The Decision to get a Dog

Have you ever reflected on the beginning of your journey with your dog?Why did you get them? What was happening in your life to make that decision? What is your dog getting story?  

My journey to Charley was filled with red flags which I chose to ignore. It may not be a popular narrative, especially to start my story, but it is the first thing that comes to mind when reflecting on our journey. The signs were there from the start that this adoption story was going to be an interesting one. I do not regret getting Charley, but the hints that we were in for challenges were waiting on the sidelines. Perhaps, it was to test my love and dedication to dogs; and test it did.  Let’s start the journey from the beginning.

Although my childhood and beyond was filled with dogs, cats and the occasional bird, hamster or rabbit, as a full-grown adult, I never had my own dog. I did dog walk, dog board on occasion, but as you can imagine, that is not the same as having one's own dog.  I was holding off getting one until my job allowed me to have flexible work hours so that my potential dog would not be home all day.  That finally happened in 2013. 

One day, on a morning television show they were featuring dogs from the local humane society. One of the dogs they showed was a little white fluffy dog. I decided that I wanted to go see that dog at a local pet store where the humane society was holding their adopt-a-thon which they were advertising on this morning show. Their timing was to capitalize on Valentine's Day. You can probably see where this story is going.  Thus, I attended this pet store to find this white fluffy dog and get my own Valentine. Alas, all the dogs were taken and adopted.  Since it took me a long time to work up the courage to make this decision, I ignored that first sign. I decided to go straight to the source, the humane society, to see what other dogs they had.

I arrived at the shelter ready to meet my soulmate. I followed the signs to the dog section and went through the white, sterile looking and smelling, loud corridor. I moved swiftly, scanning the signage for each dog, ensuring that I only made eye contact with those who fit my perimeters for a companion. I did not want to make eye contact unless they were adoptable and fit the loose set of criteria I had in my mind (fluffy, small, hypoallergenic), as I was scared that I would end up with a dog not suited for me.  For my own sanity, I had to be intentional and quick.

I finally came upon the white fluffy dog I saw earlier on the tv morning show and which started this entire search. However, the dog’s details included some medical issues that I was not sure I could handle. The little dog was also barking non-stop, understandably. Being naïve to most things about shelters and adoption, that was enough for me to pass on the dog. (I hope that little fluff found a lovely home). Unfortunately, there seemed to be no other dogs that matched my circumstances and criteria. 

Having now ignored sign number two that perhaps getting a dog was not something I should be doing at that moment, in a last ditched attempt, I asked one of the staff if they had any dogs which fit my description and whom I may have missed. The staff member said ‘what about Charles’. We went to his cage which had a sign 'not for adoption', which I pointed out to the staff member. She dismissed my objection and chuckled as she told me that they just forgotten to take off the sign, as he was recently neutered and recovering, but that in fact, he was ready for adoption. 

dog in shelter, dog, rescue

I bent down to take a closer look at Charles, who did not fit my criteria in the slightest. He briefly licked my hand and sat there all quiet and regal. He was not barking, which was also a bonus point in his favour. 

I wanted to meet him, see if we had any connection and to see if I was allergic to him as he seemed to have fur not hair. However, in order to meet and touch a dog, one has to be serious about adopting and book an interview! I booked an interview for later in the same day. I waited about two hours, but that’s a story for next time. 

What’s your adoption (rescue or otherwise) story? What led you to the decision? How did that day go for you? Was it everything you’d hope it would be? Did you have a few ‘near misses’ before you got your dog?

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