I heard a familiar sound coming from the kitchen. “Someone” was rustling through the garbage can again.

I knew it wasn’t Steele because he was resting on his favorite spot, the living room sofa. So, it had to be Albert.

I entered the kitchen and my newly-rescued Samoyed, Albert, was gnawing on a pork chop bone. I grabbed the end of the bone. “Albert. Dro…Ow! Drop it! Ow. Dammit! Ow.”

Albert wasn’t letting go. And with each re-grip, his teeth punctured my hands with brute force and left me bloody and bruised. Again.

He walked away and peacefully finished enjoying his possession. Again. You see, It was the second time in less than a week that Albert got the best of me.

Albert was a street thug. His ears were deformed from untreated ear infections. He could barely hear. He had cataracts that clouded his vision. He walked uncomfortably as a result of an improperly healed broken front leg. He was a mess of a dog, to say the least. And Steele, our young and energetic Samoyed, was not fond of the 12-year old (although the rescue group said he was 5-years old) bully either.

After tending to my wounds and talking with my wife, Cathy, I returned to the crime scene with a phone in my hand. I had a difficult call to make: we were going to return Albert.

I dialed the number to the rescue group. It rang and rang. I waited, what seemed like forever, for someone to answer.alb-jan-2-2003a

Albert limped into the kitchen with his ears down and looked me directly in
the eyes. He softly vocalized in his familiar pattern, “Ruff-Ruff… Ruff-Ruff.”

I didn’t hear a bark. I heard, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

I hung up the phone, fell to my knees, and started to cry. Albert calmly nuzzled his head underneath my aching hands. “Ruff-Ruff.”

“I hear you old boy. I know you didn’t mean it. It’s all you know, huh? You won’t be on the streets anymore. I promise.”

Cathy came into the kitchen. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I can’t do it. I can’t give up on him. He needs us.”

“Oh, thank God! I don’t want to get rid of him either. He’s had a hard enough life. We can’t send him back.” Cathy started crying too and our tears fell into Albert’s fur, but he didn’t mind.

He was home.We gave him a second chance to smile.

Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.