Birmingham, Alabama—I’ll call him Denny. Denny lived in a rundown part of town. His was a rundown house with plywood over a busted window.
He drove a truck for a living, he supported his four-person family. But families aren’t cheap, and driving a semi isn’t exactly a rich man’s job.
One evening, Denny came home to an empty house. He found a note on his refrigerator. His wife had left him for another, and taken his kids.
It was a cruel blow.
He was in a sad state for the following year. He says he contemplated ending it all with a bottle of pills.
“Just couldn’t,” he said. “Gott’em to my mouth a couple times, but didn’t have the guts.”
One weekend, a knock on his door. It was a little girl. She was looking for a dog.
“He’s a brown Lab,” she said. “His name’s Bo, and he’s kinda fat.”
Denny told her he hadn’t seen any Labs. Her face grew long. She thanked him and walked away with her head down.
He thought about her all day. She reminded him of his own daughter. Something came over him. He laced his shoes and hit the neighborhood streets.
He spent the weekend walking house to house, asking neighbors if they’d seen a chocolate-colored dog. He estimated that he knocked on seventy doors. Seventy.
He developed blisters on his feet and a sore lower back.
He was met with a string of sorry-haven’t-seen-hims. And he was about to give up, until he knocked on a door in a neighborhood that was a few miles away.
A woman answered. She told him a stray came into her yard days earlier. A brown dog. She’d carried it to a no-kill shelter.
Denny could’ve kissed her.
At the shelter, he found the sleeping dog behind a chain-link kennel gate. But the shelter wouldn’t let Denny adopt—not right away. This is the twenty-first century. Adopting a dog is like applying to become a pilot for the NASA 2020 Mars mission.
They subjected Denny to a background check, an interview, and he paid a stiff adoption fee.
“Man,” he said. “It was worth it. Felt good knowing that kid was gonna be happy ‘cause of something I did. I can’t describe it. Animals are good for the soul, man.”
Soon, Denny was driving home with a Labrador in his backseat. He rapped on the girl’s door. It was the quintessential Lassie-Come-Home greeting. Licks on the face, childish laughter.
“Something happened to me, man,” he said. “I just realized that there’s lotta good stuff out there, I just gotta get off my ass and look for it.”
Well, I wish I could tell you that everything worked out in the end, but this is life. Things don’t always work out in the end.
Denny is divorced now, he still doesn’t get to see his kids very often. He still lives in a rundown home with plywood on the windows.
But don’t feel sorry for him. Because Denny is not sad anymore. In fact, he claims he’s as happy as he’s ever been.
Ever since he quit his job and began working at an animal shelter.
Amy Williams - August 21, 2017 11:17 am
I believe that’s true! Helping other people and helping animals makes you happy
Debbie Smith - August 21, 2017 11:26 am
He is giving love and receiving love everyday….Your writings make my day because they are exactly as you said, LIFE! Thanks for brightening my days!
Cathi Russell - August 21, 2017 11:34 am
All the weepy glees!!! As I rub on and kiss on my two rescues, thank you Denny!
Cynthia Perfater - August 21, 2017 12:19 pm
Sean- you don’t know me from Adam, but each day I look forward to hearing a notification on my phone and seeing that one of your stories is waiting for me to open. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Thank you for reminding us that there is still good in this world. Keep those stories comin’!
Trudy :) - August 21, 2017 1:05 pm
An animal shelter is about the best place to be when you have or have had the life episodes Denny has had. There is unconditional love and acceptance there. In fact, you can just sit and do nothing and something will come and reassure you life will be better, even if it’s just at that moment.
Thank you, Sean for another glimpse into the world through your eyes.
Pamela McEachern - August 21, 2017 1:43 pm
Sometimes being lost helps you find your way back home. Thank you Sean and Mr Denny
Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - August 21, 2017 2:05 pm
Marty from Alabama - August 21, 2017 2:06 pm
Love this. It doesn’t have a flashing, glorious music ending. It has a down to earth ending about a down to earth guy that found a way to turn his life into happy without all the gold and glitz. Being happy isn’t about that; it’s about your heart.
For the hundredth time, thank you, Sean.
Melodie - August 21, 2017 3:14 pm
Nothing like fur babies to heal the soul. I’m affiliated with a horse rescue. I’m the rescued one.
Thank you again for a touching story.
Sam Hunneman - August 21, 2017 3:54 pm
Happy Eclipse Day, Sean. You’ve made mine better with this. Thanks!
Linda - August 21, 2017 5:33 pm
You just can’t be sad and see all the world as bad when you have unconditional love from a fur baby
Jack Quanstrum - August 21, 2017 8:45 pm
Sean the culmination of the story was unexpectedly magnificent. There is truly a silver lining in all the pain we face. God’s goodness through the mystery of His works is beyond our comprehension until it happens through His marvelous ways and we finally recognize it. Thank you for sharing goodness. Shalom 7
Pat - August 21, 2017 8:55 pm
Mary Ellen Hall - August 21, 2017 9:04 pm
LOVE THIS STORY-SO VERY HEARTWARMING!!
My husband & I have a “Chocolate Lab;” so I PRAY that someone would be that KIND, if we were to loose our Nestle’!!
THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL STORY!!
Sharon Dodd - August 21, 2017 11:36 pm
I loved this story. and the ending was wonderful.
Doc - October 6, 2017 9:44 am
“This is the twenty-first century. Adopting a dog is like applying to become a pilot for the NASA 2020 Mars mission.” Speaking from experience…truer words have never been spoken! Still don’t have one…
unkle - October 6, 2017 5:00 pm
So in the circle city we had this beautiful loving girl on our local family owned radio station. For thirty years this girl sat and talked on the radio. News, weather, lost pets, found pets. Had a website they do to help out with pets. She would leave work at 7pm and go feed stray cats. But she would trap some of the cats and off to the vet they went. Spay or neuter , rabies vaccination and after that the cats that were to wild to keep were taken back to where they were trapped. They would learn the sound of her voice so when she returned every night to put out fresh water and food they would greet her. Then she got sick.It was bad , she was brave . She faught like a wild cat in a sack. The cancer took her . Others go and feed her babies. The idea she started is still alive and doing well. Her family and friends will continue her work. Fund raising in her name has changed the way she did thangs. The difference is that she never asked for help or money to pay the vet bills or to buy the food.She just worked longer to make more money to give away. I am sure her fur babies miss her as do I and every one who ever met her or heard her voice on the radio.She was and still Is my very special niece.Love you girl.See you later. uk
Pamela McEachern - October 6, 2017 7:00 pm
I too had an amazing friend that was an angel to all fur babies, she lost her cancer battle and so many people have tried to be there for all she cared for, I know she now is an angel up above. God Bless her memory, DG from Demopolis Al?