When a young girl from Utah was forced to give up her dog—Rhino Lightning— for adoption, she produced a tiny spiral notebook filled with instructions for the undetermined owner(s) of his new forever home.
On Monday, Melanie Hill of Clearfield adopted Rhino Lightning, a 3-year-old brindle boxer, from the Humane Society of Utah’s Murray location. In addition to the dog, she got little note, which she shared with ABC4 Utah News.
"Hi!" the message begins. "If you are reading this you must own Rhino now. He was my puppy. I really hope he is in a good environment. I miss him'," Hill read.
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"'His full name is Rhino Lightning. Please don't rename him. Please take good care of him. Rhino is a very energetic puppy. He is an amazing puppy. Needs lots of attention and loves people ... Rhino is a striped dream. His cheeks make a lot of slobber ... Please tell Rhino that I love and miss him each night. Please make sure Rhino lives in a safe house and he hates snow and swimming ... sorry ... but please treat him and find him a friend that's a dog."
Hill promised to keep the name Rhino Lightning and wanted the girl to know that he now has a new "brother" to play with: Bentley.
She also had another message for the little girl.
"I will take care of your puppy and love him just like you did," Hill said. "He's going to a really good home and then a neighborhood that has tons of dogs so he'll be able to run and play and be spoiled rotten but mostly he'll be loved."
Those who adopt pets understand the value of what they provide, but in Melanie's case, it goes far beyond words.
"When I was born," says Hill, "my mom kept me for six weeks, and she just dropped me off at an orphanage. My mom and dad rescued me, and so I came home to a very loving family and still have a family that loves me no matter what."
The Humane Society (and most owners) will tell you that adopting a pet is not just the right thing to do. It is a reward and a tremendous responsibility that would-be owners should not take lightly. If you're thinking about adoption—and you totally should because nothing beats the unconditional love of an animal—be sure to take your kids along with you.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than a child finding out that their new best friend isn't a good fit for the rest of the family. It's a parent's job to make sure that never happens.
But if it does, may we all have the grace of Rhino Lightning's first mom.
Photograph by: Human Society of Utah