'm upset and does everything he can to cheer me up. Roscoe truly is an angel, sent to earth just for me.
Adopt a dog in need and you'll end up getting much more than you ever thought to ask for. He or she just might save your life.
As I sat here typing the above paragraph, he saw the tears running down my face and jumped up from his nap to whine at my feet, begging me to let him on the couch. He weighs 50lbs. but has managed pile into my lap and rest his head on my shoulder. He keeps pushing away the computer because he knows. He always knows. He feels what I feel and although he hasn't been professionally trained, he is my emotional support, a role he gladly endures because dogs, of all breeds and mixes, only know unconditional love.
In 2010, a mutt didn't just change my life, he saved it.