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Who Chose Who?

Laura Beil

Tri-City Tales Issue No. 6

Vernon and Karen Taylor met in the 1960s, when Karen was living in Africa with her parents and Vernon was in the Air Force. They married and spent the next 25 years traveling the world, having a son and daughter along the way, before finally settling in Cedar Hill. In 2013, while they were planning their golden wedding anniversary, tragedy struck. Vernon passed away from cancer.

After weeks of loneliness, Karen drove to Tri-City Animal Shelter in search of a companion to help fill the hole in her heart. She wanted a small dog, but at the time the shelter only had one to offer: a young Chihuahua-Yorkie mix named Dora who had been dropped off by a family who said they simply couldn’t take care of her.

There was just one problem. Dora was never in a mood to be social. She cowered at the back of her kennel, not trusting anyone. Even to handle her safely, shelter workers had to cover her with a blanket. But with Dora as the only option, Karen said she wanted to meet her.

At first, Dora huddled under a bench. But then something—something known only to Dora—changed. She hopped up and calmly laid beside Karen. She put a paw on her arm. Karen had gone to the shelter to pick out a dog. Instead, Karen remembers, “Dora picked me.”

She chose well. For nine years, the two have been inseparable. Every night, Dora curls up next to Karen. She follows Karen from room to room. When Karen heads for the recliner in her living room, Dora beats her there. Today, Dora loves everyone. But mostly, she loves Karen.

And now they have plenty of company. When Karen’s daughter Trina moved in to help her mom seven years ago, she, too, came to the shelter and locked eyes with a chihuahua-pug mix named Angel. It was a choice that saved a life. During Angel’s first checkup, the vet discovered that she had a fatal, congenital heart defect. Only a pacemaker could save her life, and it had to be implanted by cardiac surgeons at Texas A&M University. So Karen and her daughter gathered up Angel and drove to College Station—because Angel was already part of the family.

Then their two-dog family became three. Two years ago, a chihuahua mix showed up at their back door. They took him to the shelter in case anyone was looking for him. When no one showed up, Karen and Trina took him home and named him Bandit. Because once a dog picks you, who are you to question?

Photo Credit: Trina Taylor

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