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This is the beginning of Quinn's story, a truly remarkable dog, who changed her life as much as she changed his. He became part of a new family and met many, many new people who became part of his life. He faced an enormous challenge through which he both taught and learned the meaning of love and trust. This story will appeal to anyone who has ever loved a dog.
It's just another lonely night as I walk slowly into the cold, wet shed. I'm getting ready to bed down for one of the last chilly, miserable nights here, not yet knowing that my life is about to change, leaving this all behind. I say chilly and miserable because I'm out here in this shed alone, and my papa and his family are inside the main house. Two little dogs also live inside. They have no idea what it's like to sleep out in this shed. My papa loves me, but he thinks because I'm a big dog that I'm okay out here. Oh how I'd love to sleep inside like the little dogs do.
The sun is finally coming up the next morning, and I am laying on the cement walkway, waiting for the ground to thaw out from the sun warming the yard. There is a guide-line that goes from the shop to the back-porch. I have on a leather collar, which is connected to a chain. I don't like my collar because it rubs away the fur on my neck. This chain slides back and forth on the guideline, letting me jump around and trot over to my papa where he sits on his chair by the kitchen door. I hear the telephone ring. After the girl hangs up, I hear her saying that a lady is interested in coming to meet the dog in the ad. The ad reads, 'ADULT MALE ROTTWEILER-FREE TOA GOOD HOME' I wonder, would that be about me? I'm a grown Rottweiler who will turn eight years old in a couple of days. I'm laying here soaking up the sun, wondering and worrying if I've done something bad, when I hear the girl tell my papa that it's for the best; Papa is getting older and can't get around as well as when I first came here to live with him and his family.
Before I go any further with my story, let me introduce myself. My name is Chong. They joke about how I had a littermate named Cheech. I don't understand, but for some reason everybody laughs when they hear my name, thinking it's a funny joke. They don't know that it hurts when I hear them laughing at me. Don't people know that dogs have feelings? Sometimes it can be very damaging, enough to break a good dog down, and trust will be lost. Some dogs have jobs they are expected to perform, while others are pets and just want to make their people happy. I know that's what I'm here to do.
I am hungry, even though my food dish is full. I don't like the way it tastes. I take a bite and try not to think about how awful it is. In keeping my bowl filled, my family thinks I have plenty to eat. As always, I end up eating or go without. They mean well and think that everything is okay. I have no idea that there are better ways for a dog to be treated.
The lady that phoned wants to come and meet me. The girl tells her that today is not a good day to see me. They think I've got a sticker or a thorn in my foot. My left front leg hurts me so bad; sometimes I have trouble standing or walking on it. Because of this, my family has to take me to see my veterinarian. Going to the vet is fun, because that's usually the only time I get to go for a ride. Riding in the car is my very favorite thing to do. It's been a long time since I saw my veterinarian, so the car rides don't happen very often. My vet checks me over and tells the girl that I have something called arthritis. He gives her pain medication for me to take. A couple of days go by and I'm feeling a little bit better.
My papa is sitting on his chair on the back-porch. I like to sit in front of him and offer my paw. When he doesn't shake it, I offer my other paw. I try to please him by shaking hands. He likes that as much as I do. My papa used to throw the ball for me. Come to think about it, I don't know what happened to that ball. Maybe my papa can't play anymore. Playing ball is my second favorite thing to do, after riding in the car.
I'm taking a nap, dreaming about chasing the ball, when I hear the sound of a car coming up the road to my house. I wonder, who could it be? I jump up and stretch really tall. I see two ladies getting out of a van; they are talking to the girl and my papa. One of the ladies gives me a cookie, and I notice that she has more cookies in her hand. I'm being the best boy I can be. Everybody is smiling. I have a happy smile on my face, and my stubby tail will not stop wagging. I am a happy boy. I like the lady, but she leaves. I wish she would've stayed longer, because she seemed to like me. Maybe if she stayed, we could've played ball. It's been so long since anybody played with me. My family is telling me that she will be back tomorrow to take me home with her. I'm going to live in a family with two other dogs and even a cat! I've heard about cats, but they never come close enough for me to get to know.
I go to sleep in the shed, and dream about my new family. What will they be like? Will I be on a chain? Where will I sleep? I'm in the middle of a good snooze, when I awake to the sound of a car coming up the road to my papa's house. I come outside to see the lady that was here yesterday. The girl and papa are talking to her. She is holding a leather leash in her hand. Everybody is smiling and nodding, as the girl undoes my chain. The lady fastens the leash to my collar and walks me out to the car. Oh boy, it looks like I get to go for a ride with her. I am so excited about that! There's lots of room in back for me to lay down, as the seats are flatten out. The lady turns to me, telling me that I'm a good boy.
