The newest member of my family, our dog Rosco, is by far the most energetic (that used to be me, but then I became a teenager). He’s a Staffordshire mix, and even though he’s a little over 18 months old, he is still very much a puppy at heart. He loves to play fetch and tug of war, and he’s always first to greet me when I come home. I do have to watch out though, as Rosco has a tendency to get overexcited that usually leads him to jump on me, even though I remind him every day how sharp his nails are. He also has a habit of jumping up and down and spinning in a circle at the same time, and that really is a sight to see. He even looks happy when he walks because his short legs make him look like he’s prancing around the house, and when he’s finally used up all of his energy he likes to come lay with me on my bed while I relax. Though I’ve only known him for about six months, I can’t imagine a life without Rosco. It’s clear to me that he is happy now, but it pains me to think of what his life must have been like before he came home with us.
My family adopted Rosco from our local animal shelter, and even though he was almost a year old at that point, he had only been in the shelter for about a month. The first eleven months of his life were a mystery, and no one at the shelter had any clue as to what he had experienced. I like to believe that he had an easy, happy life, and that he ended up in the shelter because his previous family had to give him up for some reason, but I know that isn’t very likely. Rosco has always been a bit skittish, and even if you pat him on the back a little too hard (just to make things clear, my family does not hit our dogs in any way, I truly am referring to a light pat on the back) he will run away. Rosco also gets a very sad, even guilty look in his eye at times, even when he has done nothing wrong and we have had no reason to reprimand him. When we do have to scold him (for say, peeing on the floor or stealing food), Rosco does not take it well. His sadness is very clearly visible, as if he believes he has committed some unforgivable crime by disappointing us. I hate to see him that way, so I avoid yelling at him at all costs, but, as many dog owners can understand, sometimes it is necessary. My dad, who has much more experience with dogs than I do, suspects that Rosco may have been abused at some point, and that abuse is what leads him to be strangely sensitive at times. It makes sense, but I have a hard time believing my father’s words. After seeing how sweet, loving, and adorable Rosco was, I simply could not imagine why anyone would ever want to hurt him, or any dog for that matter (click here if you need to report a case of animal abuse). Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason; they are loyal, intelligent, loving, and fun. My pets may have made me a bit biased, but I believe that one of the greatest gifts anyone can receive is the love and affection of a dog. They are truly innocent creatures, and hurting a dog is one of the lowest crimes a human can commit.
Whatever may have happened in his past, Rosco showed true courage when we adopted him from the shelter. From the very first day, Rosco trusted us and loved us without a second thought, and my family and I are so very grateful to him. He is willing to go above and beyond to make us happy, and I learned that first hand when I developed depression shortly after he was adopted. I could hide my pain from my family, but Rosco always knew exactly how I was feeling. I disguised my emotions because I wanted to be left alone, but Rosco wasn’t going to fall for it. Every time I retreated to my room, Rosco would always push my door open and jump straight to my bed to lie beside me. He knew that I didn’t have the energy for his usual playful attitude, and he didn’t try to push me. His presence and his unusually calm demeanor told me that he wasn’t judging me for my sadness or my tears; he was only here to help, and he would lay beside me to comfort me and keep me safe until I felt better. Rosco’s actions were born from the purest intentions, and when I realized why he had chosen to stay with me during my times of struggle, my heart overflowed with joy and love for him. He had understood what I could never have expressed in words, and he had done the only thing he knew to do that would help me. He had showed me that he loved me more than he loved anything else in the world, and I loved him even more.
If there is a dog that does not deserve heartworms, it’s Rosco, but life doesn’t always work that way. My dad found out from the vet a few months ago that Rosco was infected, and that it would take over six months of expensive shots, medicines, and restrictions to make our beloved dog better again. The vet told my dad that the treatment would hurt, and that Rosco might not want to be around us as much because of the pain. Once again, Rosco defied expectations. He certainly doesn’t enjoy his treatment, and he does go off by himself at times, but if he is in pain, he doesn’t show it. He still runs, jumps, and prances like there’s no tomorrow (he has put on a little weight though, but that just makes him cuter in my eyes), and he wears his smile proudly around the house. He always wants to sit next to us, and he makes you feel loved and appreciated wherever you go. Honestly, I wish I were a bit more like Rosco, because I know that an attitude like his would make me a much better person.
There are so many reasons to adopt a dog, especially a shelter pup, that it almost seems mandatory. If you’re willing to offer a little bit of time, money, and affection, that dog will never stop loving you, and I assure you, the feeling will be mutual. Looking back on things now, six months later, I cannot believe how lucky my family was to find Rosco that day at the shelter. Out of all of the dogs we could have picked, we chose the one that has since made a huge difference in each of our lives and has become one of my best friends. Adopting dogs has been one of the best things my family has ever done together, and I am proud that we gave a loving dog like Rosco a better life.