The day we signed on our new house is the day I met her.
Needing to stay near where my husband was having meetings, I decided to burn some time. So, I decided to head to the animal shelter to look at puppies.
Then I saw her.
The volunteer standing next to me that day noticed Dixie’s unique features first – she has extra claws on both back paws.
My mind instantly thought, ‘How cool! We have something in common! We both have a body difference.’
But then, before I knew it, the lady leaned down to baby talk and mock the dog, ‘Awwwww…You’re such a freak of nature!’
Oh, be still my beating heart.
I stood there, with my own obvious body difference shining from my face, unsure of what to say. But my heart was saying, ‘I can’t leave this dog here. Not where she’s going to be called a freak of nature for the way she was born.’
Because I’ve been there. I, too, have been called those names – all because of how I just happened to be born. All because of a purple port wine stain birthmark that covers the left side of my face.
‘Too ugly for love.’
‘The girl who has something wrong with her face.’
I’ve been there. I’ve been mocked, stared at, and I’ve been pitied.
And while she is only a dog and not a human like myself, my heart broke for her and the words being thrown her way.
But I didn’t adopt her right on the spot, because although Richard (my husband) and I had been talking about getting a dog – I felt I couldn’t take a dog home without having Richard meet her first.
When I saw Richard again, I told him of the experience and all the heart struggles I was having. Because truthfully, they went even deeper than words can fully express.
I ranted. I raved. After all – if that’s that she thought about a dog in her care with a body difference, what was she thinking about the customer standing in front of her with half of a purple face? And boy was my face extra purple that cold winter day as it changes colors with the temperature of my body.
But mostly, I sympathized for the dog.
Richard looked at me with understanding eyes and asked me, ‘Why didn’t you just bring her home? You should have.’
And two days later, she was ours.
Two days later, Dixie was home.”
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