She says that we will be at my new home very soon. Off we go down the bumpy dirt road, followed by a rolling mass of dust billowing up behind us. I love riding in the car. It won't be long before we reach town, as we are on the freeway now and going a lot faster.
When we get to my new house, the lady gets out and opens the gate. She parks the car and lets me out. I sniff around the carport, smelling the other dogs' scents. I trot up onto the porch and see two dogs in a kennel. They are as anxious to meet me as I am to meet them. The one who catches my eye first is the little red dog, a Terrier/hound mix, with a white chest, sox, and a white tip on his tail. Because of time, his face is now dusted with a powdered chalky-white colored mask that goes to the top of his eyebrows. He is about half my size. They call him Ernie and he is eleven years old. The second dog is a black, Border Collie/lab mix. She is very pretty, with a shiny black coat, a white chest, sox, and white tip on her tail, like Ernie. She is almost as big as me. What's not good about this is she weighs about the same as I do, and I'm a male Rottweiler, who should weigh a lot more than she does. Her name is Rosey, and she's four years old.
The lady lets the dogs out of their kennel. We meet and start to play and run all around the yard, jumping and chasing each other as we begin our friendship. I like them and they like me too. They tell me that it's almost dinnertime, and I'm put in the kennel by myself. The lady explains, it's because Ernie and Rosey eat their dinner very fast, and since I'm new here, they will try to eat my dinner also! She goes to feed them while I wait for her to bring me mine. The door opens and she puts my dish down. This food smells so very good, and a lot better than my old food! Yummm! It even has some broth in it. Slowly, I eat my dinner. When the lady sees that I'm done, she opens the gate. Rosey and Ernie rush in and start licking my dish.
We run around the yard and play tag. Oh, I'm having the time of my life with my new family. I sure would like to meet the cat, but I haven't seen her yet. Ernie tells me that she has been up on the rooftop watching me. He said that she was jumped by another Rottweiler and had her jaw broken. I tell Ernie, "I would never hurt her, she is part of my new family."
It's getting colder now that it's later in the day, and the sun is going down on one of the best days I've had in a long, long time. I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping. I remember seeing a doghouse in the kennel and wonder, if that's where I'll be. Where do the other dogs sleep? It's now dark outside and the lady opens the door to let us in. Ernie and Rosey race right by me, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to come inside along with them. But the lady calls me too, she has cookies for us! WOW! We get cookies at night!?
It's so nice being in the house I really don't like the cold, and my leg seems to ache more than when it's warm. Soon it's time to go to bed. Will I have to go sleep in that doghouse outside? I follow the other two dogs and the lady down the stairs to a small room where there is a nice big stove in the corner. A fire is burning, making the room warm and cozy. Rosey and Ernie automatically go to their beds and curl up. The lady shows me a big flannel blanket that is folded into a square on the floor near the stove.
"This is your bed, Chong," she says, pointing to the blanket.
I can't believe this is where I get to sleep! This is something I had no idea big dogs got to do. It's like being in a dream. All I remember was an old throw rug or the thin worn out blanket with a couple of holes in it. And when it was rainy and cold, the blanket was damp. When I was a younger guy before my shoulder and leg started bothering me, the weather didn't make any difference to me. I really never paid to much attention to how cold it was, as long as I got to be in the shed at night, and out of the rain. When it started to get warmer, I would usually just stretch out on the cement walkway and fall asleep there. That way, I could keep one of my ears cocked for any unusual sounds in the night. I've never slept inside of a house, or next to a warm stove before. The lights go out, and everyone is bedded down for the night. I dream about the car ride, my new family, and if my papa is okay. I miss him and wonder if he misses me too.
It's now morning and the lady lets us out to take care of what dogs do first thing in the morning. She calls us back in for our cookies. Not only do we get cookies at night, but in the morning too! This is something that never happened at my old house. Maybe I got a cookie or two if and when someone thought about it. But never in the morning and at night.
Ernie and Rosey are called to the front door and let outside. The lady then walks back to the kitchen where she is fixing breakfast for me. She sets my bowl down on a plastic bucket that is turned upside down, so it is higher up off the floor. With the bowl up higher I notice that my shoulder doesn't hurt as much. Looking in the bowl I see some lumpy white stuff mixed in with the kibble. It smells really delicious, but I have no idea what it is. She says to me, "Chong you are going to love this, it's called cottage cheese." I also can smell chicken broth in there. I eat slowly and every bite or two, I stop to look at the lady, thinking to myself how nice she is to me. Finally I'm finished, when she goes to open the door to let the other two dogs back in. Ernie races ahead of Rosey to my bowl and starts licking a couple of pieces of kibble that are left. While he is busy licking the bowl clean, Rosey sniffs around the base of the bucket and gobbles down the ones that had hit the floor.
