hearing you speak of your visits to the local animal shelters was certainly endearing and inspirational.

Then it became much more than that for our family. We recently lost our beloved Mac, a black Lab of 16 years, originally brought to us from someone who rescued him from an abusive environment. He was the most delightful presence in our lives for 16 years. Losing him was a most difficult trial.

I couldn’t imagine another dog taking his place, not even another Lab.

I followed your example and visited the local shelters every few days as well as going online to their websites seeing their new arrivals, looking for “just the right dog” to rescue. I wanted to rescue them all. It was tough to decide on only one. A few times I saw one or two or three I wanted to meet, and they were so quickly swept away, especially the puppies.

Finally one evening, I spotted a beautiful black & tan young dog in the back of one of the cages in a local shelter. I got his attention and he confidently walked up to the front, in a steady, laser-like eye contact with me.

I spoke a few kind words to him and he wagged his tail. As there were many other adoptable dogs I hadn’t seen yet, I decided to move on. I couldn’t go more than 10 feet away. I went back and there he was, sitting upright, proud and confident as could be.

It was minutes before closing time at the shelter. I hurriedly looked around for an attendant and found one who directed me to the adoption counter. I ran, knowing how some dogs get scooped up right away, and I knew deep in my heart that I couldn’t walk away from this pup. The Officers stayed past closing time to get me all set up to adopt this little guy.

When I picked him up the following day, I learned a little bit more about his past.

He was surrendered to the facility the same day I spotted him. He had a lot of scars on his legs, neck and head. How I missed them the day before, I do not know, perhaps his character showed that which is the natural core instinct of every dog: unconditional love.

He has been with us for only 9 days now, and I believe it is a mutual feeling between all of us that we belong together. He is the greatest joy to come into our lives for a long time. He is amazingly intelligent and so calm. That has given us the opportunity to learn a deeper understanding about raising a dog.

We have raised several dogs, yet this one we now call Gus is uniquely apart from the rest.

Gus is truly a Godsend. Mark, please continue to encourage people to visit their local shelters as you do. If more people visited the shelters and offered kind words as they passed each cage, it couldn’t be a bad thing. Who knows, perhaps someone else will discover rescuing a lost or abandoned animal adds more value to life than they imagined possible.

— John from Downey, CA