I was working at the vet clinic and loading rooms for Dr. Mapes that day. We had a client we hadn't seen come in with a young puppy who was presenting with some sort of illness. He was underweight and weak. The owners couldn't get him to eat. But he wasn't their pet. He wasn't a family member. The brown puppy was the product of their doing; a mix of a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Bred for some reason or another. I'm not really sure. Maybe to make some amazing hunting dog or something? Or maybe simply to make $300 off each puppy after I discovered their "Puppies for Sale" advertisement on Craigslist.
As I cradled him in my arms like a baby and stared into his incredible eyes, I could only hope that they would do right by this dog. He was just a puppy. He hadn't experienced hardly anything yet. And it was at that moment that I was staring into his eyes that the woman spoke up, "You want him?" Part of me was caught off guard. The other part was laughing at the insanity of it all. "I wish I could... but I have five dogs at home already." The vet did the exam and offered some options. My job was done, so I left the room before hearing the end result. The wheels in my head were turning. What would happen to him? Would he get the radiographs and medication and care that he needed? The vet came out and revealed that they didn't have the money to spend on expensive diagnostics. He'd be going home with a few cans of A/D and some dewormer. That was it.
This puppy was going to go home and die. He'd starve to death... or something. And they sure as hell weren't going to bring him back to have him euthanized if that's what it came to. One of my co-workers told me to ask the owner if she had been serious about giving him to me. And I honestly can't remember if I texted the rescue before or after the fact, but I walked to the front text and asked. The woman handed the puppy over the desk... and that was it. He was mine.
I named him "Ruger", and he was my soulmate. That brown puppy took a huge piece of my heart with him. Most of you know his story already, and I don't have the energy or heart to finish telling it tonight. But I'll continue tomorrow.