The first couple of months were the hardest. I didn’t speak English. I didn’t know anyone. I was isolated in New York, one of the most populated cities on Earth. I spent days completely alone; often not speaking to anyone. I remember one time I got a bad cold. I had spent six days at home when I finally needed to go out for food. I gathered the little strength I had and went to the supermarket around the corner. Something at the entrance of the store called my attention; it was a stuffed dog. I knew it was a just a silly stuffed animal but his eyes were so big and sweet. I picked it up and emotion took over. Tears flooded my eyes. I looked at the label and it cost ten dollars! A fortune. I forced myself to put it back. It was ridiculous, but I wanted that dog with all my heart. His face was so sad. He needed somebody like I needed somebody. I spent the remaining days of my cold cuddling in bed with my dog. I realized I had not only being deprived of love for months, but I hadn’t had anyone to give love to either. I let myself transform this piece of fabric into a real being and his company helped heal a kind of loneliness most immigrants understand. I eventually learned to speak English and with that came a social life, friends, a marriage, a new life. Still, that dog and I spent years together until one day I decided to give him away. I knew he could heal another broken heart, especially a child’s. With a tender kiss, I said goodbye and sent him to a new life.
– Hélène Alonso