Stray Dog Beach, so lonely so sad…
It’s a place I know well. It’s worse than bad!
A dark and scary port along Puerto Rico’s shore –
strewn with litter, junk, and thugs galore.
Jess is my name. I’m a shepherd, size large!
I once lived there in a rusty abandoned barge.
Don’t cry just yet, for I was not alone.
Lucy, Shep, and Leo all shared my home!
Leo’s a brave yellow Lab, who loves to fetch sticks.
Lucy is a Dalmatian, and Shep is a Doberman mix.
I am white with blue eyes and have stand-up ears.
I survived on this beach for two very long years!
I once had a family – I wasn’t always a stray.
In fact, I was the present they got on Christmas Day!
I was tiny and cute and just loved to play,
but I got less attention with every passing day.
By New Year’s Day, my family was sick and tired of me,
so I was banished to the backyard and chained to a tree.
On Valentine’s Day they took me for a ride in the truck.
“They love me again,” I thought. “Oh, what luck!”
We stopped at the beach, so we could enjoy the day.
But when I got out, they drove away!
I was scared and alone. They never came back!
Moments later, I would meet the rest of the beach pack.
From out of the jungle and from behind every tree,
dogs of every size and shape welcomed me!
I was officially abandoned that February day;
Here’s what the other homeless dogs had to say:
You must be brave, for you’ll be OK.
Steve comes to care for us every day!
He has long brown hair and wears a bandanna that’s red.
He brings us fresh water and makes sure we are fed.
Through tropical heat and bad garbage spills,
he heals our wounds and cures all our ills.
He stands between us and would-be abusers –
a homemade slingshot is what he uses!
A massive rescue project has already begun,
finding us loving homes, one by one.
Progress is slow, and their funds are not many,
but to save our lives, they will spend their last penny!
Steve promised that his amigos would come for us.
You just have to wait for your turn on the rescue bus!”
And so I settled into the life of a dog with no home.
I had a daily routine and favorite places to roam.
Eventually I became the alpha male, the boss –
the one no other dogs wanted to cross!
I ruled the beach with an iron paw,
Enforcing our very own K-9 law
Mothers and puppies were first to eat;
The elderly and sick had the next seat.
When darkness fell, we all scattered and hid out of sight,
my buddies and I guarding for any dangerous plight.
But everything changed one starless eve,
when a group of troublemakers just would not’t leave!
I barked a code red, hoping to alert the pack,
when these delinquents dumped hot oil on my back!
They were planning to do worse but were scared away,
by Lucy, Shep, and Leo – who all saved the day!
Us dogs sure are tough! But we still feel the same
as people do when they feel pain.
The next morning I knew that Steve would arrive.
He would take care of me and help me survive!
They say many blessings often come in disguise.
Whoever coined that phrase must be very wise!
My fever was scorching, the pain excruciating –
but soon that rescue bus was at the beach waiting!
So I got on the bus when I heard, “Let’s go! Vamos!”
We were off to see the town vet, Dr. Ramos!
He cleansed my burns, gave me penicillin and an I.V. drip;
He x-ray ed my back and tended to my throbbing hip.
I was showered with attention while I was recovering
and in these few months I was soon discovering
that most humans are kind, not evil nor bad.
But I had thought the worst from the experiences I’d had!
I learned to trust again and wag my tail.
I played with my plastic hamburger toy to no avail!
I was discharged with my toy and countless tubes of ointment
but was scheduled to return for a weekly appointment.
So off I went to my new foster home.
My temporary mom Nydia loved me like her own!
I had to wear a big t-shirt most of the time.
It looked silly but protected my wound just fine!
Placing me in a permanent home was a difficult mission.
There were rumors that I might have a bad disposition!
Most shelters wouldn’t take a chance on me because of this or that –
they feared I had food aggression or would hurt someone’s cat!
I went on many evaluations and interviews –
my behavior was assessed and it wasn’t good news.
Finding me a home was just getting harder!
I wouldn’t share my toys, so I was labeled a “resource guarder.”
I was rejected by so many places, indeed!
But I was finally accepted by the organization “Animals In Need.”
After a tearful goodbye, I flew from San Juan to Washington State –
for a forever loving home I no longer had to wait!
The Kessinger family wanted me, ugly scar and all!
And for the rest of my life, I will never fail to recall:
My new mom, dad, aunt and brothers in the cargo zone
waiting for me with a fuzzy toy and a delicious welcome bone!
Dreams really do come true – I’m certainly proof of that!
I even pal around with Gomez, my new family’s cat.
I found my forever home, no more one-way trips in the car.
My scar even healed into the shape of a lucky star!
There is one more important thing that I’d like to mention –
Having a pet is a huge responsibility, we need daily care and lots of love and attention!