The Story of Rascal

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My dad would always say, “The best dog is an adopted dog.” I was at a point in my life where I was living on my own, and felt prepared to take on the responsibility of having my own dog. I went to the Little Rock Animal Village, adopted a 10-week-old Border Collie mix, and named him Cooper.

Cooper was found in a shed in southwest Little Rock where his brother and sisters had passed away. The pups’ mother was nowhere to be found. Cooper was sweet, and we instantly bonded. One night after about a week together, and seemingly out of nowhere, Copper started foaming at the mouth. He was having trouble breathing. I rushed him to the vet. While we were still in the waiting room, little Copper passed away in my arms.

Following Cooper’s death, it was confirmed that he had suffered from parvo. In puppies, parvo is caused by the canine parvovirus. This virus is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object. A puppy is exposed to the parvovirus every time he sniffs, licks, or consumes infected feces. In most cases, young puppies die from this awful virus.

After about a month, I went back to the Little Rock Animal Village, and shared the story about Cooper and his siblings in the shed. They took me to a room and showed me a litter of puppies that were recently born. My sister helped me pick the runt of the group, based on his playful and joyful demeanor. I named him Rascal.

Often from bad comes good, and that was the case with Rascal. He accompanies me everywhere, including to Arkansas Razorback football games. Rascal has been with me through every stage of learning how to “adult.” Mentioned in the introduction of the book, Rascal is the reason I met my husband, Patrick, and his rescue dog, Jake, who would become our dog Jake. I took Rascal to the dog park every day, and Patrick brought Jake. We all instantly connected but it wasn’t until six years later that Patrick and I finally started dating. During the years between meeting and dating, I called Patrick my “dog park boyfriend” because I could never remember his real name. Our wedding and our son later, we fully appreciate that if it weren’t for rescuing Rascal, we may never have met.

These days, Rascal lives with my dad, Corley Townsend. He went to live with my parents when my apartment management decided dogs were no longer allowed. It was intended to be temporary, but Rascal and my dad formed a quick bond. Dad had recently had lost his rescue, Eli, and Rascal was there for him when my dad needed him most. Rascal and I still see each other weekly and Rascal has formed a bond with our son, Townsend. Rascal plays golf at the First Tee of Arkansas, enjoys long weekends at the lake, and loves giving hugs to everyone who’ll let him.

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