It has been three months since our dog Ginger passed. The house has been very quiet without her. This isn’t because she was a barker, but she made her presence known with her very demanding ways. Ginger was Jessie’s friend and guardian. There were even moments where she took on the role of mother. Ginger had strong opinions and required a lot of attention. It’s hard looking at other dogs after having one with such a big personality. There is no such thing as replacing a beloved pet. However, what does make adopting easier is knowing that there are so many pets that don’t get the chance to have a home.
The time had come to stop window shopping and start looking. This process could take a weekend or it could take months to find a dog. On Saturday, I went to the monthly adoption day at the feed store. I was excited to see the puppies and there were a few other dogs that caught my interest. Like a movie where two people see each other from across the room, I saw her.
She couldn’t be more obvious. Just like Donkey in Shrek, she jumped with great expression …“Pick me, Pick ME, PICK ME!”. Even with all the obvious gesturing, I passed her by. Isn’t this what we do with people who don’t meet our visual expectations? She wasn’t who I came to see and this isn’t some make-believe story out of a movie.
The first puppy I looked at was a black French Bulldog. He was quite handsome and greeted everyone that walked by. Most small dogs tend to be yappy. You can’t categorically dismiss them and need to look at each as an individual. Unfortunately, this Frenchy was no exception. After a long day of travel, he had a bad case of laryngitis and had very little bark left.
The next group was too small and the group after that were too big. They looked like solid citizens, but this time around, I did not want a large dog. There was a pen of puppies. Was told they were Australian Shepherd. Though they would not be large dogs, they had long hair and way too much energy.
This process reminds me of Goldilocks….sigh…
As I was looking at the dogs, I bumped into a friend that I hadn’t seen in years. As we chatted, she pointed out a dog that she visited with earlier. This turned out to be the same one that I had noted in the website as a possibility. He was a year old, had a short coat and was brown and white. He was happy to sit in my lap and did not appear overwhelmed by this process. It’s a lot to ask of any dog to travel and then be on their best behavior when meeting new people. Some of the dogs were anxious to meet and greet. A couple of others were laying down in the far end of the portable kennel looking very sad and concerned. Even though I would like to take them all home, the best I can do is say a prayer that they each find their forever home. When adopting, you just cant let your emotions dictate your decision making, especially when melding with an already large family. Everyone needs to be happy.
Just as I was about to make the final decision, the dog in my lap started growling as some larger dogs neared. Then he did it again a few minutes later. It is possible he was being protective and was claiming me, but this also could mean that he was insecure. Yes, it isn’t fair to be so critical, but when looking for a potential family member, this is a commitment. There are no take backs.
As the realization flashed through my mind that he wasn’t the “one”, I looked over and saw ‘her”. All this time, I was sitting only four feet away. Other people had passed her by, but now I was taking a second look. She wasn’t anything like I had envisioned. First of all, I didn’t want a white dog, nor did I want a girl. When we took her out of the cage, she immediately sat in Jess’s lap and kissed her. Even though the male dog was very, very sweet, Jess preferred this four-month-old little girl.
My other criteria was “short hair, soft mouth, to max around 40 lbs., an easy going temperament and be Jess’s buddy. The most important thing isn’t what they look like, but just like people, it is how they make you feel.
The adoption group let me take her home for the night. I had two big concerns. Our cats and my husband, in that order. As we walked towards husband, he immediately said “oh no you didn’t” and shook his head. I’ve done it again. Not only did I bring home a dog, but she wasn’t what he expected either.
She walked up to him slowly, then stood on the step to greet him. First impressions are very important and she knew to tread with caution. I’m liking this girl more and more as I see her navigate social situations. When she came in the house, the Man cat puffed up to twice his size. There was no growling or hissing, just a tude that implied “who let you in?”.
Within the hour, it was realized by all that this girl was special. Husband was smitten, cats where quietly defining the rules and she was aware not to make a scene. By the afternoon, husband asked if we had to keep her name (Dottie). This was a good sign.
The first night went just as smoothly. She put herself in her crate, played with toys that her Aunt Sara had given her and she did not bark or cry. By the next morning, we decided her name would be Roxy.
Though this is not the Boston Terrier or black and white mutt that I had envisioned, I realized that you can’t go looking for love, it has to find you. Thank goodness Roxy chose us.
An unexpected bonus has been that Roxy has been encouraging Jess to talk more. Her language usage has nearly doubled. On Sunday we added Roxy to her talker and this morning I saw in the history that Roxy was the 4th most used word. Ice cream is still #1. Roxy is learning to listen to Jess’s AAC voice.