Nicole DiLorenzo West Chester, PA

Picture of winner's bracelet.

When I, now 18, was 7, Shadow, a miniature Schnauzer (1305) puppy was a God sent gift and changed my life, with special needs. I deserved a dog with my good grades and endless work with therapists and tutors, but a local shelter, some rescue groups, and a therapeutic dog entity advised of the "unavailability" of a dog for me and with my extremely high spirited nature. Shadow was bought at a pet shop on a Saturday by a family who circulated mailers on the following day because Shadow left his paw prints (5663) and other goodies over the family's new white rugs and hardwood floors, instead of the fireplug, and the family couldn't return him to the shop and maybe didn't appreciate the challenges and responsibilities of a new puppy. Our family, no longer together after court disputes, had a beautiful pillowed doghouse (8619) in our kitchen to welcome him in our big house by a pasture. As an animal lover, I attended to his every need - I gave dog bone (5730) treats to him, selected pretty collars and tags (6564) for him, took him to the vet (7934), had pictures with Santa, him and me for my locket (8603), took him to St. Francis of Assisi (2249) blessings, slipped food like hot dogs to him, and became a compassionate, caring, gentle, sensitive, and patient child with Shadow. Shadow would escape through our fence to protect his "territory" and chase the neighbors' horses, deer, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and cars and my mom, even in her high heel before work, would chase Shadow to protect him! A horse once stomped on him, but he thought that he was as big as the horse! We never needed a doorbell! He inspired my conversations, when I even relayed how he would steal and run with my mom's tops and bottoms and slippers as she rushed for work. It's amazing what a loving dog can do for a special child and how it can comfort one as the constant in life despite trying and changing times, new family arrangements, and much smaller horses. Maybe only a unicorn could have substituted for Shadow because he's old but still magical!

Nicole DiLorenzo
West Chester, PA
Dog Tales Winner
October, 2012

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