A Valentine Story: Brandy Ragan

written by Lynn O'Shaughnessy, April 2006

It was the day before Thanksgiving when I received the call.  A 13-year old Airedale was being surrendered to ATRA.  Her family had moved and could not take her.  She was left behind with relatives.

I wasted no time getting there.  The temperatures at night were already going into the 20s and I was told she lived outside.  I pulled in front of a modest home in an older neighborhood.  However, nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see.  Brandy was tied out in the yard next to a dog house.  There was no straw or blankets to comfort her old bones.  She had hair missing and what was there was terribly dreadlocked, matted and filthy. 

I bit my tongue, and completed the paperwork.  When it came time to get Brandy, the people just unhooked her and handed her to me, tie out, cable and all.  I gathered her up and put her in the car.  Despite all of her neglect, she managed a tail wag.  She was so grateful to be going somewhere – anywhere there were people.

A bath was the first order of business.  After washing away all of the stench, I just used scissors to cut away all the matted fur.  She was quite thin underneath.  I gave her some food, probably the best meal she had in a while.  She ate with gusto and wagged her tail some more.

Little by little she improved.  Her diarrhea went away, her coat began to grow back and she was quite playful for her age.  She celebrated Christmas with us.  She was warm.  She was loved.  She finally had what she needed to renew her spirit.

By January, she was ready for her new home.  I wasn’t sure if anyone would adopt a 13-year old dog, but I took her picture and put her up on the Web site anyways.  In the back of my mind, I told myself that if no one wanted her, she could live out her days here with us. 

But Brandy had an Aire-Angel.  Joan Ragan called in February.  She had just lost her Zoey.  I was happy yet sad.  Brandy and Joan were a match made in heaven.  In knew that. But I still shed some tears when she left – tears of joy.

Joan officially signed the papers to adopt Brandy on Valentines Day.  I couldn’t think of a better present for my little foster girl.

Brandy had a wonderful year with Joan before crossing the Rainbow Bridge.


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