Joy and love on Valentine’s Day

By Tom and Martha Portney, avid FOTAS and Aiken County Animal Shelter supporters

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
Karen Davison, Author & Dog Trainer

Dearest Joy:

It wasn’t the fastest bonding to ever take place. We had recently lost a dear four-legged friend, and didn’t think we would ever have space in our hearts for a new furry companion. Joanna and other well-meaning friends brought endless photos, videos and stories to us about our “next dog.”

But Joanna persisted. She told us that you were a stray brought to the shelter, that you were very reserved and many folks liked you, but that you weren’t being adopted. She offered to bring you to our office at lunch where we could just “give you a look” without a commitment.

I don’t know what we were expecting, but it wasn’t you. You were scrawny and scarred, and we were cautious about a Pit-mix. But still, there was something about you that touched our hearts, so in the end, we held our breath and took the plunge.

What a strange and wonderful change you have wrought in our lives. You have taught us patience and acceptance. When our new landlord OK’d you to be our “therapy dog” at our practice, you comforted our clients and made them feel at home. Heck, now they ask for you and not us when they call for an appointment. It has taken you awhile to come out of your shell, but there cannot be a more gentle, more loving dog in the world.

Joy, you capture hearts wherever you go, and you have certainly captured ours. In nine short months you filled an immense hole in our hearts and gave us a walking, petting companion who we cherish more than we can say.

Your human Mom and Dad

Dearest Mom and Dad:

Some dogs come into this world blessed with a good life. Mine was a little rougher. I was homeless, starving, and frightened. At the shelter people seemed to like me but no one was adopting me. Then you who saw me at my worst and loved me all the more. I can remember how anxious I was when I met you behind your old office. Will they like and keep me? Or send me back to wait even longer?

Well, you did fall in love with, and keep me. You gave me all the time in the world to come out of my shell. You spoke softly and petted me over and over again and took me home to a wonderful house. But more than that, you gave me a purpose and a job as your therapy dog with your clients. I know what pain and fear are like, and I want them to be calm and peaceful, too. Now I really feel wanted, loved and respected.

In these 9 months we have taken walks and visited places I would never have imagined. We are family like I have never known, and I am so grateful to be loved so very much. I can only guess what is ahead for all of us!

Your forever and ever girl, Joy