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I was looking for a young shepherd to train as a retriever. I passed by Wyatt on several visits to the animal shelter. He was a big, sad yellow lab standing on his hind legs and clinging to the chain link of his kennel door. After a couple of weeks the attendant told me he had been there for a month and seventeen days. I gave up looking for my dream dog and said, "That's enough, Wyatt, you are going home with me." I introduced him to my collie, Happy, and off we went.
I soon learned how damaged Wyatt was. His previous owners had often left him alone much too long. When they came in to find their things destroyed they beat Wyatt. Eventually he ran away and got salmonella from eating bad fish. They managed to save him, and after 4 years and several hundred dollars they finally admitted that they just didn't have time or resources for him. They put him up for adoption. Finally they did the right thing.
I remembered the past year as I looked at pictures for this story: his weepy eyes and bowed rear legs from standing in his cage, the ones of garbage strewn from one end of the house to the other, endearing ones of him sleeping sweetly by Happy, and joyous days on the beach a few blocks from my home. Finally I selected the one you see of a balanced and happy "aloha" dog who no longer rips open dog food cans with his teeth, and who is not interested in using my remote for a chew toy. He is a wonderful dog, gentle and loving, and he does retrieve - most of the time.
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