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One blistering hot August day in southern Georgia my husband and I wandered into a truckstop. The parking lot steamed in the unrelenting sun. Every person in sight sheltered themselves inside air-conditoned buildings or gathered around fans, stifled and sweating. The thermometer read 104 degrees.
We dreaded the prospect of walking our 1 1/2 year old, 115 pound German Shepherd in this heat, and knew that once we went outside our walk would be short and sweaty. But the walk was a necessity.
I was not what you would call a dog-lover. This was my husband's puppy, and I had learned to make friends with him as best I could. I had never been the sort of person to approach a stranger's dog. I've always been, particularly, a cat person.......until I saw Raegel.
12 weeks old, pure white, tiny, skinny, hungry, panting and wired to a trailer in the middle of that inferno of parking lot! We walked near and I surprised myself to hear my own voice saying, "What a pretty puppy"! She captured me instantly with her beautiful brown eyes.
We tracked down the owner, who proceeded to explain what an awful, stupid dog and waste of money she was. She had broken up his marriage, he said, and this was her punishment. He had given her a death sentence to starve and bake in an asphalt oven.
We paid him on the spot and took her to our truck. She required zero acclimation time. The dogs became inseparable pals, she and I are inseparable best friends, and I have benefitted immensely from the power of joy and life-spirit that is this sweetest of creature's defining characteristic.
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