It’s the sweet life for pup with painful past

ROCKWALL, TX (Feb. 9, 2015) It was a typical Sunday at the Commerce Animal Shelter. Even though a cleaning crew was spraying down everything in sight, most of the lights were off. Pam and I were there at the invitation of Monette Douglas of No Kill Hunt County in the hope that we could save some dogs and cats whose lives were in danger. We must have stumbled past Summer’s kennel three or four times before we noticed her.

Two days following her rescue from the shelter, the pain was evident in Summer’s eyes. Her tail was tucked under her body in a sign of fear. Photo by Michael Kitkoski.

Laying in a puddle of water at the back of her dark kennel, Summer was obviously in pain. She had been brought to the shelter after she was hit by a car. Parts of her fur had burned away as her body scraped along the pavement. One of her knees was so badly damaged that she could hardly walk. One look into her pleading eyes was all it took for us to add her to the rescue list.

Once we returned to Rockwall, Pam and I took Summer to see Dr. Keith Webb at Pet Doctor. His eyes widened with surprise when he examined her x-rays. In addition to her badly damaged knee, Summer had a bullet lodged in her abdomen. It had been quite a life for the young yellow lab mix. Summer’s rib cage was visible due to malnutrition, she had been hit by a car and she had been shot.

Victimhood was a thing of the past, however, because Summer was on her way to a much happier future. Following the surgery to repair her knee, she was a star at adoption events held by Rockwall Pets. Once Anthony and Shannon Martinez spotted Summer at Unleashed by Petco in Rowlett, it was love at first sight.

It was love at first sight when the Martinez family adopted Summer in April 2014. Photo by Michael Kitkoski.

Even though Summer was still apprehensive around humans, the Martinez family saw her potential. Avid campers, they had been looking for a travel companion for their yellow lab Sadie. Call it what you like, perfect match or true love, Summer had found the family of her dreams.

Pampering suited Summer, because she quickly began to gain weight. “She’s gained at least 20 pounds since we adopted her,” reportedShannon. “After many months of adjustment, she’s less timid and afraid all the time.” Summer has even developed a mischievous side, according to theMartinezfamily. “She has quite a personality and always keeps us laughing,” Shannon said.

Enjoying her new life, Summer has become an integral part of the Martinez camping crew. She’s been on camping adventures throughout Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. “We’re enjoying her tremendously,” Shannon said. “She is part of the family.”

Summer is spending the most meaningful Valentine’s Day of her life with her sisters Ginger the toy poodle (center) and Sadie the lab (right). Photo by Shannon Martinez.

That’s something I’ve always believed. Shelter pets make the best family members, because they’ve experienced the darker side of life. Once a pet knows they’re safe with you, they’ll shower you with love and affection in appreciation of the new life you’ve given them.

Summer went through unspeakable horrors as a young dog. But thanks to caring and patient folks like theMartinezfamily, she gets to enjoy her first meaningful Valentine’s Day this year. Summer is experiencing deep devotion, true safety and genuine love for the first time in her life.

Combine the first letter of each paragraph in this story to reveal a Valentine’s Day message. 

By Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Michael Kitkoski, co-founder of Rockwall Pets and No Kill Solutions.

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