As a child growing up in foster care, Alexis M. may not have lived a dog's life, but she's learned a lot from her dog, Lucky.
"I’ve learned that you can overcome a bad start in life from my dog," she says in her contribution to the recently released book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned From My Dog.
"When he came to us he was thin and hungry and had bald spots from fleas. He had an infection. The people who had him wanted to get rid of him. He was the last in the litter and if they couldn’t find a home for him they were going to shoot him. My neighbor took him so he wouldn’t be shot, but she couldn’t keep him. My mom and dad decided to let me have him."
Alexis, who now lives in northeast Texas, knew the dog needed a loving home of his own. She knew because, like thousands of foster children awaiting adoption, she once asked herself, "Why not me? Why can't I have a family?"
"I understand how his life has been because my life had pretty much been the same," she says. "Even though he was a dog, I understood how it made him feel to be treated that way. I was in foster care for almost five years. My first years of life were really tough. Taking care of him has helped me deal with some of my past hurts and problems."
November 2009 is Adoption Month in Texas and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is asking caring adults two simple questions: “Why not you? Why not adopt an older child?” This year, the department's “Why Not Me?” campaign features three months of radio and television public service announcements, aired in cooperation with the Texas Association of Broadcasters. The spots begin running in early November and will air until the end of January 2010. See the spots in the “Why Not Me?” section of adoptchildren.org.