3 February 2013
When I was eleven, my twenty-one year old sister moved back home from out of state, bringing with her an unpredictable, and not-very-friendly adolescent mutt with her. I had been begging for a dog for years, but it was never the right time, as my single Mom was renting our house, and it is much harder to rent with a dog. My sister was coming out of an unfortunate situation, so an exception was made. I was beyond excited, thinking this dog would be my new best friend, and I would take her everywhere with me. When my sister and the dog arrived, I found I was sorely mistaken. I tried to pet her, and she growled and avoided me. For two weeks I was sullen and disappointed; having a dog in the house, but not being able to interact with it was probably worse than not having a dog at all. It turned out my sister had rescued this dog from a house where she was chained to a tree around the clock, barely fed, and probably physically abused. I felt sorry for the dog, but being only eleven, I probably felt sorrier for myself. I took it slow with this pup, and she eventually warmed up to me. When my sister got a job and was gone 10 hours a day, the dog, now named Cherokee, was under my care. After maybe six months of this, my sister being a typical twenty-one year old, and my being a homeschooled eleven year old, we found Cherokee was with me significantly more than she was with her. At that point she made the decision to officially make Cherokee “my” dog. Our Mom was not entirely thrilled, knowing that meant years to come of renting with a dog, but she also knew how much that dog had come to mean to me, so she allowed it, on the condition that she would not be responsible for any part of Cherokee’s care or well-being; it would all be on me. I agreed, and never looked back. I had a tough adolescence, as I am sure everyone does. My father was not around, my Mom worked, and my older sisters had their own lives, so I spent a lot of time on my own....
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