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Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love animals. I’ve volunteered at multiple animal shelters, every animal I’ve ever owned was a rescue animal (save one, and even then he didn’t come from a breeder). I cry at pictures of cute animals. Sometimes when my kitten falls asleep in my lap or on my chest, it’s the only real sense of contentment I’ll feel that day.

I can honestly say I love animals more than people. Every cat, dog, horse, goat, pig, every animal has a personality and love to give. With that being said, I want to talk about my baby, Angel.

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Angel dog was a last-chance Staffordshire-Pit Bull mix. She had a huge head, muscles that frat boys can only dream of, and a tongue that was so long we theorized that she had to roll it up to fit it in her head. She had a tail that would feel like someone whipped you when it thwack-ed against your legs, big brown eyes that I swear could cry, and the boniest butt that somehow always found its way into your lap, even though she was fifty pounds. She would never hurt a soul (except for that fly she ate once). She was the best dog in the whole world.

I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said she was my best friend. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that she saved my life.

I miss her so much.

I feel like ever since the day she died, I’ve had this hole in my heart that can’t be filled. I have added a new fur-baby to my family since then, and even though he’s my bro and I love him, even he hasn’t been able to fill that hole that Angel left.

(I may be crying just writing this.)

Here’s the thing. Before we adopted Angel, she was abused. I don’t know exactly what was done to her, and to be honest, I’m glad I don’t, because I can’t afford to go to jail. She was a last-chance dog, meaning that if we took her back, she would be euthanized. And you could tell that she had been abused. She was scared of everything. She trembled sometimes. She would tuck her tail between her legs and look up at you with those eyes that never failed to melt my heart.

People thought that we were crazy for adopting an abused Pit Bull. I was in second grade when we got her, and people couldn’t understand why I was romping around with such a “dangerous” dog. The same “dangerous” dog that I had to physically pick up and carry past a house with two Chihuahuas, because she was terrified of them. I saw her puncture tennis balls with her jaws. I also saw her scare herself with her own gas. I saw her chew four-inch thick tree branches into sawdust. I also saw her sleep on her back, her legs splayed in the least ladylike manner, feet twitching with a puppy dream.

She never once hurt me or anyone else. Ever. I had my baby Angel for nine years, and she never once snapped at anyone. I do believe with my whole heart that she would have given her life to protect me from someone trying to hurt me, but we never had to find that out.

So I have two points here. The first is about your pets in general. When Angel got old, she got sick. Beautiful red fur fell out, leaving bald patches all over her. Grey fur covered her face. She wasn’t very cute anymore. In fact, she looked a little scary. But here’s what important: your animal still needs love even though they’re old. I don’t care that they have no fur and it feels gross to touch them. I don’t care that the smell bad. I don’t care that it hurts you to look at them because they’re not the lively young animal they used to be. When you adopted them, you promised to love them their entire life. Not just when they’re cute.

Secondly: give Pit Bulls a chance. They can be the best friend you’ll ever make.

Angel didn’t sleep in my room on normal nights, all of the animals had beds in my parent’s room where they were trained to sleep. However, every time it would thunderstorm, Angel would lay next to my bed, because thunderstorms scared her more than anything else. I would let my arm hang over the edge of the bed, and rest it on her side (I was terrified of storms too). And that way, with us in contact all night, we would both sleep until morning.

Right after she died, there was a thunderstorm. Out of habit, I rested my arm over the edge of my bed, reaching for Angel. And my arm came in contact with fur. I sat up and saw my other dog, Scruffy, laying in the same spot that she had occupied for nine years. And that night, I got out of bed, rested my head on Scruffy, and cried.

It’s been four years since Angel died. I cry every single time I think about her. Last night was one of those nights where I can’t get her out of my head. I’m not an incredibly religious person, but during my nightly prayers, I asked to talk to Angel. And I told her that I missed her more than she’ll ever know, and that I hope she was happy in puppy heaven. I told her that I still, and always love her.

It stormed all morning.

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