Dear Mum and Dad,
There are some things I have to tell you.
Daddy, that day a couple of weeks ago that you dropped me off at Walton County Animal Control was the worst day of my life. You walking in with me as you did, perplexed the intake receptionist; she was very surprised that you just said "I want to surrender my dog because we don't have time to look after him any more".
I couldn't at first understand what you were saying to her because all I could hear were the dogs crying and screaming in the pens out back...
"I want my family!"
"When are my people coming back for me?"
"Where did my neighbor in the pen next door go to? Why didn't they bring him back?"
"Did I do something wrong to make them dump me? I tried to be a good dog and protect them all my life, so why am I here?"
It was awful to hear...
Listening to their frantic cries made me sad but I felt safe because I was with you Daddy, right by your side, like always.
Until you left me there to be just like them; forgotten, unwanted, scared and with a broken heart.
Remember when you got me? You brought me into the family home 15 years ago, you were so excited because I was cute and small and you promised there and then to love me forever, didn't you?
And now, here I am, a confused old dog, with creaky bones and in a little bit of pain, and you don't love me anymore. You have time to watch football, to go to the mall and to look at your phone for hours on end, but you don't have time enough to look after me?
I don't even ask for much, Daddy.
Is it because I get confused? I'm sorry Daddy, I can't help it.....but you know I don't ever cause any mischief, I just pace a little.
Is it because I needed a soft bed for my old bones? They don't cost much, Daddy, and I would have been just as happy with an old blanket if it meant staying with the family I have known so long.
I was so scared in that shelter, although the people were very kind, I just paced and paced, waiting for you to come back.
But you never came.
And then a lady called Cindy came to meet me. She gently took me out of my cage and looked me all over, she had me meet and greet with a few other dogs and then she talked to another lady far away on the phone and they were both saying "yes'.
Then I heard the words "we will give this boy a forever home, he can come with us, we have a perfect spot for him", the shelter lady was smiling so happily, and all of a sudden Cindy was helping me into her car.
She brought me to a very kind couple called Bill and Kathie, who took me into their home and cared for me for five days while arrangements were made, and then I was brought to Frankie and Andy's Place. Its a bunch of beautiful cabins in the woods where birds sing, butterflies dance on the breeze and everyone's heart is full of love.
Its perfect here, Daddy.
There are so many people who take care of me, volunteers who love on me and staff who create wonderful fresh food and arrange soft sleeping places; they pet me and brush me, massage me and tell me all the time that I matter....that I am beautiful. They even put me in a snazzy new warm coat of my very own.
I do feel kind of special here.
All the other dogs that live here (30 of them!) are very old, and some are even dying, but they are all happy, they are very gentle and kind and they tell me that I do not have to worry ever again. They tell me that this new family will love me all the rest of my days. I believe them.
I am slowly feeling the fear and panic leave my heart and I am learning to trust again.
Daddy, you are one day going to be old like me.
You will rely on your family to be there for you just like I did, and I hope that they are. I hope that no-one ever does to you what you did to me.
For you see, there is nothing worse in the world than to love unconditionally and to be not loved that way in return.
And Daddy, even though you did not care enough for me, and you were prepared to just leave me at that shelter reception knowing that I would likely die because of my age and the fact that it is so overcrowded, I would never ever wish that on you.
Because, you see, I am a dog, I am perfect and pure of heart. When I commit to you, it is forever. I will still love you for always, whatever happens.
My new name, thanks to Kathie who fostered me, is Isaac Hayes. The name Isaac means 'one who rejoices, one who laughs'.
I know that I am rejoicing at my good fortune and that I will laugh again.
Everywhere I go here, they are saying "Welcome to your new home Isaac, you are loved".
This time I know it is forever.