Thank You ARF By Sparky (a hopeful dreamer) Never in my life have I ever been to a shelter as nice as the Animal Rescue Foundation or “ARF” as it’s more commonly known. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are other shelters that are warm and loving, but in the end it was ARF that really stole my heart. I came into ARF at one year old because my owner had to be admitted into a nursing home. I didn’t understand at first what was going on, only that it was really hot out and that I wanted to go home. Being as young as I was made everything confusing and a little frightening. I didn’t have anything to fear though as everyone was extremely nice and comforting. They brought me to a room in the back where a tall lady greeted me with gentle pats to the head and a piece of a something yummy and crunchy. The moment I entered the facility, I was hit by a strong chemical smell that made me want to run. She led me into a room with bright lights and a flat surface that was raised high above the floor. She then lifted me onto the flat surface, and along with two other ladies began looking at me all over. Although I was curious and a little nervous, I stayed still because for the first time I felt a sense of security that I had never felt before in my life. I stood for what seemed like an eternity before the tall lady lifted me up and put me back down on the ground. I followed another lady who holding my leash led me down a flight of stairs into another room full of other dogs. All of a sudden I felt like the heavens unleashed hell. Sounds were flying at me from every direction, bouncing off walls and exploding with intensity. I lowered my head and prayed for relief and silence. The lady led me to a cage that had food, water, and a fluffy bed. I walked in happily partially due to the fact that I was starving and awfully tired. The lady closed the door, and I flopped down listening as the sounds of the other dogs slowly faded away. They settled down and so did I. The next thing I knew, my eyes were closing and I was off into a deep sleep. The next day I woke to the sounds of the tall women as she hooked my leash to me. According to her, I was clean and going to the kennel. I had no clue what a kennel was, but always being up for an adventure, I complied and followed along at a trot. When we got to this kennel place, I was handed off to an older gentleman who patted me on the back and gave me another crunchy delicacy. The gentlemen, who I soon learned was named Matt, led me through the door. The kennel seemed like a very cozy place and from what Matt kept telling me, this was where I was going to be living from now on. He led me all the way to one of the cage like things at the end. My new home consisted of, on the inside, a bed, a water dish, and a juicy bone. There was some sort of metal thing, that when opened, led out to an outside place, where I could sunbathe and enjoy a cool breeze. He unhooked me and I walked inside. I immediately went to start on the bone, but before I did I looked up at Matt. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had a bone, or that people were nice to me, or what, but the next thing I knew I was barking and I couldn’t stop. I barked for the joy I felt, and for everything. Maybe living in a shelter wouldn’t be too bad. Over the next few years, I continued to live at ARF. Despite being returned a total of three times, I never gave up hope because I knew that no matter how many times I got adopted and returned or if I never got adopted again, that ARF would always be there with arms wide open ready to welcome me back again. They never judged me for my faults and all the times I was around the people I would always sense a very family like and safe atmosphere. That is why I’ll continue to always be grateful to ARF for everything they have done for me. ARF cares and to that I say, Thank You.