henry-happy3I don’t like to talk about my life before February 2009. I guess it’s better that way.

For the first year of my life I was abused. Shortly after being born, I found myself tied to a tree day and night without shelter from the sun, the rain, or the bitter cold. I would often times go without food or water for days. Eventually the people that owned me stopped feeding me altogether. I would only have water after it rained. I drank the muddy rain water to stay alive. I don’t know what I did wrong. I don’t know why they stopped feeding me, why they left me to die.

I wanted to live.

I was beyond starving. You could see every bit of my skeleton through my skin, and my eyes began to sink into their sockets. I now weighed as much as the tow chain my owners used to tie me outside. At 24 lbs I was not going to make it much longer.

Then, one day someone called Animal Control, and an officer was sent to see me. When I saw the officer I used every bit of strength that I could muster to rise to a sitting position. I even managed to wag my tail. The officer needed to know that I was still alive and that I wanted to stay that way.

I was taken away from that horrible situation and I got to stay in the shelter with lots of other doggies just like me. At first the doctor didn’t think I was going to make it. I wanted to live.

They gave me fluids and said, “Let’s just see how he’s doing tomorrow.”

The next day I was able to rise to a sitting position and wagged my tail as much as I could. I was also able to eat a little. After a week (that was rather touch-and-go) I was strong enough to play with the nice people at the shelter and I was eating and drinking normally.

It looked like I was going to live.

I was so relieved to be in a place where the people actually cared about me. I was happy to be eating!

I stayed in the shelter for 6 months. During that time I saw doggies come and go.

They were keeping me alive until the outcome of a cruelty case against my previous owner had been resolved.

I had made a full recovery, but had not been adopted yet.

Even though I had made a full recovery I still had some health related issues. My back legs are weakened by luxating patellas. I don’t know what that means, but it hurts sometimes to walk. I don’t mind the pain because I like to play. Boy, do I like to play.

Sometimes I play a little too rough. People would come to visit me and I wouldn’t be able to contain my excitement. They would put be back in my room and take another doggie in to see the people.

My court case was over; the judgment was that my previous owner couldn’t own another dog…what a terrible joke.

Then, on Valentine’s Day 2009, another family came to see me. It was a couple that had lost their Boxer one year before and wanted a new buddy for their American Bulldog.

The shelter didn’t want to adopt me out to a family with another dog. They thought that I needed too much attention, and didn’t know how my super playful nature would match with another dog.

This couple liked me; but they wanted to see how their boy would interact with me, so they arranged a meeting. When I first met my brother Cassius, I immediately knew we would be best friends. He spent most of the time running from me at our first meeting, but as soon as my new owner shouted out a command to sit, we both immediately sat at attention. Later that week my new family came to take me home.

It was sad to leave all of my friends at the shelter. Everyone came out to say good-bye; they even called the nice officer that saved my life. She had come to visit me constantly, but she was really happy to see me go.

When I arrived at my new home I was so thankful. Thankful to be alive and thankful to be loved.

That night, as we all went to bed, I settled down in the comfy bed that my new family had bought me. As I fell asleep I thought about how I would never spend another night sleeping outside in the rain, or in the bitter cold. I though about how I would never again have to eat grass or bark to fill my belly.

Most of all, I thought about how lucky I was to have a second chance.

Thank you officer LeRoy and thank you APS of Durham, for giving me a second chance!

– Henry Jones Jr.