By Kasey Karlin
When it happens, you feel it. You know when you are ready to open your heart to a new dog. And there is nothing more rewarding than rescuing from a shelter. Silly mutts, regal purebreds, bouncing puppies, and grey-haired senior dogs all fall victim to bad situations and need someone like us to help them.
I knew I was ready to adopt, I felt it. I had lost my American Staffordshire Terrier the previous year and I cried every time I thought about it (and still do). Nothing prepares you for that kind of loss, and nothing completely heals you, but I was ready to move forward. I volunteered at the local SPCA occasionally and got my dose of cuteness when I could. One day, I went to the shelter to play with a dog that I had seen on the website, a Chihuahua name Flossy, with the intention of bringing her home with me. I took her outside, we ran around, she snuggled on my lap, she was a great dog! She had these giant ears and a tongue that went the whole way up your nose, but after 15 minutes of licking and bouncing around, I knew we weren’t meant to be, there just wasn’t a spark.
As I took her back inside, I looked around at the other dogs. A couple boxers had surgery and weren’t allowed to come out and play. A family with two younger boys had their eyes set on an elderly basset hound. I had seemingly no one else to play with! I was a little heartbroken about Flossy not being my soul mate. As I went to leave, I saw a little black dog in the last kennel, the paper on the door said his name was Mac, a 6 year old French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix who came in as a stray. His little smushed nose and bug eyes were… charming. I took him out to the play area, not expecting much more than a little exercise.
Mac was not very interested in me at first. Tennis ball? Nope. Pool full of water? No thanks. There were smells and sounds more exciting than what I had to offer. After a couple minutes of peeing on every upright object, he seemed to notice I was there. I coerced him to sit on the bench with me, he laid back and accepted some chin scratches. He had a very pronounced under bite that showed 5 little “toofies”, a distinguishing grey beard, and a belly to be rubbed. I felt that spark with this little old dog. After all the necessary paperwork and landlord approvals, that little old dog came home with me. He had his head out the window the whole way home, and has ever since.
I just celebrated Mac’s 1 year Adopt-iversary with a car ride through the country, a walk in the woods, a run in the dog park, and even had special doggy ice cream cake! (Peanut butter flavored, I may have tried it…) I reflected a lot on the past year of having him in my life that day. We have had ups and downs, no doubt, but he has taught me a lot of patience. He has been my hiking buddy, lap-warmer, biscuit eater, ball (and squirrel) chaser, and one of my best friends.
When it is time to open up your home to a new pet, dog or cat, please consider your local shelters. You never know what treasures are waiting behind the cage door!