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In June 2000, I decided to adopt a dog from Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, IL because they are a no-kill shelter.

My landlord said he would let us get a small dog. All I saw were large dogs. One medium sized dog pressed himself against his cage door and quietly wagged his tail. I said, “Sorry guy, you’re too big.” Heartbroken, I left. This happened seven more times. I apologized to the medium sized dog each time.

I finally found a small mix but then found he was already being adopted by someone. I felt so let down. I had been searching for weeks.

Convinced I WAS going home with a dog, I walked the kennel again. The medium sized dog was still there. He still pressed himself up against his door and swished his tail. Okay, I thought, he wasn’t THAT big. My children screamed, “No! Not the big head ugly one, Mom!” His coat was shaved and his head was fluffy giving him the appearance of a big head. He was thin and ugly. Every time I visited the shelter, I stopped to say hello. Every time I passed him up looking for a better dog. I asked my landlord if a medium dog was okay and he said yes. Barley was at AWL for 3 months and was a yr old.

Once home, Barley gained weight. I guess he didn’t have much of an appetite in the shelter. His coat grew in as I had hoped and it became beautiful. My children adored him. He found his forever home.

Barley is still with us. He’s thirteen now and very loved. I’d like to thank the people who adopted that first little dog back then. Because of them, I chose Barley. Maybe he chose me?

Joann Pool
Wheaton, IL

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