In late June, English teacher Ms. Allison Seay found two seven-week-old labrador-like puppies in an abandoned construction site. They had most likely been left there to die. Covered in dried mortar and over two hundred ticks each, they were starving and weak.
She took them to the vet, where they were given antibiotics for their wounds, but the ticks left many sores and scabs all over their bodies, in their ears, and around their eyes. She took them home to help nurse them back to health and temporarily named them “Big Man” and “Little Girl.” Big Man was all black, while his sister was mostly black with tan paws and muzzle. Big Man trembled and shied away whenever someone tried to touch him. For a while, he would not eat with Ms. Seay in the room, and his weak legs often gave out underneath him. Both he and his sister had to eat laying down at first because they were too weak.
Little Girl healed and became less timid faster than Big Man, but he soon followed her. Ms. Seay said that when they slept, “they were just an indistinguishable pile of black fur, one of top of the other, licking each others ears. It was hard to tell where one stopped and the other started, and which paw belonged to which dog.”
After about three months, they had gained weight and were mostly healed; the mortar was almost completely gone from their fur. Ms. Seay had taught them several basic tricks, and they were already pretty much house-trained when she found them. Both were calm, timid puppies. The dogs then lived on a farm in Powhatan for a few months when Ms. Seay moved to an apartment. However, did not live well there. Oftentimes they would go missing for days and return starving and wounded. Occationally they would be tied to a stake, unable to roam the ten acre yard. Ms. Seay then took them back to her apartment, and because they needed room to run around, began looking for homes for them, starting with Big Man.
This is where my family comes in. We had been considering adding a second dog to our family for a few months after our vet suggested that we get a puppy to liven up our aging dog, Lily. We had gone through this same process ten years ago with our dog Sara, a black lab who, like Lily, had begun to slow down with age. We adopted Lily as a puppy, and the situation was perfect! So my family decided that we would get a puppy this summer, preferably a rescue dog that already had some training. And after recently reading an article about “black dog syndrome,” the fact that black dogs are adopted less and euthanized more often, we decided that we wanted to adopt a black dog. (To learn more about “black dog syndrome,” watch THIS VIDEO from NBC.) It seemed almost perfect when Ms. Seay sent out an email last Sunday to the Collegiate faculty asking if anyone would like to adopt Big Man and give him a loving home. My mom, Lily, and I met Ms. Seay and Big Man at a small, fenced-in dog park for the dogs to meet and to discuss a possible adoption. When Big Man practically crawled into my mom’s lap while we sat on a bench, we knew this dog would be a great new addition to our family.
We are all still discussing a name, but will most likely be calling him Bruno from now on. We are so grateful that Ms. Seay rescued Big Man and his sister from a horrible fate and found us for his forever home. She is overflowing with love for them and wants nothing more than for them to have a good, loving life. She described Bruno as “a survivor, for sure,” even if he is still timid and a little scared. While Bruno has settled into his new home nicely, we can tell that he truly misses Ms. Seay, and will always remember her as the one who saved his life.