Monday night, my fiance and I went to a local Speedway. I needed caffiene. We do trivia on Monday nights for a little extra spending money. So, I went in, searching for Rockstar and what I saw was a beautiful, cowering black dog on an old lead. The hand holding the lead belonged to a young man who was so obviously no sober... not the kind of intoxicated that belongs exclusively to alcohol, either... and I asked if I could pet his dog. He didn't care. So, I bent down, level with the dog, who hung his head. I extended my hand and he sniffed it tentatively and let me pet him. I spoke in soothing tones and he stopped shaking. The guy who had him asked if I owned dogs. I actually didn't. I had had a dog for as long as I could remember. Last year, my puggle (not a rescue, unfortunately), was tragically killed by a car when she escaped our yard in search of a rabbit or squirrell. I never found who took her from me, just barely out of puppyhood. I have since moved and didn't own a dog. It was too hard. When I told him I didn't own a dog, he asked if I wanted him. He nodded casually to the scared dog on the end of the leash. Like it was an extra concert ticket or a left over ice cream. Not a living animal. I told him I'd love to take him in, but I had to confer with my fiance. We make decisions together, as a team. And a dog is a big decision. So, I talked to him, and he knew how much I'd missed owning a doggie, the companionship they give, the comfort. And since I'm going back to school, I would most definitely have the time to train and take care of a doggie, even if he wasn't housebroken. So, we were given this dog, and when I got a good look at him, saw that he was a pure black purebred Standard Schnauzer. Not that pure breeds matter much to me. I've always had a thing for mutts, but... he was beautiful. Huge, sad brown eyes. So expressive. He'd been called Shadow, but it didn't seem to fit. Murky fit. And when I asked if he liked that name better, he began to respond to it immediately. A few days later, he has had one accident in the house, just one, never marked (although he's still intact until we make an appt. with out vet), is gentle, patient, not even food aggressive. But he is still skittish. Loud noises and men scare the poor thing to death. We're slowly, but surely bringing him out of it. He still hasn't barked. But I have a feeling, once he gets secure here, he'll be fine. I'm slowly bonding with him, slowly, but there's a wall around my heart. I know all too well the grief that accompanies the death of a well loved pet, family member. It'll break eventually and then he will truely be a part of our family. Until then, he's already everything a good dog should be. He even has manners! Doesn't beg for food or jump on people. But he'll sit patiently for someone to pet his face for as long as he can con someone into doing it.