My husband and I decided we’d look at an eight month old retriever mix named Harley at your shelter in August of 2010. When we first saw him, I told my husband this black dog looked striking. Even though he was as far away from the front of the cage as could be, we still noticed that he had silky fur and kind eyes. He had to be coaxed out of his cage, and when we were shut in a room together, he wanted nothing to do with us. He was unsure of us; he looked sad and scared. He was a lost soul, but there was something special about him. I have trouble making decisions, so my husband made the decision for us to take him home. I’ll always be grateful to him for this.

Rescued from a shelter in Alabama, we were told our dog had never had a home. This was obvious when he was afraid to enter ours. He didn’t know how to walk up stairs, so we had to encourage him to climb them. He was afraid to ride in the car and would get car sick, so we gave him medicine and practiced short rides until he got used to it. Initially, it seemed like he was afraid of his own shadow.

However, after only a couple of days, he stuck to me like glue. I had become his person. He followed me everywhere. He clung to my side when people new to him came near him. I couldn’t walk into another room without him following me. I had a shadow, and his name was Wolfgang. Named for Mozart, we also affectionately call him Wolfie.

So much has changed over the past four years. It seems like Wolfie has always been a part of our lives. He loves our families. He has his own couch he sits on in the parlor. He loves to eat human food. He sleeps on a futon mattress. He has play-dates with his doggy friends. He goes on vacations with us to Cape Cod and Nantucket.

I know we rescued Wolfie, but he also rescued me. Whenever I have a bad day at work, he’s waiting to cheer me up once I get home. When I don’t feel like exercising, he reminds me that he needs to go for his daily walk. Whether I haven’t seen him for five minutes or five hours, he greets me in a way that makes me feel like I’m his favorite person in the world.

I think there’s something about a rescue dog that makes him loyal beyond compare. Each time I go out, Wolfgang waits for me in the window, no matter how long I’m gone, until I come home. To this day, I cannot move to another room in the house without him following me. He is always watching me. I never imagined I’d have a dog show such devotion towards me.

Wolfgang loves to roll in the grass and in the snow. When he does it, he looks like he’s smiling. I love watching him do this because he looks genuinely happy. It also makes me think back to that frightened soul he was, living in his cage at the shelter. Then I look at him rolling around on his back, seemingly without a care in the world, and I think about how far he has come. I love that we made him feel safe. He reminds me to enjoy life and to be thankful always.

Thank you to the Northeast Animal Shelter for rescuing and caring for our dog before he became our Wolfie. Thanks to you, Wolfgang will turn five years old this month surrounded by his family. We couldn’t love him more, and we can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to make him part of our family. Wolfie was truly meant to be our dog.