Billy and I had been talking about getting a dog ever since we bought our house. But the question was when. Dogs cost money and they take a lot of time and I wasn’t comfortable taking on that expense when we where still paying off some of our larger home renovations. There are many reasons to not get a dog, but we had been talking about it more and more and we’d read about breeds that would be well suited for us. Last Saturday we decided to just start the process. We wanted a small to medium sized dog, preferably hypoallergenic, and we were committed to getting one from a shelter and not a breeder.
We ended up going to the Humane Society in our neighborhood. It was large, clean and well staffed. There were about 20 dogs available ranging from miniature poodles and chihuahuas to large pitbulls and puppies. It was incredibly heart breaking to walk through the dog kennels because there were so many. Some that you knew would find good homes, while others you could only pray for.
Missy was one of the quiet dogs. When we walked up to her she made eye contact with us and sat politely. When I put my hand up to her cage she sniffed and licked it softly. She was a stray Rottweiler mix and had been in the shelter for more than a month. She was larger than we had wanted and was definitely not hypoallergenic. We continued to look. The mini poodle mix seemed like the logical pick, she was a good breed, small and fit out checklist. But she didn’t draw us in.
We ended up getting a “meet and greet” with Missy, where they put you in a small room to interact with the dog. She was friendly, quiet and calm. She loved to jump and get on your level. A few dogs walked by and caused quite a commotion. Missy jumped up to the window to check it out. She didn’t bark or participate but observed. She wasn’t overly affectionate to us. She seemed to be quite the individual. We went back and forth but the main question was, “were we ready?”. A dog is a lot of work, especially one this size. Vacations are harder, having people over is harder, running errands after work is harder. What if she jumps on our guests, sheds on my dry cleaning, ruins the couch, or worse, our new wood floors? We went home to sleep on it. That night we came to the conclusion that it’s about the dog, not the breed. We realized that Missy may not be the perfect fit for our home, but she was the perfect compliment to our personalities.
We woke up the next morning and went to the shelter soon after it opened. The staff was happy to see us back and we were happy to bring home a new member of our family. We ended up changing her name to Zooey, because she was now a part of our pack, and this was a new part of her life. She’s a wonderful dog, obedient, loving, and calm. It didn’t take any time at all for her to feel comfortable. After only two days, she knows when we were home after walks and when we are in public, she knows who her mom and dad are. She hasn’t shown a taste for shoes and at bed time would much prefer to sleep in our bed, but doesn’t put up too much fuss when we show her to her own. While the commitment is big, the reward is huge and we are so happy to have found each other.