Every year around this time I hear my humans talk to each other about being thankful. I don’t understand why they wait until Thanksgiving to talk about this, because I am thankful all the time. Mostly, I am thankful that my humans adopted me.
Hi, I'm Mango, a nine-year-old female mutt of many colors and a rescue dog from the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I remember the day I was adopted like it was this morning. It began with me sitting in a lonely cage, hoping that each person who walked by would choose me. I always tried to use my most powerful weapon, my eyes, each time someone, especially a child, looked at me. I knew that most of these humans were searching for a pet, a playmate, a protector, a companion, a sympathizer, a friend, someone who won't judge them, someone who will lay with them in times of trouble, someone who would be there waiting, someone who will love them no matter what. Underline that.... no matter what.
I had been part of a family once, but I was a little too playful for them and they brought me back. I know what that means to be brought back. It means that I am marked. People may not ever pick me and that can be scary. This place won't have a place for me much longer. I can't help it, I love to play. I try to be happy in all situations. Why not? Being sad or worried or feeling hopeless is simply a waste of time. It takes me nowhere and robs me of energy that can be used for happy, fulfilling things.
Every day I saw people walking right by my cage. They would look and then walk on. I wagged my tail at every single human. Some would smile but they kept walking. The more days that passed meant that the nice people here would have to put a more, "choosable" dog here.
Don't they know that I love people, that I would do anything and I mean anything for them. If they would just give me a chance to be their best friend, I know that I would make their home a better place. I would try to only bark at things that are threatening. I would lay down out of the way when my humans were busy. I would watch them carefully to see if they needed a friend or a lick or someone to show them true love.
Sometimes families would point to me and the workers would let me out of the cage. We would go to a play area and I would audition. Let me tell you, I put on a show. If they through a toy, I would get it, pre-slobber it and bring it back to them. After a few minutes, they put me back in the cage and I never saw them again. There were times that I started to believe that I wasn't good enough, but a little voice kept telling me to be patient and the right family would choose me. I prayed and I prayed hard for God to help me have strength and that the family who needed me most would walk up and choose me.
Then, it happened. It was a magical day. They came as I hoped they would... the family who looked in my cage and asked, “Can we see her?” They were pointing at me and I knew right then that this was my forever family. These were the people that I would love and protect. We went outside and I charmed them with all my might. They had amazing kids and I loved them from the first moment I met them. I played and played with the kids and even gave the mom and dad some special Mango time. After what seemed like hours, they left. I heard them say, "We need to talk it over." I already knew we were a perfect match and I believe they knew it as well. They came back the very next day. The second I saw them I got really excited and ran full speed straight for them. It would have been a perfect landing, right at their feet except that the workers hadn't opened the cage yet and I plowed into the door. It was a little embarrassing, but proved to be effective because as I heard them chant, "Oh no, come here girl, are you ok?" I didn't realize that the sympathy thing would be just the magic that pushed it over the edge, but here I am, eight years later living with this wonderful family - my family.
I love them with everything I am. I am proud that I do my job very, very well. I protect and love. I show them and teach them how to live - how to try to live without stress, how to relax and, most importantly, how to love without exception.
I am so thankful that they chose me. They gave me a home, a family and a purpose. They picked me when they hardly knew me. I didn’t do anything to deserve it, but they took me into their lives and home, playfulness and all. I am thankful every day, all the time and I hope that my family knows it.
By: Tom Baker
Author of, “One Dog’s Faith, how my dog helped me trust in God and overcome Chronic worry”