Happy 2013! I’m extra gitty this year because my husband finally agreed to adopt a second dog. This new dog will be loved by two girls, a mom, a dad, and our 4 y/o Rhodesian Ridgeback. We came to this decision late November, 2012, and here we are…still looking.
For me, it’s a special time to rescue a dog. I’m recovering from jaw surgery and in my own way undergoing personal and physical rehabilitation. When we find our dog, he too will need some sort of rehabilitation, whether it’s to our house rules, climate, discipline style, learning how to be an inside dog…As I see it, we will have the pleasure of healing and adapting side by side.
That said, I had no idea dog adoption was such a process. Wow! Do you know how many rescue organizations live and flourish outside of national rescue centers? In our search alone, we’ve been in contact with 20 plus.
There are about 5,000 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement.
We began our search on local Humane Society websites and then expanded to Seattle Pure Bred Rescue. From there, we explored Petfinder.com. Now Petfinder grants us access to rescue dogs and organizations around the world. Aside from filling out umpteen adoption forms, I’ve learned about Desi Dogs, strays rescued and brought to the U.S from India http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/BC190.html, and visited private rescue organizations and foster family websites that house strays from Puerto Rico. Our family has visited the homes of foster parents who care for rescues transported from kill shelters in California. One of these foster parents recently rescued 6 dogs from another local woman who claimed she too was a rescue organization. Her property housed over one hundred dogs living in questionable conditions. The authorities and local dog organizations are dividing up the dogs for proper care and re-homing.
On a happier note, we recently had the pleasure of a foster mom who brought our top dog of interest right to our very own home. Ruby, our Rhodesian Ridgeback, was in heaven. A dog finally visited her on her own turf.
Needless to say, I’m in awe of the compassion and service that exists for homeless dogs. I’m also painfully aware of the money and obsession that exists around dog rescuing. Many of the foster parents are ferocious and attached to their dog care/training beliefs. For example, one mom refused to adopt her short-haired dogs to us because my husband won’t put a coat on the dog if he takes it fishing on a cold rainy day. Brian just can’t see hiking and fishing with a dog that requires clothes. We reassured the foster mom that we would not put the dog in danger. If the day was too cold or pouring down rain, Brian would leave him home. We have not heard back from this mom. (UPDATE – This Mom did call us back night hours after I posted this note. We had a delightful conversation. We’ve come to an understanding and there’s a chance one of her lab/bull mixes could be a match for us…:-)
So at times, I’m a bit overwhelmed. In one way, I could take every dog we’ve met. And in another way, I’m admittedly afraid to adopt any of them.
Our most favorite dog so far is an American Staffordshire terrier. As I’ve come to understand, this breed may or may not be like or identical to the Pit bull Terrier, depending on whose beliefs you read across the internet. That said, we weren’t looking for a Pit bull mix, we were looking for a Pointer or Labrador mix. Am I a woman unconsciously hooked to the negative Pit bull hype?
I’m currently exploring this possibility.
In any case, I value this dog adoption process. Like all sequential moments in life, time links lead to hidden treasures and unforeseen potential.
What dog will win the hearts of each member of our family, because so far, we haven’t had the unanimous “Yes!” vote.
What dog will make its home our home? What will the rehabilitation process look like? Who will learn the most, us or the dog? What lessons will we learn that we never thought existed? Wait, I’m I crazy for wanting a second dog?
“Ahhhhhh!” I shout.
So, if you have a comment to share, please lay it down. I’m curious, what was your adoption experience like? Do you or anyone you know own a Bully (Staffordshire, Pit bull, Bulldog etc.) mix? What’s it like adding a second dog into your family? Do you volunteer for a rescue organization? What have you learned while serving homeless dogs?
More importantly, is there an iPhone Adopt-A-Dog Application app?