Give Rescue a Chance

When we first moved into our house, long, long ago, we thought about getting a dog. I think we were so enamored with the space we had and the yard after living in an apartment, that we thought it would be fun to have a dog. Our friends had a great dog and it would mean the dogs could play together and it would be oh so much fun.

I perused the shelter websites for weeks and weeks. There were always cute little dogs and I wanted a small dog. Doug was more inclined to have a German shepherd. His family had the most amazing golden retriever, Shadow, for years and years. I'd never had anything except fish and a bird. And I couldn't keep a fish alive for more than a couple weeks. Shadow was truly the best dog ever. He was afraid of Doug's pet rabbit. He loved the toys I bought for him (except the carrot which he devoured). He was content to lie on the floor and watch a baseball game in the AC with the rest of us in the summer.

Our ideas about dog ownership may have been a little skewed by Shadow.

I did find a dog that seemed, on paper, to be a great fit for us. A small German shepherd named Ranger with a quiet, somewhat shy nature. We went to the shelter to meet him and things went fairly well. We learned that he had been at the shelter for nearly all of his five years. He was very shy around people, men in particular. He let me walk him around after a few minutes, though, and things were going well enough that we decided to bring him home and try it out for a few days.

On trying to adopt a shelter dog - www.lifeinrandombits.com

Oh goodness. No one had ever wanted to adopt Ranger before. He'd never been in a house before. He did okay the first night, but the next day, when Doug and I had to go to work and he had to stay in a kennel, it didn't go well. He moved the kennel down the length of the hall. And then he wouldn't eat. Or pee. We called the woman at the shelter to get some advice, tried what she said, and it just didn't work.

They didn't realize the extent of his problems and the amount of dedicated care he was going to need to try to fix those problems. As I said, no one in five years had ever wanted to adopt him. After a few phone calls to the woman at the shelter and much discussion between Doug and me, we decided that this sweet dog really needed more time and attention than we could give him. We had just moved into this house, we weren't finished painting and were still unpacking boxes. We were both working full time. 

Doug took him back to the shelter that second evening. I cried and cried. I felt just awful that it hadn't worked out and that we weren't going to be able to care for this sweet animal. The woman took it in stride and seemed apologetic that they hadn't know the extent of his issues, but she did say that they were going to work with him more. I felt slightly better, and at the same time, infinitely worse, when Doug returned saying that Ranger was so happy to get back to the kennels and the other dogs- the only home he'd ever known.

Why am I writing this? Looking back, this obviously wasn't the best time for us to consider getting a dog. And, probably we should have given some more serious thought to whether we could really take care of a dog given our sometimes opposite schedules. But, like I said, we were so excited to have space of our own and to be able to do whatever we wanted with that space.

Now, years later, we've come to realize that we're just not pet people. Our schedules in fact often are opposite. The yard isn't as big as it seemed and we've added garden beds, cutting down on the grass. Honestly, we don't like picking up poop. Having a pet just isn't for us.

Having had the brief experience with a shelter and with a shelter rescue, though, I can say that if our decision ever changes, we'll only look at rescue dogs. There are so many sweet animals out there who have only known a shelter, or have been in a shelter for far too long. So, my point is, rescue a dog or a cat. Don't go to a breeder to get a designer dog. Give a forgotten animal a home. Chances are, a lot of them remember having a home and they miss it.

(I, of course, just went and checked the shelter website and discovered that Ranger went home with someone in September 2010. Love.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...