CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Four years ago, Dave Castleman was living alone in Elkview. He decided that needed to change, so he headed to the Kanawha/Charleston Humane Association.
He left with Jazi, a "West Virginia brown dog" approximately 4 years old. It's been a match made in heaven ever since.
"I went to the front desk and told them I wanted a dog that's more mature, housebroken," he said. "They said, 'You need to go look at the dog in cage 26.'
"I walked up to the cage. She'd back up, then come up and put her paws on the cage, and then back up again, like, 'Get me outta here!'"
It was the combination of the shelter's helpfulness and Jazi's personality that sold her on him, Castleman said.
"First, [it was] the fact that they directed me to her. That's why I asked them; they know the personalities of the dogs. Then, when I went back to her, I could tell she was a good-natured dog and seemed to like people."
In fact, people -- particularly those who pet her -- are among Jazi's favorite things. They join "chasing a laser pointer" and "my rubber ball filled with peanut butter," as she explained in an email to the Gazette-Mail (sent with help from her dad, of course).
Living with Castleman, Jazi is an only dog, but that wasn't always the case. Prior to arriving in the shelter, Jazi, then called Jasmine, had a family and a few canine siblings. The owner who turned her in contacted Castleman a few weeks after he adopted her.
"I could tell he cared. He was heartbroken over her," he said. "From what I understand, his insurance company came to check out the house for homeowner's insurance. The agent said, 'Does she have Akita in her?' He said, 'Yes.' The agent said, 'We won't insure you.'"
Jazi has returned to the shelter since then, but only for visits.
"Every year, I make it a point to take her back there, to walk her in there and put some money in the donation jar," Castleman said.
"People say, 'That's nice that you rescued her,' but I think she rescued me. I was living by myself; I needed the company. She's waiting there when I come home; she's glad to see me."
Reach Amy Robinson at flips...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4881.