I’ve been sitting here thinking for a little over a week on how to convey to you, loyal Thoughts by Natalie readers, on the benefits of adopting an animal. I had all these crafty titles and angles as to how I was going to approach this topic. Each time I scrapped the almost completed article feeling like it was the written version of those Sarah McLachlan guilt trip adoption commercials. I definitely wind up being a blubbering mess after those, honestly. So instead I choose to write to all of you as friends. My letter to you about how I fell in love with this little ball of fur now named Maylene as well as explain my decision to rescue a dog after having grown up with purebred pooches.
I have had the following dogs: Brownie (chihuahua/pekignese), Melie (sheltie), Onyx (papillon), Bella (papillon), and now Maylene (my shepherd mystery mix). Brownie was the first to endure me as a furry friend. She was the furry child in the family before I came crawling along. She was great and definitely set the precedent for my expectations of a dog: friendly to all people, creatures, and things. We later got Melie. She was my first experience in getting a purebred dog. Thinking about it in hindsight, I never realized how odd it is to get a dog that is purebred. There’s papers, deposits, and a multitude of things I’ll get into soon. After those two came Onyx and Bella, respectively. Both were from out of state and really showed me what an odd process it is that some people go through to get the prize of a purebred dog, but it also showed me that just because a dog with a fancy name comes with papers doesn’t always guarantee a good personality or temperament.
My mom at some point in her life got an obsession with papillons. I think it was their prized bat-like ears. She would do endless amounts of research on the internet looking up reputable breeders, communicating with said breeders, developing a relationship, expressing interest in a dog, and then going through the whole arduous process of getting on the “future puppy parent” list to getting approved and so on. She would be in constant communication, she would reserve an unborn puppy, put in a non-refundable deposit, sign a contract to get approved stating who knows what but also containing a clause where the breeder can take the dog away, and then getting approved. Both times she flew out to meet up with the breeders to pick up the puppies and would bring them home; once to Arizona and the other time to New York. On top of that breed not being inexpensive, it was also quite a trek to get to the point where she finally got her furry babies. In my head after seeing all of our dogs obtained that way it just kind of clicked that this is how a person gets a dog.
Once my husband and I married, I was kind of-maybe- just a little bit determined to get a furry baby. It was odd for me to not have a little four-legging friend roaming around, so I would ask. And ask. And ask. “Someday,” would always be the response in which I would jokingly reply, “I’ll make it be someday.” Eventually I just let the topic go until he and I were on a long drive and he brought up the idea of getting a dog. Him even mentioning the idea got me so excited. We talked about breeds and toyed with some ideas of what to get that would be condo-friendly. Initially we wanted a French Bulldog (the currently ever-so-popular) so I did some research and discovered cost and health issues up the wazoo with the chubby little butterballs. I kept poking around the web at breeders, but got weary when I saw the price tags for purebred pooches being a couple thousand.
Then the idea of searching at one of our local rescues popped in my head. I took a look at their list of available dogs and fell in love with one. Wonderfully enough, my husband was ok with the idea of heading to the shelter to check the dogs out. A friend jokingly asked if I was going to let the dog pick us. I didn’t think I would, I thought I would come home with the dog I picked from the picture online, but I left with Maylene. We walked around the shelter and looked at all the happy puppies with their “please take me home” faces. We picked a few to look at and checked out the puppies in their kennels. Two of them were pretty blasé, enjoying being tended to. A terrier mix that we saw was bouncing around and I deemed it a little too high energy for us. We finally came along Maylene’s kennel and went in. I crouched down to say hello to the apprehensive girl. She then came bouncing over and knocked me into a full sitting position and was licking my face profusely.
That was it. I was sold. This was my girl and no one else could have her. It really was true when they said that the dog picks you. Puppy kisses and all, she picked us to be her puppy parents. The whole experience was so gratifying. We got to rescue a sweet little one after knowing that she hadn’t had a great start to life until now. We were going to be her second chance to be loved and cared for.
They don’t have voices, they don’t get to pick what breed they are or who they get to come into contact with. They don’t pick the fact that they’re mixed breeds and have adorable and quirky characteristics from the mix of breeds that they are. They’re still animals that need love, care, affection, and a place to call home. Seeing all those dogs that didn’t get picked that day broke my heart. I don’t know if people realize that the puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs all need the same tender loving care. I decided to say ‘thank you’ for my gift of my sweet girl by giving my time back to a rescue and helping them save other dogs from a fate they did not pick or deserve. Every life is precious, every breath should be cherished. I wanted to help give these dogs a second chance at love and life because it can change someone else’s. I currently volunteer with a non-profit all dog rescue called The Animal Pad in my hometown. They rescue dogs from many situations and a lot of them from the euthanization line up at kill shelters.
There’s so many ways to jump in and volunteer whether it be with cats, dogs, or exotic animals. Adopt-a-pet‘s website has a section for volunteers that local shelter and rescues in your area post needs for help. You can also call your local ASPCA or Humane Society and ask how you can assist. Fostering animals is a tax deductible route to head down, as well. You can even help with rescues that help certain breeds of animals. There are limitless options. And who knows, you may find your furry new best friend along the way.