This handsome, well-fed-looking fellow is Brutus, and he is an Animal Aid rescue. Brutus was the pampered friend of "Mark." Brutus and Mark played ball together and walked on the beach together, and, in general, enjoyed each other's company. Then, Mark's company transferred him to a different state. Mark didn't know how to take Brutus with him, or considered it unfair to submit his friend to the trauma of moving, or just plain didn't know that most states DO allow big, good-natured dogs to move in with their masters.
Whatever the reason, Mark placed an ad in his local newspaper: "Free to good home, friendly, lovable black lab." Someone saw the ad, called Mark, and said, "That's just the dog I've been looking for. Can I come over and see him?" The new person was very nice to Brutus, talked to him, rubbed his ears just the way Brutus liked to have his ears rubbed, and convinced Mark that he and Brutus were just made for each other.
This was Brutus's new owner's idea of a good home--at the end of a two-foot chain tied to a rope collar, in a garbage-filled backyard, no water dish or food bowl anywhere in sight. This sweet, loving dog was now 20 pounds underweight, suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, fleas, intestinal worms, mange, fly-chewed ears, heartworm, and, worst of all, neglect.
Luckily for him, neighbors called an Animal Aid volunteer, who arrived accompanied by a policeman. The new owner was arrested, charged, and convicted with cruelty to animals. He paid a fine which probably equaled less than Brutus's medical bills.
Brutus went to the vet for all kinds of medicine, then home with the volunteer for lunch. Several years later, he's been adopted by the volunteer, and still eating! He's well and happy and a bit overweight; greets everyone with a tail wag and a wet kiss. But he still wants you to remember this story and this photo every time you see an ad that says, "Free to good home."
© 2001 and used with permission from Burgner
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