It had been months since we said good-bye to Charlie, when Greg and I finally decided to bring another dog home from the Shelter. Choosing one was a difficult decision because every dog deserves to be in a home, and we have grown to love every one of them after walking them twice a day, seven days a week, for the last two and a half years. The determining factor was who would be willing to accept Max, the last little dog of our beloved “three Amigos,” and when we had our meet and greet with the dogs we thought might work out, Spirit passed the test, giving Max a sniff and then ignoring him.

Ten years ago, Spirit began her life at the Lakeland Animal Shelter. As a puppy she was adopted and subsequently returned. Shortly thereafter, she was adopted again, and she was in that home for over six years before they surrendered her back to the Shelter. I remember the day she was returned, two and a half years ago, and she was stressed and sad and in a panic. She knew she belonged in a home and couldn’t understand why her family didn’t want her any more. It’s a heartbreaking story that happens over and over again in shelters.

So now at age ten, Spirit was a shelter dog, trying her best to make it through each day without completely giving up. Because so many of our big dogs are long-term residents, Greg and I couldn’t decide who would be the best choice, so we asked our Executive Director which dog, of all the big dogs, needed to be adopted the most. She said Spirit.

We brought Spirit home that day, and she has been with us ever since. It’s been over a month, but it feels like Spirit has always lived with us. She is the missing piece of the puzzle we needed to be in our family, as a companion for us and for Max. We will do everything in our power to give Spirit the life she has waited for and deserves.