(1)“We are not getting another pet,” Mom said firmly. (2)It seemed there was no changing her mind on this one. (3)Pepper had been gone for just over three weeks and all hope of her return had disappeared from our hearts. (4)Mom was the most devastated by her absence as she’d had that dog longer than any of us kids had been alive. (5)Mom had gotten Pepper when she was just 10 weeks old.
(6)Life without Pepper at home was lonely. (7)My brother, sister, and I missed playing with Pepper. (8)We missed feeding her, bathing her, and to have her curl up at our feet when we’d watch TV. (9)But Mom was adamant. (10)No new pets.
(11)Eight weeks after Pepper disappeared, one of our neighbors said she thought she saw a dog that looked like Pepper at the local animal shelter. (12)We could not let this lead go unchecked, so we piled in the car and headed to the shelter. (13)When we got there, we scoured the cages, searching for our beloved Pepper, but no luck.
(14)In the last row of kennels was a young pup who sat timidly, looking out through the fence with large, mournful eyes. (15)He didn’t bark, he didn’t jump up and down, he didn’t circle around like a maniac. (16)He just sat. (17)Waiting. (18)When Mom passed his kennel, he caught her eye. (19)She stopped and peered through the gloomy darkness at him. (20)He looked at her, too, never taking his eyes off of her. (21)She stared right back. (22)Slowly, a grin spread across her face and Mom said, “Kids, we’ve found a new friend.”
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