Story submitted by Lisa Villanueva from Faro, Portugal.
He wasn’t even 3 months old the first time he showed up, exhausted, hungry and thirsty resting under brush next to our house. When we finally coaxed him out, we also learned he was completely flea and tick ridden and without any ID. We live a bit in the countryside and it’s not unusual that hunters leave their dogs to roam, which is what we thought had happened to him, only this one maybe lost his way.
After playing with him for a bit, my husband and I bathed him, gave him food and water, and applied a tick treatment, trying to help the little fella. As we were tending to him outside deciding what to do, our closest neighbor drove past and told us he belonged to their house, about 1/4 mile further down the road. It turns out he was left at the house by a sister.
Saddened by the news, there really was no choice but to lead him “home” and hope the best for him. Once we got far enough down the road towards his house, he seemed to recognize his home and ran towards it. I was actually teary watching him run towards the house because even in that short time since I’d met him, he worked his way into my heart.
It was several weeks before we saw him again, but we often wondered how he was and hoped he was getting better. As it turned out, one day one of our own dogs escaped, which she is known to do. About an hour later, she was back and had company with her. The little fella had followed her home and literally, from that day forward, he never left.
There is a gate on the road in front of our house leading to our own courtyard. It’s a street mostly only used by us and the neighbor and ends at his house. We were careful not to let the puppy come into our yard, as we didn’t want it to appear we were taking him, but from that day forward, Snoopy, as we’d quickly taken to calling him, camped outside our gate for weeks and never left. He was there in the morning when we woke up, he was there throughout the day and was always there at night when we went to lock up and called it a night. He made it very obvious this was where he wanted to call home, and each day we became more okay with that.
Of course we left food, water, a blanket and even toys out for him because even though he wasn’t ours, we were going to be sure he knew someone cared for him. He got lots of visits and cuddles from us throughout the day and eventually other neighbors came by to play with him, too. He was becoming very popular and everyone was hoping we would adopt him.
From the beginning the neighbor made it clear he wasn’t interested in keeping Snoopy but because it was his sister’s dog, he had no say in letting us adopt him, something we decided we would try to do if we could convince his owner. For all intents and purposes, by this time we were already family, but we really wanted to make it official. Snoopy even took to playing with our two dogs through the fence and they seemed to love him just as much, too. All he wanted was to come in and play with them but we had to be careful about bringing him inside, especially since he still had so many ticks.
One day I eventually did scoop him up and took him to the vet for tick treatment. It broke my heart to see the sores he was causing on his own paws and legs trying to get the fleas and ticks off. Thankfully we rid him of the problem and he really started to flourish. He was happier, more playful and so bright-eyed with a healthy coat of fur.
After three more weeks, we just couldn’t take it anymore and my husband asked to speak with the sister. She agreed and we learned someone had given the puppy to her young daughter as a gift but she had no room for him, especially as he was likely going to be a larger dog and she lived in an apartment. My husband convinced her it was best if we took him in, we promised to take good care of him and she was welcome to come visit him anytime and bring her daughter. She was completely agreeable and glad we wanted to take him.
That was the day we finally were able to make it official but truly, he had already adopted us weeks earlier. We just didn’t know it at the time. We do truly feel blessed and honored that he chose us.
Today, almost 18 months later, he’s the handsome, loving, loyal protector of our family. He’s playful, goofy and funny, a great companion and everybody loves him. He’s our Snoopy and thankfully, he’s here to stay!
This article was originally published on The Animal Rescue Site.SKM: below-content placeholder