The phone rings, and I follow the lady over as she picks it up to answer it. I sit in front of her listening to what she is saying. It sounds like she's telling someone about me.
"Yes I got the dog. The one that your mother went with me to see. His name is Chong, but somehow I don't feel it quite fits him. Chong sounds funny, so I'm going to change it," she laughs as she winks at me. She hangs up the phone and gives me a loving scratch on my head.
"Chong, this weekend you're going to meet my oldest granddaughter. You're going to love her. Her name is Ashley."
As soon as Rosey heard that, she ran inside. "Ashley! Ashley's coming? Did I hear that right?" she asked with excitement, "Ernie, Ashley's coming!"
I look at her and ask, "Who's Ashley?"
"Only my best friend who loves to take me down to the field and throw the ball farther than mom can. She is so much fun.
"She might take us on a walk!" she informs me.
"Really? I love walks. Would she take me too?"
"I don't know, but she'll take me for sure."
Ernie butts in, "And she gives us cookies all the time."
"But don't make her angry. She's firmer than our mom," Rosey adds looking at the lady, "She'll make you do what she says."
"Don't forget about the cookies afterwards," Ernie says jumping up and down, turning all around at the same time. Boy that guy loves cookies. He is always sniffing around the kitchen floor, hoping he will find some crumbs. The lady says that Ashley will be here in a few days and that she loves dogs as much as the lady does. Since I love kids so much I want to meet her. A few days pass and we are all put in the kennel along with being told. "Be good, I'm going to go get Ashley."
Rosey starts getting excited hearing that, wagging her tail back and forth; thumping it against the kennel gate. Time passes by and soon I hear the car pull in. The lady and a girl come up on to the porch. They both look down.
"There he is! Look at that face! And doesn't he kind look like old Mortie to you?" The lady asks the girl, who I assume must be Ashley.
"Yeah, kind of. He's the same type as Mort. Not the blocky, square looking Rottweiler that you see at dog shows."
"Ernie, Ernie, Ashley's here! Ashley's here!" shouts Rosey.
"Yep, I see her Rose, that's her" Ernie answers back with a silly smirk on his face.
They go into the house and soon I hear the lady coming down the stairs to let us inside. She opens the door and Rosey jumps and pushes past her, flying up the stairs. Banging the door against the wall. Slam! Bang!
"Ashley!" I hear her shouting in excitement.
"Rosey, Rosey! How's my girl?"
We make our way up the stairs and I can see her up close. She smiles at me and greets Ernie.
"Ernesto! How's the little man?" Ernie wags his tail as she scratches his back.
She then turns to me and kneels down,
"Hey Chong," She says softly offering out her hand to me.
I walk over to her and sniff all around her. She smells of other dogs and a cat. She softly pets my head as I sit down and offer her my paw. I like her right away, because not only does she like to shake hands, she comes across as a dog lover, just like the lady said. I hear the lady tell about my appointment tomorrow with my new veterinarian, Dr. Rice. When I hear this I wonder if I'll like her or not, and what she's like.
As the lady and Ashley sit and talk inside, I follow my new friends out to the yard to play. This is when they show me a gap in the fence, where we can talk to the big wolf-like dog next door. His name is Dakota, and he is staring back at us through the opening in the ivy. He lunges at the fence making it shake back and forth. The ivy is keeping the fence up, as it is entwined through the boards. It seems like he could rip the fence down if he wanted. Ernie is getting all excited, as he is up on his hind legs, jumping at the gap in the fence. He is making Dakota very irritated.
"Why do you want to tease him like that?" I ask.
"Cause it makes him mad," Ernie laughs, "And he can't get me!"
"Gee, I thought you were going to introduce me to a new friend?" No wonder Dakota's got an attitude, with all the teasing going on. I hear his mom calling him away from the fence. At the same time, the lady comes out and shouts at us, "That's enough!"
Ernie and Rosey turn away from the fence and race up the stairs leading to the porch. I am being called, "Chong, come!", She yells at me.
I sure don't like the way my name sounds, and I hope Dakota doesn't hear it. I'm running up the stairs, following the other two into the house. Where ... she gives each of us another cookie!
After we eat our cookies, Ashley and Rosey are standing at the door. In Ashley's hand are a leather leash and a ball. "Granny, I'm taking Rosey for a walk down to the field. Be back in a while."
Ernie runs up with them to the gate whining on how he doesn't get to go. "That's not fair! I wanna' go! Why don't I get to go?" he sniffles.
I trot up there to see what is going on, wondering if I'll be able to go too. "Hey, I'll take you guys next. Okay!", Ashley tells us.
Excerpted from Quinn, the Rottweiler by Maryly Turner Copyright © 2009 by Maryly Turner. Excerpted by permission.
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