When she was just a tiny puppy, Penny lived in a happy home, as the treasured family pet. Back then, she was small and cute and cuddly. Back then, she was special.
Back then, Penny was the children's best friend. She was their super-awesome secret keeper, super-fun playtime pal, and super-snuggly bedtime buddy. They loved her... and she loved them.
But the children grew up... and Penny did, too. And suddenly... she wasn't so special anymore. Her life of love inside the home... was replaced with a life alone outside the home.
Bedtime snuggling was replaced with a concrete porch.
"I love you" was replaced with "Ew, go away."
Her best friends found other best friends... and then... they forgot about her altogether. The secret-telling stopped. Her cuddles quickly ended. Playtime was no more.
Through the window, Penny would watch the children... as they smiled and laughed and played... without her. With an innocent grin and a wagging tail, she'd wait for them to notice her. With desperate eyes and a hopeful heart, she begged to join the fun. But even when they glanced her way, it was only to ignore her. Or even worse than that... to wish her away.
Penny couldn't understand. What happened? What changed? Did I do something wrong? Most days, they forgot to feed her. Some days, she had no water. Every day, she barely existed... to the family she loved so much.
But even still, Penny never blamed them. Because she couldn't have imagined... that they actually meant to forget her.
So... being a very smart girl, who loves her family, Penny thought, "Hey! Maybe they don't even know that I'm back here!" And that's when she learned to get out of the fence, run around the house, and wait by the front door for her family.
In her heart, she truly believed that this would please them. She assumed they'd be excited to see their special Penny again. So, she'd wait... by the door, for her family to get home... thinking they'd finally invite her back into their lives.
But they didn't invite her inside. Instead, they yelled at her, beat her, and threw her back into the yard. Her heart was broken... she just couldn't understand: I thought they wanted me. I thought they needed me. I thought they loved me... like I love them.
I thought they'd be as excited to see me... as I was to see them...
Every day, Penny would repeat the same process... escaping, waiting, and being tossed back into the yard. But Penny never meant to misbehave, or run away, or upset them. She just wanted to see them... even if only for a second. Even if that second... would only result in yet another crack... in her already broken heart.
For Penny, it was worth it, to wait by the door, all day long, for her family... to endure the abuse and rejection upon their arrival. For Penny, it was worth it... just to see her family today.
But Penny's family didn't want to see her, and soon, her "behavior issues" caused them to hate her. So, they decided to dump her at the animal shelter, where Penny was to be killed immediately... because of her breed: Pit Bull.
On the day they planned to dump her--the day she would've been killed--the family mentioned their plan to a neighbor. Then, that neighbor called me.
I quickly called the family and told them the deadly consequence for Penny if they dumped her at the pound. Sadly, they didn't care. I asked them to give me a little time to find a foster home. They said No. I said, "I'm telling you that your dog will be killed today, and I'm offering you an alternative! You don't think she deserves that much??"
The next words out of this woman's mouth... weren't new to me. I've heard this many times before, and I'm certain I'll hear it again. But the coldness behind those words... never shocks me any less. And every single time, my heart stops.
She said, "The shelter can kill her... or we will shoot her here. Either way, that dog's going today!"
I didn't have room to take another dog that day. I never planned to do so, either. But I wasn't going to run the risk of Penny being shot and killed by her family. My heart was so broken, at the thought of Penny seeing her family come outside... and excitedly running toward them... thinking they were finally coming to play with her... finally coming to invite her inside... finally coming to say "I love you" ...
And then, I pictured the heartbreaking disbelief in Penny's eyes... as the family she loved so much... pulled the trigger to end her life.
It took me all of 2 seconds to say I'd take her. And just that quickly... on the day she was meant to die... Penny became a Lucky Dog, instead.
That day was months ago. Each day since, Penny has waited for her family. As she stares into the distance... I know she's watching out for them. In her heart, I know she truly believes that they'll come back for her one day soon. And in her eyes, I see the unimaginable love and devotion... for the family who wanted her dead.
Penny can never go back to that home (Thank God, right?). And even though she's so loved here with me... her heart won't fully heal, without a family to call her own. For now, "home" is only a distant memory for Penny. Please, help me change that for her. Share her story.
*Penny is a 2 year old, Pit Bull mix. She loves other dogs, children, and all people. She's such an adorable girl, with a super-fun personality to match. Penny is spayed, up-to-date on vaccinations, and heartworm negative. Transport can be arranged to approved adopter.
UPDATE: PENNY HAS BEEN ADOPTED!!!