On a hot Texas summer day, 22-year-old Sarah Ennesser was packing for her move to New York. She was a graduate student and was excited to start her career in customer service management.
With a few more things on her to-do list, she headed to Walmart. She was on her way out of the store when something stopped her.
“There was a man on the sidewalk trying to sell Red Heelers, cattle-herding dogs. I wasn’t interested but I stopped to pet them because I’m such an animal lover,” says Sarah. But as she walked by his truck, a disturbing noise caught her attention. “I heard cries from under a tarp inside the back of the man’s truck. I couldn’t ignore them, especially not in the 100-degree heat.”
She wheeled around and demanded, “What’s in the back of your truck? Whatever it is, I want it.” She didn’t even know what kind of animal was back there, she just knew it was suffering and she was going to do something about it.
“Nothing’s back there,” he replied. “Do you want one of these dogs?” motioning to the pups on the sidewalk. Sarah was shocked. How could this man ignore the painful cries coming from his own truck?
“Show me what’s under that tarp. I’m not leaving until you do.”
Annoyed by her persistence, he pulled off the tarp to reveal two Rat Terrier puppies in a small cage, panting in the summer heat without food or water.
“I’m taking those dogs,” Sarah said without hesitation.
“You can buy them.”
“I’m not trying to buy them. You’re going to give them to me or I’m calling Animal Control.” Sarah wasn’t kidding. She took out her phone and was ready to dial when the man nervously gave in and handed her the puppies as if they were useless. She started back to her car and suddenly realized that she now had two puppies. “They weren’t on my list going into Walmart!” Sarah joked. “I had no idea what to do with them. In fact, I had to go back into the store to buy pet supplies!”
Driving home, she looked in the rearview mirror to see the two pups squirming in the back seat. Still, she felt relieved to have rescued them from someone who obviously didn’t care about them.
“I figured I would foster them for a few days until I could find them homes, and then I’d be off to New York,” Sarah said. But it didn’t quite turn out that way. Sarah was able to find a home for one of the puppies with a friend. But she wondered what to do with the other.
“There’s no question that I fell in love with him as the days went by,” she confessed. Sarah had planned to live with her grandparents until she settled in and adjusted to New York.
“I decided to call my grandparents and tell them that if they didn’t want a dog in their home, they’d have to let me know.” Luckily, Sarah’s grandparents welcomed both her and her dog, whom she named Zach.
Today, Zach is a healthy, playful two-year-old, full of spunk and energy. He and Sarah now live in an apartment in White Plains, New York. “He’s got a big heart and loves to cuddle,” says Sarah. “I know he’s happy, and I know we were meant to find each other.”
Sarah says Zach turned out to be the perfect companion during her big move. “He made leaving my friends and family a little bit easier,” she says. “He’ll always be home to me.”
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