Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Trooper's best friend.(Sage)

Byline: Story by Sharon Niederman * Illustration by Carol Cooperrider

FROM THE HEART

I had no plans to adopt a dog, but when this scraggly runaway nudged my arm, he changed my life for the better

"He sure fell with his butt in a tub of butter," remarked a friend visiting from Texas when she met my newly adopted English springer spaniel.

With his silky black and white coat glistening, his shining, kind brown eyes warm with affection, his tail wagging an offer of friendship, the handsome and gentle Trooper charmed her instantly, as he does everyone he meets.

But it was not always so. When Trooper wandered into my backyard one afternoon last summer looking for some relief from the heat by taking a belly-flop in my pond, his coat was tangled, his skin was dry and scaly, his ribs were visible, his tags were out of date and he smelled like he'd just rolled around in garbage. …

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