The Option for Adoption

Hey! Thanks for reading and sharing the post yesterday, y’all. It was super fun to open the doors into the house that we love and show you our families 4 dogs that we also love. You could call us dog-people…grown up with dogs around our entire lives, and they’re family. They all give us way more than we could ever give them. If you have a dog, you know.

Hah. You know what else is great about yesterdays post that I forgot to mention?

All four of those pups are rescue dogs that were adopted. I know, I know. Rescue dogs get a lot of flack for being the “used-cars” of the dog world.

Aren’t they dogs that no-one wants because they’re aggressive, unable to be trained, too much work, sick or disease-filled, street dogs, wild hellions…the list goes on and on.

But in my family, and no, not just because my sister is an almost-vet who has spent most of her career in shelter-medicine practice, we adopt. All those things I mentioned before can mostly be scratched off with the “myth” marker–if there was such a thing. Now let me say– are some shelter dogs aggressive or un-socialized? Sure. But that’s why they need you–a loving owner to spend time rehabilitating them. Chances are–their lack of social skills…probably not their fault. Just sayin’.

Do some shelter dogs have diseases? Sure. But if you adopt from the proper places, you shouldn’t have to leave footing that bill–usually the shelter vets will treat all issues (if there are issues) and send the happy, healthy dog on its way!

Now I’ll also go ahead and say that your work will never be done, you’re wallet might not be as full (but was it really full after you bought that puppy from the window for $1500? Probably not…), and you’re house will probably be more chaotic (breed-dependent of course)…but man, is it worth it.

Here’s a little about our adoption story.

Picture David and me. Newly married (i.e. in the nesting phase of “lets get a dog and make sure we can handle it before we have kids”) and living in NYC. I’d been wanting a dog for a while since, like I said, I’d grown up with that pitter-patter of paws and toenails around the house. So January 2011, we got a dog. A 9 WEEK old puppy. And boy was he a rescue. A double-rescue. From a guy we call “creepy-weird guy who wore the same clothes each time we saw him”. (For those with fashion interest like me, that outfit consisted of a plumbers crack and a shirt that said, “I work well under-cover” and had a picture of a bed. You get the idea. Ew.)

Things we didn’t consider with our first adoption that we will next time around:

  1. Space: we lived in an NYC apt the size of our current bedroom and bathroom. I mean…really small. Totally doable, but involves way more work and lots of walks.
  2. No yard: yeah, we didn’t have a yard. That sucked. And it was January. In NYC. IE: A lot of snow that wasn’t slowing down any time soon.
  3. Age of dog: we wanted a puppy. We picked a puppy. No training. No nothing.
  4. Where to adopt: we found a “rescue organization” online. More about that to come.

So we found this rescue org (or what we thought was a legit org). We went to the address and it was in an apartment (red flag #1). We weren’t allowed in the apt (red flag #2), so this weird guy brought puppies out one at a time for us to look at. The smell in this building was outrageously bad (red flag #3). We weren’t allowed to see the mom or the whole litter (red flag #4) after asking. But we saw these little dirty puppies (red flag #5), and immediately connected with two of them.

We said thank you and left. We went to dinner to really think this thing over. Can we afford this? Are we ready for the responsibility? According to creepy-weird guy, they had their first round of shots and they’d been de-wormed, and as far as we could tell, they were living in some terrible conditions. If we could have taken all the puppies just to get them away from the creepy-weird guy, we would have. At that point we knew we had to get one–to “save” it. So we went back a day or two later and rescued one of the rescue puppies, and named him Colonel Mustard (thanks Jess for the name suggestion). **For those interested, we did report this organization to NYC’s ASPCA.

Moving on, first night home was a typical first night with a puppy. It was awful. We decided to crate-train Colonel so at bed time, we put him in his crate and he cried all night. He also pooped several times inside that night, and the um…fecal matter was not normal. It was really bloody. And smelled weird. The creepy-weird guy had told us that the puppies loved cat-food which we knew was a no-no, so we were hoping it was something like that and we’d watch it.

Next day we took our little pup to the vet to get a complete check-up.

Boy, did we have a sick-puppy. Colonel had hookworms and coccidia. No wonder he was so sick and lethargic. We got lots of meds to administer and after all was over and done, we spent around $600. In the first day or two. Our sentiments: CRAP.

The sleepless nights and potty training were frustrating and tiresome for about 2 weeks.

And getting a puppy means pretty constant monitoring and constant potty-ing and constant playing. I haven’t had a kid, but I’d imagine having a puppy and baby are similar in some ways. Exhausting. But we stuck it out. We are not quitters and we saw Colonel as a challenge and plus, after like 2 seconds, we were hooked. We loved the little guy. We trained Colonel to do lots of tricks. We followed Cesar Milan’s books like the Bible and did everything he said. And it paid off.

After 6 months, we moved to Columbia, SC and got a yard (total necessity) and rented a house.

(Uhaul on moving Day)

And now it’s been 2.5 years and Colonel is great. Sure, he’s gotten stitches at the Emergency Vet from being slightly-impaled by a stick at the dog park, and he’s had minor issues here and there, but overall, he’s the happiest and healthiest boy. And did I mention he’s spoiled rotten? That too. He has his quirks like any dog, but he has really matured into a good boy.

So in short–or not so short–dogs are the best thing over. Especially shelter and rescue dogs. Not only did you provide a second-chance for a dog, but more often than not, it’ll be a mixed-breed who could have less health problems than a purebred dog. And hey-if a pure-breed is your thing, you can get them at shelters too! Just be patient or look for a rescue group for that breed. If the breed exists, the rescue group probably exists too. There are a whole lot of other reasons not to buy from pet shops and online-pet retailers, but I’ll stay off that soapbox for the time being. But feel free to check out the Humane Societies Top 5 Reasons to Adopt. You won’t regret it. And the puppy definitely won’t.

Our first family pic Spring 2011


And Spring 2013…

For dog lovers out there, check out my dog board on Pinterest.


3 thoughts on “The Option for Adoption

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