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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 19 April 2004 Issue

by Roxanna Kerns

Sitting beside me as I type this story is "the ugliest dog I ever saw."

I have to tell you those words have never actually come out of my mouth -- they have been said by friends and family members who look at my dog, Rover.

Personally, I think he is adorable and one of the sweetest dogs God has created.  I am just thankful Rover decided to adopt our family as his own.  Let me tell you about the first time I saw him.

One Sunday morning, my husband and I were driving down a busy stretch of road.  My stomach sank as I saw two dogs headed across the highway. One was a black Lab and the other was a little brown mutt.  I quickly covered my eyes until my husband patted me on the arm and said, "It's OK honey, they both made it across safely."

I said a small prayer that God would protect both of them on their travels.

Later that week, I was back on the highway when I saw a lifeless shape lying by the side of the road.  I didn't want to look, but I did, and I knew then the black Lab had been killed sometime earlier that week.  I looked around for the other little dog, but he was nowhere to be seen.  I said a silent prayer that God would lead him to a loving family who would take care of him.

About a week later, I saw the little brown dog crossing a street near my home and noticed how thin and sad he looked.  I once again asked God to lead him to a good home so he would know a loving family.

A couple days later the little roving dog had found his way to our home, looking very frightened.  I called to him but he just ran away in fear.  I wondered what kind of life that poor dog had to be so scared around humans.  Once again I said a little prayer for the wandering fellow.

About a week after seeing "Old Rover" at the entrance to our home, I noticed he was sleeping under a bush not far away.  I thought he might be hungry so I went inside and got some leftover chicken and noodles and a bowl of water.  I took it outside and called the small dog, but he started to run in the other direction.  I then yelled at him that I had some food and I would just leave it outside in case he was interested in coming back.

I very loudly went back inside and shut my front door.  I hurried to the window to see what Old Rover would do.  Well, after timidly sneaking up on the food he gobbled it up like he hadn't eaten for a week.

Rover and I played this feeding game for about two weeks.  I would leave food out, and when I went inside, he would eat it quickly without a thank you or a nod in my direction.  I didn't mind though because I could sleep better at night knowing the poor thing wasn't starving.  I already had a dog that was treated like a queen in our house and I knew another dog was out of the question.

Sometime later, a neighbor had come over to visit and as we were sitting in the living room we heard a painful crying coming from outside.  All of us hurried out the door to see two dogs savagely attacking Old Rover.

My husband ran at the two dogs until he frightened them away.  The poor little stray hurried to my side to get away from the attackers.  As I cautiously put my hand down to sooth him, he looked up at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen.  My heart broke as I realized my hand had blood on it from the poor thing's wounds.

My husband knew what I was going to say before I said it.  So he got the car to take him to the vet.  While my husband was getting a blanket, I looked the dog in the eyes and whispered in his ear, "I promise that you will never be scared, lonely, hungry, or hurt again.  You're my Rover now and I will love and take care of you until you die."

Rover put his head in my lap as if to say thank you.

That was two years ago.  Today, Rover shares his life with Curly Sue (who has finally conceded that there are other dogs than just her in the world) and a family that loves him.

The vet told us that Rover had a very abusive life in the past.  I can't change his past, but I know his future is full of being loved.

He may not be the most handsome dog in the world, but I don't think he is the ugliest either.  God knew exactly where to find him a good and loving home.

My Rover is an answer to a prayer -- my own!

-- Roxanna Kerns   [email protected]


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