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This week on Parentheses:

A year ago around this time, a litter of puppies was born somewhere in Marfa. Pieces are missing from their story, but the little dogs ended up at a shelter. 

Not just any shelter - Grand Companions in Fort Davis, where I sometimes spent time working with dogs, socializing with them in hopes of making them more adoptable. 

One morning, I was introduced to a tricolor terrier mix. I was told he was shy. 

I'd sat with nervous, timid dogs before and prepared for more of the same. 

But I was not prepared when the dog came straight to me - no hesitation - stood on his hind legs and put his front paws on my lap. It was as if we were old friends. 

I motioned for him to jump up and get comfortable, highly unusual considering the circumstances. But, to quote Lloyd Alexander, there was that "special sense of mutual recognition that tells dog and human they have both come to the right place." 

The puppy was introduced to my husband - best friends right from the start - and within 24 hours we had a new dog that walked politely on leash and was crate trained. We named him Punkin. 

Those first few months, there were times when I wondered, "What are we doing with a puppy? Are we crazy?" And there were times when the dog thought his name was "No. Stop it!" 

But those times were balanced by the little fellow's sweet nature, his desire to please, and his sense of play. He made us laugh and brought warmth to the house. 

When we adopted Punkin, Grand Companions gave us a goodie bag. One item in the bag was a packet of Live Savers - candy as a tangible representation of fact. 

Anyone who adopts a shelter animal is, indeed, a Life Saver.