I had given up hope of ever finding a small dog to adopt. At the animal shelter, large dogs filled all the kennels. The only small dog I saw lay listlessly in her pen, her formerly white, silky curls now matted and yellow. She didn’t even look up as I looked at her through the wire door. Someone had found her wandering in a park and had brought her to the shelter.
My mother encouraged me to give the little white dog a chance, telling me I should take her for a walk in the exercise area. So, I did.
As I reluctantly led her into the quiet exercise yard, her ears popped up and her tail began to wag. She practically pranced at my side. I discovered that not only did she heel, but she also obeyed the commands to lay down, roll over and sit. When I sat on a stool in the exercise area, she tried to jump into my lap. That was all it took. I immediately adopted her.
No one at the shelter knew how old the little dog was, but a veterinarian estimated her to be about 10 years old. No one knew her name either, because she hadn’t been wearing a tag when she was brought in. So, after I took her home, I tried out every female name I could think of. When I said “Mitzi,” her ears perked up and she looked at me. Thus, Mitzi became her name.
Shortly after adopting Mitzi, we moved 200 miles away to a new city, where I bought my first house and began my first teaching job. During this lonely time of transition, Mitzi excitedly greeted me each night when I arrived home, and shadowed me around the house. She was my best friend.
For six years, until Mitzi’s death, I lived with the most loving, well-behaved dog I ever could have imagined. I can’t believe I almost allowed a first impression based on appearance to rob me of the perfect pet.