Hi! My name is Brandon Perkins.

I used to live in Arkansas with a nice lady named Shena, who had a shelter there. She had me since I was a little puppy. I was very, very sick, and she nursed me back to health. She fostered me for three years, because no one wanted to adopt me. Big black dogs like me are not a big hit in the South (I've found out, though, that people in the North love dogs like me — whew!).

Then, finally, in February 2007, some people in Derry, New Hampshire, saw my picture on Petfinder and said they would adopt me. Shena was heartbroken to see me go so far away, but she knew I would have a better life in a real home, and many other dogs who lived with us still needed homes, so she tearfully said farewell. I'll never forget how good she was to me, and I will always love her.

The Journey from Arkansas to New Hampshire

I had to ride in a big truck for four days, from Arkansas to New Hampshire with about 100 other dogs! That was very scary and confusing! The truck stopped a few times along the way and let some dogs out so they could go to their new homes.

I wondered what my new home would be like, and if my new people would be as nice to me as Shena was.

When we got to Windham, New Hampshire, the truck drivers called my name, and I finally got out of the truck, and my new people brought me to their house in Derry.

Lost and Alone in New Hampshire

I was tired, scared, and confused, and the next day, as soon as my new people took my leash off in the yard, I ran away. I noticed right away that there were lots of roads with lots of cars moving really fast, and I just kept running to try to get away from them. But everywhere I turned there were more roads and more cars.

Some people tried to catch me, but I ran away from them. I just didn't know where I was or who I could trust.

Luckily, there were lots of stores and restaurants around, so I found garbage cans to eat from, which was better than nothing. I also found rats in the town dump — not bad! And there were lots of houses with outbuildings where I could hide. There was also a junkyard with lots of old cars to hide in.

My First New England Blizzard

That was good, because a few days later — Valentines Day, they called it — something really scary happened. Lots of icy, cold white stuff fell out of the sky and piled up, and the wind blew really hard. I'd never seen anything like it or been so cold in my life. And everything froze, so it was hard finding water to drink. There was a river near the dump, but it didn't taste very good, but I didn't have much of a choice — ughh!

I was out there for three whole weeks, and I got pretty good at finding my way around and not getting caught...or hurt — although I came close one day when I was running north in the southbound lane of Route 93! (I found out later that a whole bunch of people called the police to tell on me!) I quickly found that traveling at night was the easiest and least scary, when things were quieter, and there weren't so many people around.

But skunks travel at night, too, and I guess they want the whole place to themselves! I found out the hard way, when I went to sniff one, and he sprayed me right in the face! That really stunk (and it stuck to my fur for weeks afterward).

Trapped Like....Oh, Rats

One night (around three o'clock in the morning, actually), after another big snowstorm, I went to one of my favorite houses, where I had discovered that a lady put her cat's leftover food out every night (yum!). This particular night, though, I smelled something especially yummy. Much better than cat food, even. It smelled like meatballs and hot dogs and bacon all at once! In other words...it smelled like heaven.

Thing is, though, it was in this wire cage thing, which was a little weird. But, oh, boy, it smelled sooo good — like...oh, boy! I just couldn't resist, so I went into the cage thing, and not only did I find this fabulous meatball casserole with red sauce, but also an amazing marrow bone stuffed with chicken livers and bacon hanging from the inside of the back wall of the cage. Oh boy! I just had to have it, so I bit onto it and yanked at it.

Next thing you know, something hit my fuzzy butt and startled me, but when I turned to run away, I couldn't get out! I didn't know whether to be scared or thrilled...after all, I was trapped with a smorgasbord feast of the best food ever!

No Longer Lonely

Soon, the nice lady who lived in the house — she told me her name is Lois — came out to keep me company. She brought a lawn chair out and a camp lantern, and she just sat there with me talking softly and soothingly and offered me bits of hot dog through the cage wire. It was very reassuring, and I felt like she must love me...and I loved her right away, too!

And then a few other ladies (I found out their names are Lisa, Joanne, Holly, Angie, and Chris) came and carried the cage — with me still in it! — into the lady's garage and let me out. There was a lot of hugging and kissing and laughing and picture taking, and at first I was a wee bit nervous, but it seemed like they didn't mean me any harm. Then, they put a harness and leash on me, and they haven't let me out of their sight since! That's okay, just keep the treats coming...!

How I Was Found

I found out that the ladies had been looking for me for the whole three weeks that I was out there! They put my picture up all over town and told everyone about me, and the newspaper did a story on me and everything — I guess I was kind of famous! Lois and her kitty, J.Henry, heard about me, and when they saw me in their backyard one day, they called the other ladies to tell them. Then, they kept putting food out for me, so I kept coming back. J.Henry was very concerned about me, and he sat in his window looking out for me until I was safely trapped.

The thing they said did the trick was finding out about a Web site called www.lostdogsearch.com, created by a lady named Debbie especially to help lost dogs like me! Debbie has helped to find and save many lost dogs, and she has all kinds of information, advice, and tips to offer. My rescue ladies called her site a "Dog-send!" and hope that anyone who has a dog will read the site before their dog gets lost, because someday they might need to use it.

My New Life in Maine

The ladies had already decided not to send me back to the people who adopted me, because they hadn't done anything to help find me...and, besides, they'd already gotten a new puppy!

Lisa told me that she loved me very much...she'd worried about me for so long that she said she felt like she already knew me...and that she wanted me to come home with her.

First, though, I stayed for a week with a lady named Christine, who volunteers for a dog rescue group. She gave me lots of love and took me to the vet and trained me to "come" and "stay" (I got lots of yummy treats for doing those really simple things — it was a pretty good deal). Then, when Christine felt sure I wouldn't run away again, I got to go to Lisa and Sheldon's house, and I've been there ever since.

It seems that my glory days of being a real, wild, woof-like dog are over, now...but I'm eating a lot better (I've regained some of the 10 pounds I lost), and I have a warm, comfy bed, so I guess I can't complain. I do like my comforts...

I really like it here. I think Lisa and Sheldon love me a lot — they hug and kiss me all the time. Lisa...er...Mom...keeps telling me how squishy and kissable my lips are, and she kisses me right on them! And she gives me lots of toys...including tennis balls...but I'm still not quite sure what to do with them.

Cosmo (Cozzie)

Three kitties live with us, and I think one of them, Cosmo, doesn't like me as much as Lisa and Sheldon do. He doesn't kiss me at all, in fact, he hisses at me and swipes a claw at me a lot. Luckily, my fur is very thick, so he hasn't gotten it in my skin yet. But I keep a safe distance from him. I think that once he gets to know what a good guy I am — I try to be very quiet and gentle — he’ll relax and we'll be friends. I'm trying my very best to get him to like me.

Life is getting better and better every day...!

Update from Lisa and Sheldon: Our beloved Branny died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2014. His heart stopped while he was under general anesthesia for a dental cleaning. A necropsy revealed that he had hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that dogs who have it suffer from terribly. We were grateful that he didn’t have to suffer and that he died peacefully after we’d kissed him goodnight as he was slipping into a deep, sedated sleep. His memory will always fill our hearts with pure love. We were so lucky to have had him in our lives.