Don’t Shop, Adopt!
May 16 is a big GOTCHA day in this house. A day celebrated joyously every year as we remember the day we brought home Buddy and Shiloh from the shelter in 29 Palms, CA. Neither Buddy or Shiloh are with us any more, but the joy they brought us changed us forever.
After losing our beloved Bob to Hemangiosarcoma, we were finally ready to take the plunge and bring more paws into our home. We watched Petfinder.com faithfully and checked the rescue sites since we were favoring a Golden or Golden mix. For one reason after another we struck out. Finally one day two new dogs came in to a local shelter. They didn’t have names, just numbers. I wasn’t interested in the eight year old because we had just lost an 8 year old and I couldn’t bear to risk that again so soon. I was all about the three year old. I was on my way. This is what came bounding out to knock me over in the “meet-and-greet” yard:
This guy was a train wreck. Just too much. He had one speed: All on. He was 90+ pounds of uncontrolled enthusiasm. I said I wasn’t sure, and I was so disappointed. I asked if I could meet the eight year old. They took him inside and brought her out. This girl wiggled up to me and nuzzled me and just whimpered with glee that somebody was petting her:
I couldn’t help myself. I just fell in love. Then I had a thought, and I asked if I could see the two interact. They brought the boy out and the two just went crazy. They were so excited to see each other and the joy at being reunited was obvious. I asked, and indeed they had been surrendered together. As I watched the reunion, I simply shook my head and declared that I would be going home with both dogs. I couldn’t risk leaving the older one there. After she was spayed (it was clear she had been a breeder) and he was neutered, we all finally got to go home and have a true “gotcha day!”
We got to spend the last four years of Shiloh’s life with her and they were amazing. To say she fully embraced the change of lifestyle would be more than an understatement and she gave us more than we could possibly have ever given her. I will always lean towards adopting an older dog after this experience, they just seem to know they are getting a second chance and are so grateful. She just slipped right into home life, don’t you think?
We had six more years with Buddy, and most of you know much of Buddy’s story. Right after Shiloh passed, Buddy was diagnosed with Melanoma. He took us on a journey for the next two years that would change our lives and many others as his true nature was revealed. Buddy had a real Zen spirit that was never worried and always blissfully happy. Buddy taught us how to just “be the dog” and live in the moment. We lived an extraordinary two year bucket list that taught us to live life like it’s just one big bucket list because really, that’s what it is. Grab it all while we’re here because it’s not a dress rehearsal or anything like that. That stays with us and in honor of Buddy we keep living the dream one day at a time.
So on this most special of days in our house, we send a wish out to everyone to remember how special it can be to adopt when you you’re looking for some new fur in your house. You can still select specific breeds if that’s important to you, and you can choose what age pet you adopt as well. The joy you see when you walk out of a shelter with a pet getting a second chance will enrich your life more than theirs, trust me. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride!!