This past weekend something unexpected happened to me.

Ever since the moment I was born, I've lived in a house with pets. Whether it was two giant, fluffy, teddy bear German Shepherds that my two-year-old self-rode like horses, one or two taken in cats, or the occasional, "Mom can we please get a fish"? Every time the thought of adopting a new pet into the family arises, my dad is always the last deciding factor. My mom and I scheme by searching for the cutest, most lovable looking little animal and showing my dad, hoping to sway his decision. His initial reaction every time is a stone cold no unless you know the secret - a German Shepherd puppy.

After the two Shepherds my family raised while I was a baby passed away from old age, my family was heartbroken, especially my dad. Within days of our younger Shepherd being put down, he drove around until he found a homeless person with a dog and donated everything dog related we had. He had put those two beautiful dogs through numerous hours of obedience training, protection training, and even taken both of them all the way to Germany with us when my family moved. They were like children to him. These dogs were everything, so how do you not become sad when they are no longer there?

You guessed it - a new German Shepherd puppy.

One of my mom's close friends had just had a baby right after adopting an energetic Shepherd puppy and quickly became overwhelmed. She had heard about our dogs passing and reached out to us, to see if we would be interested in adopting her dog. Of course my mom, brother, and I was instantly excited and the only reason my dad considered looking at the puppy was, of course, my mom's friend promised it was a purebred German Shepherd.

We arrived at her house and heard multiple dogs barking. Right away my dad goes, "There's no German Shepherd in there, let's go." My mom eventually convinced him to take a look and as soon as we saw her, there was no looking back. A young, but the not yet adult dog came running out of the house, immediately sat on my mom's foot and well, we named her Rubie.
Fast forward to a Sunday about six years later (last weekend).

I am from Northern Phoenix, so when I am not taking classes in Tucson at The University of Arizona, I go home to Phoenix. Recently, my family began working on fixing up a home in Tucson to rent out to students and eventually to my younger brother and I. This past weekend, all four of my family members (my mom, dad, brother, and of course Rubie) traveled two hours to Tucson to work on the house.

We've all noticed the new neighborhood has a lot more activity than our Phoenix neighborhood seems to. Regardless of the heat, there seem to always be people jogging, walking their dogs, biking or going for walks, so we usually let Rubie roam around the front yard.

This past Sunday when we were in Tucson, everyone was inside, except for my dad and Rubie, who were outside in front of the house. My dad was focused on working and Rubie decided to wander off towards the side of the house. Rubie loves to wander and sniff everything imaginable, but she always comes back. This time to our surprise, Rubie came trotting back and following her was a white Husky German Shepherd mix with two bright, different colored eyes - my absolute dream dog.
Of course days before this perfect dog showed up on my doorstep as a present, my mom started to convince my dad to adopt another puppy.

To my relief, this dog named Duke had a collar with two phone numbers listed. I called the first twice and there was no answer. I dialed the second and Duke took off down an alley across the street. My brother and I chased after him and eventually caught him right as his owner picked up the phone. To my surprise, the voice on the phone didn't sound too excited about reclaiming their dog, which made me sad.

I reluctantly texted the owner my address and about 15 minutes later a lady all alone and in a wheelchair came by and claimed Duke. The whole time we were waiting for her to show up I secretly hoped I could just keep him, but the second I saw her face light up when she saw Duke, I was so happy I chased her dog down the alley and brought him back to her.

I would have never known the condition Duke's owner was in unless I made those three phone calls and made the effort to find him when he ran off. I couldn't imagine if the same thing happened to Rubie and no one returned her. Family pets really do become family members and I couldn't be more content knowing Duke is back with his loving owner.