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When all you have left is each other,
your worlds become fully entwined.

Back in February, Little Anastasia was staying at the shelter in Port Townsend with her mom. I noticed her right away as she romped around the dining room (who wouldn’t notice this little thing?). My first thought was, “Oh, the poor thing needs some new clothes, pronto.”

I asked her mom (I’ll call her “Janet”) about Anastasia’s history, and here’s what she told me.

Janet knew a couple in Port Angeles who were breeding their dog for money. Their dog was a full-blooded Chihuahua, and she was less than a year old when she had her first set of puppies. This couple also bred her with a larger Chiweenie (Chihuahua and Dachsund) for some reason. Anastasia was the largest puppy, and was injured during birth.

This couple, Janet says, was just going to let Anastasia die.

“Well, I know what it feels like to not be wanted, so I said, ‘I’ll take her.’”

Sensing a good money-making opportunity, they demanded $500 for Anastasia. When Janet said they couldn’t afford that, they reminded her that the dog would have to just die, then.

So Janet scraped together the $500 and went back to the couple to buy Anastasia.

But they wouldn’t let her just take Anastasia with her. They said they wanted to see where Janet lived to be sure she was getting a good home.

Janet let them follow her back to the camp site where she and her son were living, and this couple robbed them of pretty much everything they had. That’s when Janet and her son had to pack up and leave the site. She said she feels like she’s still running from that couple.

Does Janet’s story seem a bit far-fetched to you? It’s hard for us to remember that there’s a really seedy underbelly to our society — one that we don’t see unless we watch a documentary or movie that depicts that world. Even then, it’s not truly real to us because it’s not our world.

I stopped at Petco the next morning, and picked up a new harness and a new hoodie for Anastasia (paid for out of my pocket), and presented them to Janet the next night, when we returned with our second dinner of the week. She was elated.

It’s easy to see how loyal Anastasia and Janet are to each other. Anastasia is quick to growl if she thinks anyone is making any type of aggressive move towards her mother and yet runs to hide between Janet’s legs whenever she needs her own protection.

I can’t imagine how lost these dogs would become without their owners. We all have special bonds with our pets. We know what they want just by looking at them. We have our own way of communicating with them. Layered on top of that, is the bond created by having no home, having no security, having to depend on only each other.

You would think that if you were living on the streets, you wouldn’t have the energy to think about someone else. You don’t need the burden or the baggage. I think it takes a special person to say, “I’m going to give a needy dog the love they deserve, and we will find a way to survive together.”

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