Wanting A Companion
Early on in our relationship, we always wanted pets. I wanted to feel a bit more protected when Sean was at work or if he wasn’t there, say at night. I wanted a dog and I suppose I jumped at the idea so fast and started looking right away. Right away I got on the adoption forums and looked at a bunch of local shelters. We were looking for a good fit and a long-term dog- a lot of dogs I’ve browsed were older and some were handicapped which didn’t fit with my ability at the time.
Within the first few days, I fell in love with this sweet face, Rosie. She was a black lab greyhound mix and she was about a year old. We went with his dad to the Multnomah County Animal Shelter (MCAS) to go see her in person. When we went in we fell in love; she wasn’t skittish or shy, she was pretty warm and wide-eyed. She was welcoming and happy but not crazy excited and didn’t seem too loud for a young dog. It didn’t take long and we knew we’d want to “save” her and bring her home with us. Really the only concern was her getting more training which at the time we knew we could do since we lived at the park blocks in Portland. We signed a bunch of papers to care for her including any warning signs for behavior- with a young dog there weren’t any known. She was already neutered and we had to keep up on annual shots. Signing actually took forever we were there for hours. We were handed a bag of food and her basic care goodies. Sean’s dad was waiting outside and getting her in the truck was a feat but once we did, she loved it and was a bit anxious.
We got her home and things went well right off the bat. She was a sweet personality and tried to discover everything around her. We spoiled her a lot and got her a bunch of toys and things to train her mind and entertain her. There was this squeaky, fuzzy, squirrel toy. It was her absolute favorite. Being a greyhound, she was a long lengthy dog and didn’t know what to do with her limbs. However, she was a big cuddler and I was all about it. She shed a bit but the hair was so fine that it wasn’t a big deal. And what a goofball, silly personality she had, it made us laugh at her constantly.
A few weeks into us having her, caring for her daily, and being her outside for walks and potties, we noticed that she’s A) a puller, and B) a barker; being a puppy, and also very vocal. So that was a negative for us- we should have started training but didn’t with me in school and really did not have the extra budget or space for it. The more we tried to help her and cut her off the behavior- the more we didn’t know what we were doing and the worse it got.
BIg Dog, Small Apartment
We started to feel bad that she was inside a lot and not being socialized and also didn’t get training like we should have gotten. So after about a month or two, we decided it was probably better she had a bigger yard and someone who could really dedicate the time to train her. Although we knew these things and the risks with a larger-sized dog- I just wanted to make it work so much. I felt really bad about my choices however it was great having her while we did. And granted, she was a young dog so she would get readopted right away.
We ended up taking her back to the shelter and relinquished her to their care, I felt awful to do it but the 400 sq ft apartment wasn’t fair to her and I realized that too late. We signed all the papers again to give her back and we cried because we really loved her, like a lot. Even now, we get sad wishing we had been in a better spot to keep her. But it was for the best, in the end, a lot of people may disagree or judge us for our failure to think about the ramifications in the beginning. I have to say I was only 19-20 years old and I just very flippantly wanted a dog. What I realized was; really all I could handle and have time for was a cat, so later on we did that and it worked out much better. I know for a fact, via our conversations with the shelter that she was adopted almost immediately after (within a week or so) to a family with a large backyard. I was glad she got a second chance and thrived I’m sure.
I would say there are a few basic questions to answer before you go looking for a pet- specifically a shelter dog;
What time constraints do you have? Are you a 9-5 worker? A student? Self-employed or have someone to watch them if you’re away during the day?
Budget: What are you expecting to pay for all goods and services? Adoption fees? Food and care costs? Shots- those can be spendy too. Neuter/Spay if not already? Medical costs down the line- tests and treatment can also be expensive and add up fast.
Can you train (do you have time to?) or will you hire someone to train them with/for you? It’s important that a dog, especially a young dog get the basis and knowledge of how to behave and please the owner so they can be safe and loved at home and out in public.
Grooming: This is another smaller topic because some dogs need a LOT of grooming. Whether that be daily brushing, baths, or de-shedding and others don’t need much at all or any in some cases. But this should also be a point you think about when bringing your pet home.
Anyway, I hope you learn from my mistakes and really think about each of these things before bringing in any dog or animal that might not make sense for your lifestyle. I know much better now and although I’m not a perfect pet parent- I do what’s necessary and needed for the wellbeing of my pet and we do the best we can. Thanks for letting me share her with you and drop any comments or shelter dog stories you have below. Let me know if you have a shelter dog you’d like to feature for my Pet Story of the Week series.