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SONNY SNEED - by Amanda Sneed

In 2012, I adopted my first dog from the organization and fell head over heels in love. In time, I wanted to give back and provide a safe, comfortable and loving home for a foster dog while his forever home was being prepared. I had doubts about if and how I would be able to do it without getting attached but I remained firm that as long as I knew the dog would be going to a great forever home that my purpose would be served. In February, I got the call. There was a dog Honey that was coming in as an owner surrender. He was reported as being 9 ˝ years old with some dental issues and is 'defiant' weighing 4 pounds. I considered the information and how he would fit in with me and Chip and felt that this was the right first foster dog for us. So, I got prepared and I met with the director Jackie at her office so that I could be there when he was dropped off and taken for his initial medical exam. I was nervous and excited. The feeling turned to sadness as me and Jackie witnessed the condition of poor Honey. Honey, a male dog with all bright pink clothing and belongings was a sad sight. I was told that he was one of, if not the most emaciated dogs they had ever received. To touch this little guy, I felt like I would break his body that was a skeleton. The smell of infection from his teeth was something I had never smelled. We took him to the veterinarian and everyone discussed how a family could be so neglectful of this sweet dog. We were told repeatedly that Honey was a very defiant dog and was not a good fit in their home anymore with their children and golden lab. It was determined that the majority of Honey's teeth would need to be removed but we had another issue that was of more concern-his kidneys. There were concerning numbers on his labs and he would need to follow up with labs to determine his full health condition. We proceeded to take Honey to his first adoption event in which he snuggled up on my chest with his head on my shoulder and just needed love. Jackie said to me, 'you are going to fall in love with him'. I brought Honey home, in which we soon renamed him to Sonny to clear any confusion of his gender. Initially he was urinating frequently inside and he was so hungry and thirsty. Chip who likes to be right by my side and has a jealous nature, had a completely subtle approach with Sonny. It was amazing-as if he knew that Sonny was sick and we all needed to be gentle with him. Sonny showed so much character from the beginning, like when you pet his back he does a wiggle with his back legs that looks as if he is doing some type of dance move. Sonny does not run around but rather prances around looking very funny. He became adapted to the routine and is always ready for love. He is excited to be pet, to be held and whenever coming home from work he dances around in circles showing his excitement. He is friendly with all people and other dogs. He continues to startle easily if reaching your hands out to him as if he is protecting himself. Sonny is nothing but love and calmness.

Sonny's labs came back and to the disappointment of everyone, he has been diagnosed with kidney disease. Learning about this for the first time in the veterinarian's office was heartbreaking and a very critical decision had to be made about how to proceed forward. Sonny would not be a likely candidate for adoption due to this age and medical condition. I was overwhelmed and confused being my first time foster and what this meant for the future of Sonny. I was not able to financially take on expensive medical care for a dog but I did not want to see this poor, innocent dog be put down because he wasn't going to be deemed as 'adoptable'. Thankfully, the director chose that Sonny should have a chance and we would move forward with listing him as a special needs dog and that there are people that like older dogs. Sonny had follow up labs and at this point things are stable and the veterinarian feels that Sonny is able to live a good 3 to 4 years. He is prescribed a special, canned food diet. He is slowing filling in and eats very well. The majority of his teeth have been removed.

Sonny was displayed at a second adoption event and this event is when something began to shift within myself. The emotion that came at the thought of him being adopted that very day was very sad. I contemplated with myself about his medical needs and what was in his best interest. Jackie was right-I fell in love with Sonny. His home is here with me and Chip. Although I wasn't prepared to take in a special needs dog that is a senior and has medical issues and the thought of only having him around for a short period of time and saying good-bye so soon is saddening…I know that at the end of the day if I can give him love and warmth for the final years of his life, I will have served why Sonny chose me.