April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month and to do my part to help raise awareness to just how important this issue is, I will share my story about how my wife and I came to adopt our dog, Almond.
Almond’s story is just one in a sea of stories about animals who have been neglected or mistreated. In early March of 2016, my wife and I decided we were going to get a dog. We felt ready for the commitment and companionship so we went to the Bell County Animal Shelter to have a look around. There were plenty of dogs to choose from and we were thinking about a few when my wife stops at a sad little puppy sitting all the way in the back of his kennel. My wife bends down to beckon him over and he shyly wags his tail and tiptoes over to say hello. He was small and very obviously ill and in need of care.
He took an instant liking to us and us to him. As we were walking him around the shelter grounds, we were told by an employee that he wasn’t up for adoption at that time as they didn’t know the extent of his problems. He had been left alone, locked in a house when the tenants moved out. Apparently, the person who owned him actually volunteered at the shelter, which is how the other volunteers knew to go look for him.
His fur was patchy with mange, he was malnourished and overall unhealthy looking. Later, at a visit to the vet, the vet said it was possible that because he was deprived of food for so long at such a young age, his growth could have been stunted. It was even difficult to determine his real age he was in that poor of shape. He needed a home badly and thanks to the kind hearts of the people at the Bell County Animal Shelter, we were approved to take him home despite his severe health issues.
During his first bath (he was very stinky) my wife and I were stumped on a name for our new companion. Name after name was suggested only to be rejected. The shampoo I was using on him was almond scented, and on a whim I said “How about Almond?” The name was perfect. Now, a little over a year later, Almond is happy and healthy as can be. He’s without question the sweetest and most heartfelt dog I’ve ever known. He’s smart, playful, (relatively) well behaved and loves to snuggle. He’ll also lick your legs and hands vigorously if you let him.
For more information on what you can do to help animals in need, go the ASPCA website at www.aspca.org or contact your local animal shelter.