In Their Voices
By Doris Westberg, January 2019, Updated June 2021
Deb Bishop Photography

Deb Bishop Photography

The doors burst open at 10 am. Being the longest resident in the shelter, I had the routine down pat. I curled up in my comfy bed, like a fox, to take a snooze. As usual, they walked by my kennel gate ignoring me … ditto!

After the early morning rush of kindly folks putting dibs on their choices of “dog gaters” as I called them (the more social, outgoing dogs who knew how to sell themselves at their kennel gates), all became quiet again. Still snoozing, I heard her pick up my clipboard in front of my gate. Could it be that this would be THE day? Nah, don’t get your hopes up, kid, I told myself.

I heard her whisper “Tu-Tu.” (They named me Tulip because all the tulips were in bloom when I arrived here.) I raised my head, our eyes met. We both knew that we belonged together. Just then, a shelter’s volunteer angel came by. Whispering went on between them. The angel pointing to my bio on the clipboard. A street dog from Mexico, a Chihuahua/Pug mix, ribs showing, needs protein, dental work from surviving on vermin, skin needs care, appears to have been tortured by the scars on her body and legs, half her tail gone, five to seven years old.

Next I know, I’m inside her car, homeward bound. I’m so relaxed and happy that I giver her “a tune” as she calls it. I raise my tiny Chihuahua face to the heavens and howl like a wolf. It makes her laugh. She says we’ll do just fine together.

From the streets of Mexico, from one shelter to the next, up along the West Coast to Seattle, the moral of my long journey is never give up. There are lots of angels out there to help you on life’s difficult journey. Remember, next time you visit a shelter, take the time to look beneath their fur and skin, see their soul, take one in. Let’s all howl to the heavens and laugh! Hooowl!

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 96: Winter 2018