Nearly eleven years ago I moved to a small town in Iowa to help the company I worked for open a new location. I was the new guy in town and didn’t really know anyone. After a couple of months had passed and the initial bustle of hiring and training the staff had settled into more of a normal routine, I decided it was time to meet new people and maybe make some friends in the process. After discovering that I lived near some world class mountain bike trails (in Iowa of all places) I decided to go online and find some local mountain bikers to join up with. It seemed like a good place to start.

I fired up my laptop and found my way to MySpace. Yes, I did say MySpace; I’m old, get over it. I did a search for the type of like-minded people I wanted to meet. I entered the age range and mountain bike skill level that I thought would be a good match for my own abilities. I hit “enter” and the first pic that popped up was an adorable lil’ min-pin pup named Sonny. It seemed that Sonny needed to find a new home rather quickly as his human’s living situation had changed suddenly. “Aww, that’s sad. He’s a cute lil’ pup!”, I thought to myself as I rechecked my search parameters, assuming I had made an error entering them and/or clicked the wrong “local groups” link. I felt an unexplained twinge as Sonny’s pic faded from my screen. I was just thinking that I hope he finds a good home as I once again hit “enter”. An unexpected grin spread across my face as, once again, Sonny’s pic flared to life on my screen.

Something about the look on his face just made me smile. In one of those rare and amazing moments that are practically impossible to explain, I realized I was supposed to meet this lil’ guy. I called the number in the ad and inquired as to whether Sonny was still in need of a new home or not. After being told that he was, I was pleased when his person asked to meet me before any decisions were made. Having to send him away was breaking her heart and she wanted to feel good about who he was going home with. I agreed and we made plans to meet Sonny.

After a brief drive, I pulled off the road into the grass by a fenced and gated yard. There was a tall tree standing guard just to the outside right of the gate. I got out and was rounding the front of my SUV when I noticed a young woman sitting in the grass with a sad smile on her face. I took a few steps toward her when I was suddenly confronted by 4 pounds of growling, mommy-protecting min-pin. I stopped in my tracks and exchanged worried glances with the young woman. I was so excited to meet him that it hadn’t occurred to me that he might not like me. I had noticed Sonny was wearing a leash and had observed the length of it. I inched forward just a bit and sat down in the grass under the tree, making sure I was just within his reach but not so close as to seem threatening.

I lowered my right hand to the grass and spoke in gentle soothing tones. He tilted his head and gave me the “one ear up, one ear down” adorable puppy look. I glanced up and saw the smile on his person’s face as his growl quieted and he began to inch closer to me. I sat there in the grass for nearly 20 minutes talking to him as he slowly inched his way toward me. He would look back to his person from time to time as if asking her permission to approach me. Then, finally, his nose gently touched the back of my hand and he seemed to relax as I touched his ear and gently pet the top of his head and down his neck. He looked up and me, and I swear to this day, that he smiled just before sniffing my prosthetic leg, giving it a questioning look and spinning around twice in the grass before plopping down comfortably and firmly against my thigh.

I took his leash and he trotted along with me back to my SUV and hopped right up into the seat as I opened the door. I walked around to the driver’s side and his person gave me a few of his favorite belongings and a hug. There were tears in the corners of her eyes as she told me that, after watching us interact, she felt good about who he was going home with. I climbed into my vehicle and scratched his ears and neck again. He licked my hand and hopped up on the center console and into the back seat where he promptly curled up and was fast asleep, snoring in no time. From that day on, we have been practically inseparable. Being “The Adventures of Marky5Toes and his sidekick Nacho” you might wonder how Sonny came to be known by his new name, Nacho. That, my friends, is a story for another time. For now, come along as Nacho takes me for a visit to the dog park, see things from Nacho’s point of view.

And don’t forget…there are millions of loving animals nationwide in need of a home. Visit a shelter in your area to find your “Nacho”.

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To contact Mark:

Instagram: @Marky5toes