Changes and challenges

Sunday brought about some changes in our household. While casually surfing around on Facebook Sunday morning, I happened to see a picture of a dog that was on our local shelter’s “last chance” list. They publish their adoptable dogs to Facebook and I think increase exposure that way, ending up in many more adoptions. Well, anyone that has followed this blog from its inception knows that I am an animal welfare advocate. Many, many times there are dogs that I want to adopt from this list, but I deny myself those thoughts; instead focusing on the three I already have.

SoCo

Let me give you a little background. In April of last year we adopted a dog by the name of Colonel. Colonel is a husky/collie mix with a TON of thick, white fur that falls out in chunks six months of the year and floats at random for the other six. But we love him. How could we not? Colonel was renamed SoCo (Southern Comfort) because of his easy-going, smooth ways. He was also on the “last chance” list. What this basically means is that he had been in the shelter so long without adoption that he was up for euthanization to make room for incoming dogs. Our shelter is tries very hard to get dogs adopted without euthanizing them, but sometimes it is just beyond their control. I saw him and fell in love with him. It took about 30 minutes to convince my family, and he was ours. He is the most wonderful dog. He watches over the kids, making his rounds at night while we sleep, peeking in doors and making sure all is well. He has never met a stranger, but you wouldn’t know that by the impressive and very loud barking whenever one dares enter his premises without introduction.

Buddy and my adorable niece camping out
Freckles

Well, needless to say that took us up to three dogs and I was quite happy. We were the proud parents of one Freckle-Dots, a fuddy-duddy Buddy, and now our SoCo. Then came Sunday.

I had watched “Buster’s” picture from the time he was entered on Facebook into the adoptable dogs album. I thought he was so pretty, and sure to be adopted quickly with the gorgeous smile. That was in October. But for some strange reason, he stayed on there. Then came the final throw of the hammer, he was a “last chance.”

That threw me into a fit of pure rage. The kind that makes your eyes burn with tears at the injustice of it all. I told my husband, “I can’t believe this. People are just dumb! This dog is so beautiful. He’s young, housebroken, has all his shots, and already fixed. Why would no one want him?” Well, my dear sweet husband also took one look at him and said, “If the shelter’s open today we should go get him.”

Once the shock of his statement had fallen away, we talked over the pros and cons of having four dogs. He smiled and said, “How much can one more dog eat? The cats eat more than any of the dogs!” Well, the shelter didn’t open until 10 a.m. Monday morning, so it gave us more time to think it over. We were in the parking lot at 9:35 the next day.

“Buster” was very excited to be out of his cage. He sure could jump! He had no manners and boundless energy. I understood why no one had adopted him. He was just too much for most people to handle. As an Australian Shepherd (mix?) his nature dictated that he be full of energy, fast, and smart. Something most people don’t want in a dog. But we fell in love with his craziness, because that fits right into our already nutso family life. So we took him home.

Buster became Brownie on the ride home, had an upset stomach all that day (Thank you Jesus for Immodium), threw up a few times on the carpet, fought with the other dogs (solved and are now best friends), and basically tried his best to adjust to life on the outside. It took him a little over 24 hours and us wondering if we’d made the right choice, but Brownie is ours now for better or for worse. So my last few days have been craziness, a roller coaster of emotions, sleeplessness, a lot of paper towels and Woolite spray, and introduction to new love.

I want to leave everyone with this thought: There are no perfect dogs, (SoCo comes close, but he has his days) just like there are no perfect humans. We expect something out of them they can’t always deliver without our guidance and love. Once they have it, though, the rewards of their undying love and devotion are many. A shelter dog comes with a history. Brownie had been returned when he was 8 months old after being at the shelter as a pup. They come with an adjustment period. They also come with an undying gratitude. It takes time, energy, devotion, and love to adopt. Nothing that money can buy can equal what you will get when you rescue. Each and every one of our dogs is a shelter rescue. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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