I think we knew we were going to bring home a new member of our family that day, or at least find her. I woke up humming with excitement, never knowing before exactly what that meant or felt like. There was an adoption event at the local Petsmart, and we were headed there first. However, upon arrival, there were no dogs to be seen. We arrived a half hour after it was supposed to start, so there was no way we missed it!
Our next option was to go to the local animal shelter, but it wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes. We were officially stuck. My family had invited us to lunch the next town over, so we decided to meet up with them. It would give us a change to go to the humane society there, whose website I had been scouring for weeks. Upon arrival, there were so many dogs I wanted to bring out and play with that I didn’t know where to begin! Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I could never agree, so we left. I was so disappointed. If we couldn’t find one we agreed on there, how would we ever find our new family member?
There was still one place left to go before we called it a day, so that’s where I took us before we went home. The local animal shelter was actually nicer than the humane society we had visited. The facility was newer and the cages were unlocked so you could easily go in and interact with the animal of your choice. I appreciated that, especially.
There were three rooms of dogs. The first was full of beagles, which we liked but were afraid of the noise they might make; we live in a four-plex and needed a dog that would be quiet for our neighbors. The second room had the puppies of unknown breed. When I went in and played with them, they chewed on my chin and on my hands and on everything they could put their mouths on. While they were cute, we didn’t want to have to start from scratch on training, and we wanted to have some kind of indication how big they would be. We weren’t afraid of a big dog, but we wanted to know what to expect. So we moved on to the third and final room, and there she was. A skinny, beautiful German Shepherd who never made a peep while all the other dogs barked and went crazy as we walked by.
She had obviously had a litter of puppies, so we were surprised to discover she was only two years old. We put her on a leash and took her outside to see more of her personality. She was so laid back, went potty immediately, and was ready to go back inside fairly quickly – all very positive traits. So we put her up and went to the desk to inquire about her. She was a return – the last person to adopt her brought her back saying she was too energetic for their lazy lab. We couldn’t imagine how that could be the case from what we had seen of her. They didn’t know how she would do with cats; she had never been around them before. That part was very important to us, as we had two cats at home that I had owned since they were five weeks old (they were barn cats from my parents’ barn, and after that age they are more difficult to catch, let alone guarantee their survival). Needless to say, they run the roost, and any dog we brought home would have to get along well with them.
So we went back in with the dogs to discuss what we wanted to do out of earshot. Not knowing how she would be with the cats was a huge drawback, as was her size (technically, our landlord told us we could have a dog that was up to five pounds. Since my cats weigh more than that, and he had ORIGINALLY said 50 pounds, we looked more in that range. She weighed 72). But other people were interested in her, we both loved her, she still hadn’t barked, and she was so incredibly sweet. We decided to give it a go.
We went back to the front and told them we had made our decision – we were going to adopt her. They told us she was $50 and could go home with us that night. We were a bit surprised at that, we figured we would have to apply and be approved. So we filled out a few papers with our name and address, got her medical records and a dog food sample, and left with her right then! As we were doing so, a family came in saying they were going to look at Sammie. We had decided in the nick of time! As we took her to our truck, it was obvious she knew she was going home and wasn’t coming back. Since all we had was a rope collar they had given us, as well as medicine for her ears (she has recurring otitis), we went back to Petsmart for all the essentials: a new collar, a new leash, and elevated dog bowls. I ended up going back to Walmart that night for more dog food, treats, and a crate so we wouldn’t have to worry where she was and where our cats were as we slept. We cancelled the plans we had for the evening and spent it getting to know her and letting her get to know us. It never felt real – more like we were watching her for someone else, not that she was OURS!! To be honest, four days later, it still doesn’t feel real…