Published by Ashley Palmer.

The following article was written by PETA online activism coordinator Jessy Easton in honor of ‘Adopt a Shelter Dog’ Month.

During college, I lived in a dormitory and was not able to take my dog with me. After putting my nose in a book for three years, I was finally reunited with my lil’ rescued companion, Angelina. My parents had been taking care of Angelina, and when I arrived home, I found that she had become a close companion to my dad. Because of my parents’ divorce, my dad was moving to Michigan; I decided that it was best for Angelina to accompany him on the long road trip to her forever home. I was happy that my companion was bringing my dad so much joy in this time of trouble.

During the three-day road trip to Michigan, tragedy struck. My dad hit some black ice on the road and lost control of his truck. The vehicle rolled, causing the windows to break. The shock of the crash made Angelina frantic, and she jumped through one of the truck’s broken windows and started to run away. With a broken neck, my dad ran after Angelina screaming her name, only to be met with a terrible fate. Angelina was hit by a semi-truck right in front of his eyes. My dad called me from the hospital. Through his sobbing, he managed to tell me of Angelina’s death. After this tragic accident, I decided to fill the empty void that the loss of Angelina had left inside me by adopting a dog from an animal shelter.

I looked at the websites of many Los Angeles animal shelters, and I found a shelter that was located approximately 30 minutes away from my home. I was looking for an older dog because my heart aches for the animals who have had to spend their “golden years” in a concrete prison. I explained to a staff member at the animal shelter that I wanted to adopt an older dog who had been at the shelter for a long time. I wanted to give a dog a second chance at life, so I asked the staff to show me the dogs who they thought didn’t have a bright future. After searching tirelessly, I found her—an 8-year-old miniature Doberman pinscher who was sick from malnutrition and had been in the shelter for more than a month. When a staff member handed her to me, she was covered in dirt and shaking with fear. She had been found stranded on the streets, starved and scared. As I looked into those worried eyes, I knew that I could give her a forever home full of love and joy.

Before taking my new family member home with me, I had the shelter implant a microchip in her so that her chances of getting lost on the streets again were slim to none. I named her Sydney after Sydney, Australia—the place in the world that I wanted to go to the most. It’s been about two and a half years since I adopted Sydney, and I still haven’t made it to Australia. But I have something better—companionship. Sydney has touched my life in more ways than I could ever name. She is a blessing, and she has mended my broken heart from the loss of Angelina with her adoration and loyalty. I thank God every day for being able to offer a loving home to an animal in need. You could say that I rescued Sydney, but I’m the one who feels rescued.

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