Standing on the hard concrete, I stared in the appliance store window at the news on a television that had apparently been placed on sale today. A reporter standing outside the Dollar General, a store I knew so very well, was talking into the camera. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but the store security camera footage in the corner of the screen caught my eye.–
Somehow, I am the news!
“Shoo, go home, dog!” A man holding a broom swished the cleaning stick toward me and repeated, “Shoo, dog. Go home!”
Home. I wish I could go home.
I trotted away, down Main Street, ducked into the church parking lot to see if they were serving food today, and then headed to the ballpark where kids were always dropping their hot dogs. My stomach ached for a normal feeding schedule, and I was tired of hiding and sneaking behind the Food Lion and Subway for scraps. But most of all, my heart ached. I wanted a family and I missed home.
Out on the streets, I had learned to not spend too much time in one place. It was important to keep moving along, but it was hard to give up on the one thing I was so close to having, though I seemed to fail at every attempt. I needed a better plan, especially now that I’d seen myself on TV. Am I now a wanted pup? It didn’t matter. I had to have that purple unicorn from the Dollar General store! It was the only thing I had left in memory of my home.
My paws were shaking and my heart pounding as my plan raced through my thoughts once more. The anticipation was taking hold of my nerves, but when the next customer came out, I would slip in and head straight to the toy section, grab the purple unicorn, and this time I would go around the isles to hide from the people working the store, then dash out the door and I would have my purple unicorn friend.
The plan failed! I didn’t know it was possible to have my heart broken any more than it already was, but suddenly I found myself stuck, caught, captured, and put in a small dark kennel. A few minutes passed and I barked for help, but who would come help me. I was a lost puppy. No, that’s not it. I was a lost dog. When I was a puppy, my family loved me, but a dog gets shoo’ed by a broom.
After a long drive, the truck stopped. Fear of the unknown flooded from the tips of my ears to the pads of my paws. A friendly voice greeted me, but I wasn’t sure if I could trust this girl named Samantha. She did put me in this small, dark cage after all. She led me into the building as several dogs barked, some because they were excited, some because the others barked, and some were angry. What was I? Scared! I was bathed and fitted for a collar and led to a cage with a bed and a bucket of water. It was clean and they fed me food, and after I settled, I heard Samantha’s voice again. She smiled at me and said, “What if we call you Sisu? Sisu means perseverance in a task that for some may seem crazy to undertake, or gutsy, and you, Sisu, are a very gutsy puppy. And for being so persistent, I bought you something.” She put her hand inside the bag she had hidden behind her and pulled out my purple unicorn! I yelped and cried. I couldn’t help it. I hugged it and wanted so much to lick Samantha all over her face. Then I had my purple unicorn friend and food. All I was missing was a family I could call my own.
Sisu’s story is based on a true story! Animal Control officers were called to a North Carolina Dollar General Store after a stray dog kept coming into the store and running to the toy aisle. Workers at the Kevansville store told the officers that the lab mix went straight for a purple unicorn plush toy every time. Samantha Lane, the Animal Control officer who responded to the Dollar General Store’s call, was so taken with the dog’s devotion to the unicorn that she bought the toy for the dog. Lane took the dog to a Duplin County Animal Services Shelter where he was named Sisu. Shortly after Sisu arrived, the shelter posted a picture of the pup and the unicorn on their Facebook page. “This is what happens when you break into the Dollar General consistently to steal the purple unicorn that you laid claim to, but then get Animal Control called to lock you up for your break and entry and larceny, but the officer purchases your item for you and brings it in with you.”
After some training, Sisu was adopted to a forever home with his best friend the purple unicorn! The next time you make that big step in life to have a pet, I hope you consider adoption. There are so many animals who need forever homes.
Most of the photographs used in my books: If Pets Could Talk Dogs and If Pets Could Talk Cats were adopted and rescued animals. These cute little one-liner animal thoughts books can be purchased on Amazon.