The Tail That Learned to Wag

Julie Ringwood
9 min readJun 5, 2022

Healing Abuse Through Love

Agoura Hills Animal Shelter — courtesy of author

Hi, my name is Opal. I’m a 3 ½ year old white American Bulldog and this is my story.

I don’t remember my mommy. I know I had brothers and sisters, but humans took me away when I was 4 weeks old and I never saw my family again. I was sad and scared, but I thought my new human family would take care of me.

At first, my new family gave me a lot of kisses and cuddles, but as I grew and started needing more food and activity, my human mother began abusing me. She used to lock me in the closet at night and I would get scared and cry and my human mother would hit me and yell at me. I needed to go potty but I couldn’t get out so I went in the closet. She got really mad at me. I didn’t understand. I just wanted to be back with my brothers and sisters and mommy again.

During the day the smaller humans would tease and kick me with their feet when I walked in a room so I learned to run really fast by them so they couldn’t hurt me. I chewed up some shoes and pillows because I thought they were for me since there was nothing else for me to chew and my human mother hurt me and put me in the closet again.

As the months went by, I started getting big. So I plotted my escape until one day, after chewing up my human mother’s shoe, she put me in the car and while driving by a park, she rolled down the window and threw me out. That was the last time I ever saw those humans.

The first night I was so scared I hid near a bush and watched other dogs and humans come and go. I found water in the street and learned to eat lizards and leaves and sticks. But then I found some other dogs that let me join their pack and we ran around the neighborhood together. I loved being with them. They let me sleep with them and cuddle.

Then one day my pack got into the backyard of some human and I stuck my head in something that had really sharp edges to it, cutting up my front legs and my nose and my head. A man came and put me in a truck with cages in it and took me to an animal shelter. It was really awful. There were lots of dogs barking and growling in cages with hard floors. I was really scared of the humans and wouldn’t let them touch me. But I eventually found myself waking up with some stitches in my belly and lots of scabbing on…

Julie Ringwood

Grant writer, Reiki healer, mom, wife and lover of 2 dogs and Hawaii. I plan to write about human nature through my memoirs, gardening and grant writing tips.