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When my two children were small, they were deathly afraid of dogs. My in-laws had a lovely black lab who loved children, but when we visited, they never went near him.

As a dog lover, I was concerned about them growing up with a fear of dogs and so I asked my pediatrician what to do. His advice? To either wait it out or… get a dog. I opted for the latter.

We lived in Maryland and I brought my children to a shelter there. Big mistake. As soon as we walked in all the dogs started barking. I soon found myself alone. I was looking for a smaller dog, and all the dogs in this shelter, although sweet, were too big.

Later, I saw an ad for a “small, mixed terrier, 2/12 years old. Her name is Bridget.” Ah!! My dog!! I quickly made an appointment to see her.

I got to the facility and the attendant led me to the cubicle where Bridget was. A more scraggly, ugly dog I have never seen. I was asked if I wanted to take Bridge outside to get to know her. Deep breath. We went outside and Bridget went wild. She jumped, she went in circles, in short, she went nuts. What do I do?? I really don’t want her. But I had made a big thing on the phone!

I took a gamble and adopted her. Smartest, best, most courageous decision I have ever made.

Bridget was with us for 17 years. She loved my children more than life itself. She watched over them, she gave them the purest love imaginable. No one who met Bridget could withstand the rascally little girl with the big heart. When she passed away, at the ripe old age of 19, our hearts broke. There is a part of all of us that keeps the memories of Bridget alive.

Bridget had given birth to two puppies before we got her. Later I used to tell my children that I believed that in her former life, Bridget was both a “Lady,” and a “Tramp!”

Janet Zoubek Dickson
Hopewell, NJ

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