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It was love at first sight for the Salzillo family. They fell hard for this adorable Miniature Pinscher.
When you meet “the one,” there’s no denying it or walking away. In some cases, it might turn out to be love at first sight. That’s exactly what happened when Francie Salzillo and her family first laid eyes on a plucky little rescue dog in need of a good home. Although they’d just lost their precious pup of many years and weren’t sure they were ready for another, once they saw Baxter all bets were off. Here’s how one little dog brought so much light and joy into his new family’s life.
“In August of 2015, our beloved Norwegian Elkhound and Beagle mix, Bandit, passed away from kidney failure. Our hearts were broken, and our home felt so weird and empty, as if a thickness had fallen over it. My son Austin said, ‘We have to get another dog, Bandit would want us to.’ It was so soon, as we’d just received Bandit’s ashes, but I felt the emptiness, too. My husband and I talked about it and agreed, this time, it would be a small dog, that we didn’t want a puppy we’d have to housebreak, and that it must be a rescue.
My son heard an advertisement on the radio about a ‘Clear the Shelter Day’ at the Animal Rescue League in Brewster, Mass., where they take $50 off the adoption fee, so my husband, son, and I went online and then to the shelter to see the dogs they had for adoption. The event started in the afternoon, and when we got there, a line had formed outside. Once inside, we walked down the hall, and low and behold there was a cute little 14-month-old Mini Pin in one of the cages. Austin had noticed him right away, and the little dog was coming up to him. We took him out for a walk and played with him in the grass, and it was true love. He was a cuddlebug, and when he jumped in my husband’s arms he fell in love, too! So I brought him back inside and said we want to adopt him. Over the next two weeks, as we waited for the shelter to give our new dog a full checkup, shots, and neuter him, I went to the shelter every other day to take him for a walk and bond with him. We named him Baxter.
Once Baxter came home, the light and laughter returned to our house. He is my little love, and my husband loves to cuddle and kiss him. Baxter loves to be held, and he gets upset when you put him down. Because of my rotator cuff issue, I can’t pick him up, but we have what I call our ‘silly love,’ where he gets on his back with his legs up in the air and I rub his belly. He also loves to burrow under blankets and enjoys carrying his own blanket around the house. He has the most expressive face, and if you tell him to get a toy he retrieves it, hoping you’ll chase him. We love to take him for walks around the neighborhood, and on adventures to the beach or the conservation park near our home. When we’re out walking, he does this hilarious trot like a pedigreed pony, as if he’s saying, ‘Look at me, I’m cute and handsome!’
Baxter just turned two in April, and it’s like having a toddler in the house sometimes. I have to watch him, as he puts everything in his mouth. In August, it will be a year since we got him. Maybe down the road I’ll get him a playmate, but right now it’s about getting him set on our routine and being a big part of our family, and truthfully, I just want to spend time training and spoiling him now.
Baxter is our little angel who has brought smiles and laughter back into our home, and he is so loved.”
Every dog, whether from a shelter, a rescue, or otherwise, deserves to be loved and cherished, just like little Baxter. Dogs ask for so little, and yet give us so much in return. That’s why we humans must do our part to help every homeless pup find a loving forever home, because big or small, mixed or purebred, and no matter where they come from, all dog lives matter!
A devoted dog mom, journalist, and animal activist, Lisa uses her writing to spread awareness about animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one entitled Pug, and a very understanding husband. Read more of her work at her blog and website, and follow her on Twitter.
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