- : Today, Luke is my best friend and companion. He is always there when I need him. He has graduated Advanced training and can heel perfectly with no leash. Luke Houston changed my life for the better and I will always be thankful for what he did for me.
: It all started on February 17. I had been wanting a dog for a very long time. My mom and I would look every night on websites trying to find the perfect puppy. Finally, we found an organization online called “Pound Pups in Need”, and our hearts were captured by a dog named Faith. My mom and I called the shelter at 8:00 pm to inquire about Faith. We never thought we would hear a voice at the other end of the line at that hour. The manager of the rescue said that Faith had been adopted a few days prior to our call. She mentioned another dog named Belair and exclaimed, “I swear this dog has a soul!” We thanked her for her time but did not think anything would ever come of that phone call.
The next morning I tried to feed my baby brother, Joseph, who was six months old. My dad had instructed me not to feed him, but I felt I had to because all the older children were eating and he had to sit there and wait. I took the syringe and filled it with baby food, but when I tried to squirt it into his mouth, he turned his head and received some food on his ear. Later, when my mom tried to wipe it off, he screamed. My mom, who is a veterinarian, determined that he had a severe ear infection. It was a Saturday, so my mom was not sure what to do. She did not even know if she could get an appointment with our pediatrician. She called the office of Dr. Ramon Ramos and told his answering service about her dilemma. The helpful lady told my mom that Joseph could be seen. So with two minutes notice, our family was off to Savannah, where Dr. Ramos practices. We had no intention of getting a dog that day.
What the lady had not told my mom was that there were seventeen other emergencies that morning and that she was number eighteen. We waited for hours. After my mom came out of the office, my dad said that we could go pet puppies at the pound, because we had been well behaved in the parking lot for three hours. Though my parents had specifically noted that we were not adopting a dog, my brother Caleb and I sat in the back of our fifteen-passenger van, praying that we would find a dog that would be right for our family. When we stopped at the shelter, we were reminded by my parents that we would not adopt a dog. We were only here to look. We were assigned a guide so we could tour the facility. The cacophony of barking drove my dad and baby brother back to the car. He drove around town to find a Starbucks. Meanwhile, my mom and siblings met up with Faith, the dog we were hoping to adopt. My mom and I started crying. We really believed she was right for our family, but was no longer available.
After we left Faith, we walked down the endless row of steel cages, each occupied by a frantic dog. Then we noticed Belair. He caught our attention because he was eyeing us, not dominantly, but calmly, and he did not jump up in his cage. This was a calm, submissive canine. We then went into the meet-and-greet pen to interact with him. He was very serene and allowed us to pour out affection on him.
My brother stepped in doggie feces in the pen so we had to go clean his shoe. In the bathroom, my mom was telling us how wonderful that dog was, but dad would never let us adopt him. We prayed together and then told the shelter staff that we would talk to our dad and see what he said. My mom started explaining the situation to dad. Finally, dad agreed to walk in to meet Belair. It was plain to anyone that dad really liked him (as they mutually do today). As we walked out, dad said nothing to me. He climbed into the driver seat of the van and started talking to my mom. Then he came out and said, “You better start cleaning out the back of the van for our dog!” The shouts of glee echoed off the building. We walked in and got Belair tested for heartworm and he tested negative. Then we tried to get him into the back of the van, which was a very challenging job because our family believes that he had been abused and flung out onto the highway. (He was scared of cars for the first two years of living with us.) He threw up in the car on the ride home. Immediately, we took him to the Animal Medical Center, where my mom works part time, so Belair could get a bath and be dewormed. Then we headed to PetSmart to purchase food.
Since my mom believes that dogs need exceptional food to live longer lives, she spent a full thirty minutes picking out a small bag of food to last until we could go to a different store to get a better brand. Everyone in PetSmart was afraid of him since at that time he had a lovely heart but was not trained. People were picking up their small dogs for fear they would be eaten. To this day, I know my hands would not be as callused if Belair had not pulled on me like that in PetSmart.
We took Belair/Luke home and crate trained him. He smelled. He was untrained. And he was very unmannerly. I put on some classical music and Belair relaxed. (Today Canon in D is still our favorite song to listen to together.) During the night, he had diarrhea and I had my first experience of cleaning up after a dog. The next morning, in family Bible time, we decided that Belair was not the name for this dog. Since our family all has Bible names except my mom, we thought this dog should have one too. I wanted to name my dog Houston but we decided on Luke. I call him Houston because that is his middle name.
- : On February 18, 2012, my life was changed. This is the story of how I adopted my wonderful Labrador Retriever mix, Luke Houston. Luke was captured on the highway of Savannah, Georgia by the Savannah Animal Control. He was transported to a high kill shelter, and that is where my family found my dog.
- : Abigail
- : February 18th