We Adopted a Puppy: A Love Story
Do you ever look for signs in the universe? I confess that I do.
Call me crazy, but I believe the universe whispers to us. The problem is we don’t always hear it.
I pay attention to veiled signals and the sigh of a message in the wind, that could be nothing … or something. Life is mostly random, but if we listen closely there are lessons to be learned.
Which is a long winded explanation of why we adopted a puppy.
We lost our beloved 13 year-old dog Duncan just after Thanksgiving.
We were shattered and bereft. We had done everything we could to prolong his life, but when his suffering could no longer be eased it was time to say goodbye.
Anyone who has lost a pet knows the strange stillness of the house, the phantom nuzzlings at night, the leftover treats, the empty spaces once filled with furry joy, the toys. I had been home with Duncan all day. My world revolved around his schedule.
Our friends and family, especially those who had known Duncan, were unfailingly compassionate. My children, all living at a distance, were concerned. What about another dog?
No, was my quick reply. It is too soon. We are not done mourning him.
But then, there was a sign. And another sign.
A notice popped up on my community’s Facebook page. A dog rescue organization had several litters of puppies that were being transported from a shelter in South Carolina to an adoption fair five minutes from our house.
I reread the ad. I clicked on the link to the website of Home at Last Dog Rescue. I read about its mission and I scanned the profiles of the puppies hoping to be adopted.
I thought for a moment. Well, it wouldn’t hurt to fill out the online application. Even though it wasn’t the right time for another dog. Anyway, they probably wouldn’t be able to process the application in time for Saturday. They had to check my references, contact my vet, make a home visit.
In order to complete the application, I had to select the dog I wanted to adopt. I selected Eagle, a 9 week-old mixed breed puppy.
The day before the adoption fair I got a call that our application had been approved. They could do the home visit the next day, assuming we brought the puppy home.
I called my husband. “What do you think?” I asked him.
“I’m ready if you are,” he said.
If we get the puppy, he will need a name, I thought. What would we call him? I racked my brain. From past experience, I knew it took time to find the perfect name. I was coming up empty.
I thought and thought, and then the name Max popped into my mind. I liked the sound of it.
So when my husband got home and we started making plans for the visit to the adoption fair, he asked me if I had thought of names. I said, you tell me, do you have any ideas?
“You know what name I really like?” he said. “Max.”
I stopped at the pet store to pick up a few toys. Just in case we brought home the dog. A wave of happiness surged through me, something I hadn’t felt since Duncan got so sick. It felt right that we were getting a dog.
I thought I could never love another dog the way I loved Duncan. But I was ready to try.
We got to the adoption fair and there he was in a wire-enclosed pen. Eagle the mixed breed puppy. He was playful yet calm and he snuggled when we held him. I just noticed that my husband was wearing his Eagles sweatshirt. Coincidence?
We put him back in the pen and walked around to observe the other puppies, all of them cute, of course. When we walked back to Eagle’s pen, I put my fingers through the small opening. He ran over to me and licked my hand.
I was convinced. My husband was convinced. Max, once known as Eagle, came home that day.
We are puppy parents.
He watches me when I get ready in the morning. He sleeps by my feet as I work at the computer. He loves to play fetch and scamper in our back yard. He does not like cheese. He tolerates his crate. He responds to “sit” and “down.” The leash perplexes him.
This is Max.
Our lives as puppy parents are way busier now, but we know that this was meant to be. Max was meant to be.
The signs were all there.
We Adopted a Puppy, Part Two
So far, 2016 has been The Year of the Puppy.
Our family is growing.
Last month we welcomed a puppy, Max, to our household. This is Max.
Isn’t he the cutest?
We thought our empty canine nest was full, but once again, Fate intervened. Last week, waiting for the snow storm to arrive, I happened to come upon these photos posted on Facebook …
… with this message:
We are looking for a FOREVER home for sweet Wyatt. A home where he will have unconditional love and care, patience and training, and where he will eventually grow old. If you are looking to adopt a great puppy and willing to help him grow into a wonderful dog then please message me.
His introduction to life hasn’t been easy. He was seized for cruelty. His previous owner tried to beat him to death. While he was only a tiny puppy, she hung him and broke several of his ribs. After suffering all of this abuse, he greets the world with only love. He is truly an amazing dog. He gets along well with other dogs, he is interested in (but gentle with) cats, and he loves to be snuggled by humans and other fur creatures alike. He listens well and is highly motivated by treats. At this young age, he is both potty and crate trained – he would absolutely thrive after a basic canine manners training class. He really loves people.
The foster mother added that the four month-old puppy was a pit bull/terrier mix.
I will admit to a longstanding distrust of pit bulls. Not that I have had any experience with them, mind you. It was their reputation that preceded them. I bought into that completely.
I felt sorry for them, because I know they are often unwanted and ill regarded. But I never considered adopting one.
But … these photos. So adorable! And the description of Wyatt, well, it tugged at my heart. All of a sudden, I imagined that a second puppy in the house might be a good thing.
I remembered how we found our beloved dog, Duncan, who passed away after 10 wonderful years with us. I had seen his photo and description on an adoption website and fell in love. He was also being fostered by a caring family, as Wyatt was, a family that wanted to keep him but didn’t have the room for another dog. We brought him home with us right then and there.
It was one of the best decisions we ever made.
And now, looking at pictures of Wyatt, I tried to picture him in our family. I knew that we could provide a safe and loving home for him. We would have a playmate for Max, he of the indefatigable energy.
Maybe it is time to debunk this stereotype, I thought. The stereotype of the vicious pit bull. Let’s meet Wyatt and see.
The next day Wyatt’s foster parents brought him to our house.
He ran right over to us and wagged his tail. It was instant love. How could you not? He’s got polka dots on his ears!
As you’ve guessed, the rest is history.
Wyatt is everything his foster mother had said: docile, friendly and charming. He is the best cuddler ever. He is sweet to our cat, Lexie, and is a wonderful playmate for Max, amenable to playing or napping or chewing toys, whatever Max chooses.
Will a second dog be more work? Undoubtedly. But in no time at all, Wyatt has proved himself to be an adaptable, polite new resident. He asks for little but gives so much in return. He fits into our lives, the rhythms of our home, perfectly.
I always said that Duncan thanked us every day of his life. Perhaps I’m attributing human traits to animals, but Duncan was a very smart dog.
Maybe all our pets are grateful for forever homes. Some just show it more than others.
I’ve seen a bumper sticker that says “Who rescued whom?”
In this case, it’s hard to say.