Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The World's Ugliest Dog

It was a very happy day in the Banyon household when their beloved dog Mabel gave birth to pups.

Little Ralphie was the last pup born, and the runt of the litter, and he was often the last to suckle any milk, sometimes unable to get any..

While his brothers and sisters had rounded faces and glossy tan coats, Ralphie was black and gray, with a squared off snout.

As the other puppies grew strong and healthy, Ralphie was thin and frail and seemed to stumble over his own feet. Mr. Banyon couldn't take it anymore.

One day during a car ride, Mr. Banyon lifted Ralphie up by the scruff of his neck and said, "Ralphie, you're the world's ugliest dog and you're a loser.

"I doubt you're going to survive and we can't waste anymore time and money on you."

"I'm going to set you free to fend for yourself. I put your name on your collar so that if anyone does want you, they'll know who you are."

Mr. Banyon then opened the car door and shoved little Ralphie out on the street. Ralphie saw him drive off, as feelings of fear washed over the little pup..

With nowhere to go, Ralphie wandered around and that night, his empty tummy growling, Ralphie slept in an alley inside an old abandoned tire.

The next day, he wandered down to an elementary school and watched the children play. When their lunchtime ended, Ralphie rushed into the playyard to eat the scraps of food they had left behind.

That night, he slept under a school bench, and the next day he was there to greet the children and watch them play.

But this time the principal, Mr. Wilson saw him and grabbed him by his collar. "It's the pound for you, you little mutt," he said

But as Ralphie cried, Mr. Wilson softened his statement. "Alright," he said. "Unless one of the children will claim you."

Seven year old Julie heard Mr. Wilson, and she knew dogs that go to the pound and are unclaimed are put to sleep permanently.

"May I have him Mr. Wilson," she called out as she wrapped her arms around Ralphie. "I'll take him home after school and see if my parents will let me keep him."

"Okay," replied Mr. Wilson sternly. "But if he comes back tomorrow, he'll be off to the pound."

When Julie got home from school with Ralphie at her side, both of her parents were there to speak with her, for Mr. Wilson had called them to let them know what had happened.

Her older sister Susan was also there. She took one look at Ralphie and said, "What an ugly dog."

Julie put her arms around Ralphie, who began to lick her face in gratitude for he could sense her unconditional love for him and he felt the same way about her.

"Can I keep him please," she begged her parents. They had planned to say no, but the sight of Julie and Ralphie together was irresistible.

After a moment of silence, her mother answered, "Okay, but he's your responsibility. It's up to you to feed him, walk him and bathe him."

"I promise I will," Julie shouted in excitement. "Come on Ralphie, let's go play."

After that, Ralphie became Julie's best friend. He knew he'd found the love and comfort he'd never had before and a home where he was finally wanted.

But deep in his heart, Ralphie never forgot what it was like to be unloved and unwanted, so much so, that he welcomed humans warmly and gently wherever he found them.

As the years passed, and Julie attended high school, she volunteered at a senior citizen's managed care facility.

There she saw that many of those senior citizens, aside from their caregivers, were alone and forgotten, and desperately lonely for companionship.

After getting permission from the care facility director, Julie brought Ralphie in to visit them and for the senior citizens and Ralphie, it was love at first sight.

They petted Ralphie and talked to him and he licked and nuzzled them in appreciation. And thereafter he became a permanent visitor, even after Julie left for college, as Julie's mother brought him in to be with his human friends.

Ralphie and Julie and her whole family knew in their hearts, Ralphie never could have become such a loving companion if he had not known what it had been like to be unloved, forgotten and alone at a crucial time in his life.

Now to those senior citizens, he was a ray of sunshine, lighting up their lives and bringing love and joy that everyone treasured.


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