In 2010, I started volunteering at “Lifeline animal placement and protection” in Wichita, Kansas. I began with the intentions of finding a big old dog that was possibly overlooked and just needed a home for the remainder of his years. I was assigned to a building that housed about 18 small to medium sized dogs. That’s where I met Davey, a little terrier mutt, saved from death row, with NO MANNERS! He was so demanding of my attention that he hated waiting on me to get to his kennel for his daily play time! I thought he was cute, but figured my husband would never have patience for a “bad” dog like he was. I had also never dealt with a dog with his energy level and lack of training. So I resisted his affection for me and kept trying to connect with the big old dogs on my way out each day. But after two weeks or so, I just couldn’t deny Davey anymore! He was all I could think about and he was very vocal with his love for me! So in April of 2010, that little crazy 1 year old mutt with huge ears came with me and began terrorizing my home! He peed everywhere, annoyed my cocker spaniel, drove my cats into hiding and wanted to eat our guinea pig! I thought for sure he would be too much for my husbands patience, but we persevered and my husband declared “I could have a house full of Davey’s!” I then knew all was well.
Over the summer of 2010, I began showing adoptable pets at local pet stores. My then 5 year old daughter would sometimes tag along and hold the small dogs. Mini was relinquished to the shelter after her owners lost their job. My daughter, Macy, fell in love with Mini and wanted to hold her at the showings. They were secretly bonding while I was busy talking to potential adopters! Pretty soon, Macy started telling people Mini wasn’t for adoption! The last dog I ever wanted was a chihuahua! I thought they were needy, snappy and bad with kids. But Mini was blowing all my stereotypes out of the water! She was sweet, patient and could hold her own. Once my husband met her, he wanted her too! Mini quickly became a daddy’s girl and I think he could have a house full of chihuahuas now!
In 2011, my cocker spaniel died from cancer. We had fostered several pups and dogs and were now facing a huge relocation from Kansas to Ontario, Canada. So we decided to focus on the move and not take in anymore animals. But, a dog foster friend went out of town and needed a sitter for the 12 year old dog she was fostering. Gracie had just been relinquished by her family of 12 years after a new marriage to a man with allergies left her homeless. She filled the void that our old cocker left behind. She howled for me like he once did and that was it, I had to keep her! So after a couple weeks of her just hanging around my husband said “she’s not going back is she?”
When looking to adopt, go in without any expectations or preferences and just see which dog picks you.
Don’t overlook the shy dog in a corner, he just needs to feel safe and loved before allowing another human to see his potential.
Don’t overlook the crazy mutt with no manners, he just needs exercise, patience and guidance.
Don’t overlook the old dog because he may not live much longer. There’s no greater satisfaction than giving a warm bed to a senior dog. They come fully mature and still willing to show you love and devotion for the remainder of their days. I began my journey looking for what I wanted- a big old dog. I’ve yet to get that, but I’ve gotten exactly who needed me and I them.