What does it take, Liberty?

Writer Julia Alvarez and her family made their long journey from the Dominican Republic to the United States when she was just a girl. Before she leaves her family adopts a young pup by the name, Liberty. While the real Julia talks about her life with Liberty and the heartbreak of eventually having to leave him behind, this short story is all from Liberty's perspective.


1. What does it take, Liberty?

It was one of those miracle days at the animal shelter when Old Pap’s walked in wearing a polyester suit. He carried a bundle of papers in one hand and a rusty archaic pipe in the other. The aroma of the smoke infested sod sent a sharp sting up my nose. “Hello, Mr. Alvarez, have you made your dissension?” a woman said behind the counter. “Yes, I have” he replied. She lead him through the mobile desk or as I like to call it “the big doggy door” and walked him through the basic routine: the cute ones were always first, then were the friendly ones, the well-behaved ones, and finally the last resort ones that were the cheapest, this is the category I fell under. He seemed to want an misbehaved dog out of pride because I was the one he approached. “This is the one!” he said. Was this guy serious? Is he pulling my tail? “How would you like to come home and meet my family? He asked me. What kind of cable do you have? He took ten minutes on the paper work and then it was off to the men in white, whom I hated, then finally we all met in the lobby once again. “Are you ready to go to the car?” he asked. You know what I think I’m starting to like you more and more.

Grabbing the attention of Pap’s family was aggravating! Once I walked in there I smelled death in the room. I met at least one person willing to be my friend, Pap’s daughter Jules. Her mother wasn’t very welcoming. All she did was complain about me and she called me “Nothing but Trouble”, now you see what I meant by death in the room. Nevertheless it was clear I had to get through to these people. I began my operation of goodness: first I tried my best not to use the bathroom inside the house-although occasionally, next I gave Pap’s back his work that I hid from him on that Tuesday, and my final deed was trying my best not to stand in a mothers way of the kitchen.

Many people do not understand the importance of my job let alone the emotion that one may have with their owner. It’s never just Fetch! Or Roll Over! It’s the thought of where it’s coming from that counts. Even if I may seem to be too much to handle at times I finally found someone who shares that label, Jules. At the end of the day I feel like I belong with this family.

At times I go out for a walk and dogs ask me “Liberty how do you stay so grounded?” Well I turn to them and say “All you need is a family to love, feed, and care for you”. Trust me I may not talk to Dr. Doolittle but I know a good family when I see one and mine are the perfect bunch. A good family will look after you and protect you for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live. No wait that’s a marriage proposal.

Nevertheless, if Pap’s never stumbled upon my big brown puppy eyes, who knows where I would have been. That was truly a miracle day not just for me but for Jules, Pap’s, and that lady behind the counter. It may be tough being a dog but the emotion you put into your work is what makes all the more wild. Always remember that you always need a family that is going to love, protect, and care for you. My final advice is to show the puppy you care…and buy him at full price.

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