I am a real estate agent. One day, a friend called to list his residence for sale. He was down on his luck and needed to sell quickly. When I drove to his property, a nice brick home on five acres, this mongrel-looking dog appeared at my car door. It looked terrible and hadn’t been groomed "in forever.” I asked my friend if it was a schnauzer, and he said, "Yes.” On a whim, I asked him for the dog, seeing its neglected appearance. It had been running loose outside with six bird dogs, a pit bull and a Labrador retriever. It was apparent this dog was the last in line to reach the food bowls. My friend gave me the dog. I immediately took the dog named Chuck to my groomer, where we had to turn the kennel upside down to shake him out. He was terrified, not knowing what was happening to him. The groomer gathered him in her arms and proceeded to dip and completely sheer him, turning his looks into a mini-pinscher style hairdo. It would be six to eight months before Chuck looked like a schnauzer. Next stop was my favorite veterinarian, Dr. Roger Mims. Chuck weighed in at 14 pounds, and Mims gave Chuck his vaccinations, neutered him and then had to surgically repair Chuck’s urinary tract. Mims handed me the dog, stuck his finger in my face, and told me point blank, "You’ve got to keep him on this particular diet food, or Chuck will be back within a year with urinary tract troubles, and I will be angry with you!” I saluted and left. Meanwhile, Chuck accompanied me to work while he recovered. My husband and I picked off the dead ticks, rubbed Emu oil on all his bites and took him to his weekly grooming. And we fell in love with him. Chuck has lived with us almost four years and has become the 30-pound, gorgeous show-stopping schnauzer he was destined to be. He is a charmer, has loads of personality, can’t wait to ride in the car and loves to trot and jog with me. He has a heart-stopping grin. He comforted us when our 13-year-old female schnauzer died. He made us his family, which is what schnauzers are bred to do — be companion dogs. By the way, I sold my friend’s house and was grateful for the commission check. But the best gift of all was Chuck. Heather Smith, Holdenville To submit a pet story and photo for Pet Tales, e-mail your story and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or send postal mail to Lillie-Beth Brinkman, The Oklahoman, P.O. Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Photos cannot be returned.