Adopted by Reza & Cheryl Saffarian – Saginaw, Michigan, USA – Feb 24, 2013

Dear friends; My name is Captain Jack formerly known as “Nakhoda” and here is my “Happy Ending Story”.My story begins as a stray dog living on the streets of Northern Tehran/Iran. I don’t know how I became an amputee losing my left leg, but I ended up at Vafa animal shelter when I was six months old. While at Vafa shelter, Reza Saffarian and his wife Cheryl who live in Saginaw, Michigan saw my Bio on Vafa’s web site and adopted me. As a two year old dog, I arrived in U.S. on Feb/17th/2013 in Boston, Massachusetts and what an arrival that was. While I was in my crate being transported from the plane to the terminal on a conveyor belt, wind knocked my crate down, the crate broke, but luckily I escaped unharmed,,,,only….HMMM……well…..emotional trauma. You might want to avoid that airline for your next trip; they have no clue how to transport animals!!!! Just kidding!!

After spending a few days with a foster family in Boston, I was transported to Michigan by volunteers at Liberty Train. Finally on Sunday Feb/24th I was handed to my new family in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After a two hour drive I arrived at my “Forever” home in Saginaw TWP.

Let me be honest, I did not leave a great first impression on my parents and here is why. As I entered the house, my mom let me out to the snow covered backyard. The first thing I came across was a large fish pond. The dazzling dance of the gold fish combined with the tranquility of the water fall mesmerized me to the point that I jumped in the pond. Well, the pond was much deeper than I had assumed, so I could not get out. Did I mention that I’m not a good swimmer because I’m missing a leg? Anyway, all I could hear was my mom shouting “Reza, Reza, Captain is drowning”. My dad who was on the phone with Vafa to report my “safe arrival” to my forever home jumped into action and dragged me out of the pond. Shortly after, I was in the bath tub being washed and cleaned. Pretty impressive first impression, wouldn’t you say?Later that day, I was introduced to my older dog brother named “Carter”, three cat siblings Buddy, Jinxy, and Dusty, and a parrot named “Kiwi” who are all rescued animals. Since that first day, my life has been relatively uneventful except for the corrective surgery that I received in March. My stump was too long, useless, and often bleeding and infected. Therefore, I underwent a corrective surgery to shorten the stump which has significantly improved my quality of life.

These days my hobbies include going for a walk/jog with my parents in the evening. I also like to wrestle with Carter and chase squirrels in the back yard. You know, Iranians have a pretty strong background in wrestling and yours truly is no exception. Actually, I have invented a move of my own which I call “Bite the Neck” move or “BTN” for short. The BTN is a very effective move,,,,well,,, let’s say I’m still working on it. It is similar to the move that “Mike Tyson” put on “Evander Holyfield” biting his ear off. However, I stop short of biting my opponent’s neck off. Carter and I often wrestle to kill the time and my parents enjoy watching us competing for their attention.

I know all the dogs in our neighborhood and let me tell you, I “can’t stand” them. I know, I know, that sounds pretty strange coming from a dog who shared a shelter with over four hundred dogs!!! In fact, there are two things I resent “other dogs” and “children”. Hm, perhaps I don’t want other dogs around because I want my parents to only love “Me”. Does that make sense??? It does to me,,,a pretty good psychological analysis from a dog wouldn’t you say? However, I’m not sure why I don’t like children. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but perhaps my fear of kids stems from being treated ,,,,um,,,, how should I say ,,,um,,,, unfairly by some kids on the streets of Tehran,,,who knows??

My parents thought putting me through a “training class” for K9’s would help me to overcome my fears of children and other dogs, but little did they know, nothing would help. I failed & failed miserably. They enrolled me in a class that was taught by none other than my “Vet” who performed the “corrective surgery” on my limb, “Hello”. Well, it suffices to say that every time I attended the class, I thought I was going to “lose another limb”, LOL. Therefore, I became so fearful of those sessions that I would lay down through the entire time, did not obey any commands, and at times vomited out of fear. Finally, my parents got the point and stopped taking me to those classes.  What a relief, I’ll tell you!!! I’m not a prissy dog and don’t need any classes to learn how to behave. I am “Street Smart” and I think my parents finally came to the conclusion that they should “love me for who I am not who they want me to be”. Did someone ask about assimilation to this culture??? Well, I gotta  tell you about some of my early challenges living in a house. You may find this strange, but I did not know how to navigate steps, didn’t know how to ascend or descend. My dad had to train me by carrying me almost all the way up the steps and letting me climb the last couple. And, he did the same thing when descending by carrying me almost to the bottom of the stair case and letting me finish on my own. After a few tries, I became a master climber. Now, I can write a book about it and will call it “Steps for dummies/doggies”!!!!

I love my new parents and the new home. When my parents leave for work, I “whimper” and when they come home at the end of a long day, I “Twirl” and whimper even harder. The jubilation that I feel when I see them is indescribable. They have to pet me for minutes in order for me to settle down. Perhaps I’m fearful of being “abandoned” again,,,,you know,,,, I’ve been there and know how it feels.

In summary, I couldn’t have written a better ending to my own life story. My parents and other animal siblings love me and I love them back. My dad and I are inseparable. I lie down next to him and put my head on his lap while he keeps petting me. When he stops, I give him a nudge and a dirty look, and he gets back to petting me again. He keeps repeating this sentence “you can get a dog out of Vafa, but you can’t get Vafa out of a dog”. Vafa means devotion and loyalty, do you dig it???
This is my happy ending story and I wish the same for all my friends at Vafa.

Please adopt a dog from Vafa or donate to their cause. My friends at Vafa need your help.
Thank you,Captain Jack/ Nakhoda


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