When getting a cat some months ago didn’t work out, I have had my eye out for a dog. I knew in order for it to work for me, it had to be a dog that was apartment friendly. Not a loud or constant barker, not a large dog and for my preference; one that would shed the least. I did not want to spend the money on a full breed Maltese (the breed I have owned before) or go through finding breeders that I could trust, but I also was afraid to trust going to a rescue place risking getting an unhealthy dog that could be more cost and heartache for me than I needed.
I did like the idea of ‘saving a dog from the pound’ so I have been looking online at the Humane Educational Society’s adoption list.
I also would use Pet Finder, which listed HES dogs as well as others.
While thinking I was looking at a HES dog - a cute little schnauzer I saw - was actually a dog listed under Paws for a Prayer Rescue. When I called about him, the caregiver let me know that the dog was already being looked at but that she had another schnauzer who just came in that I could look at. Describing him, she said he was a ‘Parti Schnauzer’ with spots and his name was Picasso.
I met up with the woman in my old neighborhood of Mountain Shadows. It was sort of weird to be back there again, though I missed my neighborhood course where I used to go running. I found her place with no problem. I absolutely could not believe how many dogs this person had in her house as well as in her garage! I could not imagine having that many mouths to feed unless they were branded and said ‘moo’. When she showed me Picasso, he was shaking so badly I thought his hair was going to fall out.
It wasn’t just a momentary shyness – I could tell something was wrong with him. He was from a puppy-mill. I even held him and loved on him, but he had absolutely no personality and looked to be quite a basket case. I felt sorry for him and it is this type of thing where you wish you could love all the dogs out there that need to be loved. But I knew this was not what I needed. I figured I would probably still be searching for yet another month or more before I decided and made a commitment.
Getting a dog that fits you is just as complicated as deciding who you date. I have been holding out for both. Why give into something just because well-meaning friends think it would be the right thing for you? I have had a few friends wanting to help out by suggesting certain dogs for me. Finally, they saw how picky I was or that I was not ready to commit until it was right for me.
Just as I had given up on searching for a dog for a while, the next morning I ended up on HES’ site just to see if there was one I may like. I already had a couple of favorites but they were a mix of dogs that I was not familiar with - a Beagle (full breed) named Snoopy and a Terrier mix named Radar. Then I saw the cutest Schnauzer mix that looked a little like a scruffy Maltese. His name was Rusty; he was a cream color with some tan. I knew how I used to groom my Maltese and that he could clean up nicely.
I ended up going to the Humane Society to meet the pooches. When I was told to go down the stairs I felt like I was in a science fiction movie. I saw crates of kitties and a maze of cubicles of canines! Some cubicles were open at the top and some were taller and enclosed by a plexi-glass door to peer through. The barking was as if there were a surround-sound speaker system above me.
Oh my! If anyone ever felt lonely in their life – all you would have to do is spend a day at the pound! All of a sudden a rush of barks and lapping tongues begging for my attention enveloped me. It was almost dizzying to see so many dogs that needed someone to love them! My heart melted and I wanted them all. I made sure to pet each and every one of them that demanded my attention. All I could think about was how I sometimes feel cooped up in my apartment with no outside contact or a loving touch. Touch is very important and it is one of my love languages. I touched every dog I could.
It was a greater experience to see how they re-act in person, rather than falling in love with a dog online. What is their personality? How will they respond to me? Do they bark loudly? Do they bite? It is the exact same feeling with online dating! It’s funny to think about, but, honestly, how can you judge from a picture and just reading about your hopeful companion?
There was a volunteer in the galley of mutts and I showed him the printout of the dogs I was looking for. My first choice was Rusty. The guy looked in Rusty’s cubicle and he wasn’t there. He went around the outside to see if Rusty was there.
Meanwhile, I had found the other two dogs on my list in the same cubicle together. The Beagle was beautiful with dark markings around his eyes, but I could tell with that coat he would shed quite a bit. The other rascal had a rambunctious spirit and clawed at my hand with his very long and sharp claws for me to pet him. His face had a little bit of Rottweiler to him. Neither dog felt right.
Then Snoopy barked - oh my! A Beagle’s bark is not for an apartment! My heart was not set on either dog. The volunteer came back and said that he believed that Rusty was taken to PetSmart for a viewing. My heart sank because, of course, I felt – he was the one. My mind began racing wondering how long he would be at PetSmart and if someone would snatch him up before I could get there. I went back through the dog maze high-fiving all the dogs that extended their paws to me and back upstairs to the front desk.
When I inquired about Rusty, the girl at the counter called the staff who had taken the dogs to PetSmart. I listened to the one-sided conversation, “Oh you don’t? Where is he? Oh he was?” My heart sank a little more – someone had probably adopted him already. When she hung up the phone she said, “Come with me.” I followed her to a connector to another building. “Uh-oh” I thought, “Rusty had been put in detention for being bad…”
But then we came to another ‘front desk’ and from the conversation between workers, it was apparently a building where the smaller dogs were - the miniatures and toys. As they discussed my dog, the guy sounded as if there had been a problem with Rusty even being there – because he was 22 pounds. That’s “22”… if any of you follow my stories; you know that is my special number.
I had been seeing a sequence of 22’s for a couple of weeks now and it was my “God sign” that He was working up something pretty cool for me. They took me to the back where the “under 15 pounds” dogs were kept and immediately our eyes met. It was as if he were waiting on me. There were other dogs in the room I am sure but I didn’t see any of them. No high-fives from these crated buddies – my eyes were set on my doggie as I walked over to his crate.
He didn’t act all hyper and needy as if he would take anyone that would pet him; he just looked as if to say, “Oh there you are – what took you so long?” I knew immediately he was mine. I touched his face through the crate and said to the staff member, “He’s mine”. And my dog took his paw and grabbed onto my hand that I had braced on the crate. He held my hand and I just knew. As the other dogs were barking loudly for my attention, I wanted to make sure the guy heard me so I said it again, “He’s mine” as I tried not to tear up, looking like some goofball.
At last! My love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is …well, like a song. I told my pet that I would be back and I went to fill out the paperwork. He would have to be taken to the vet to be neutered and given his shots. I would be able to take him home the next day. I left HES with the biggest smile on my face.
Now, I cannot keep the name Rusty. Being a person of creativity – when something is mine, it has to be my idea and come from me. Besides, to me “Rusty” was that fat kid on the playground in first grade that pushed me on the ground and put dirt in my mouth. Luckily, I have dog-lover friends on Facebook - my good friends Bill Race, Mary Jones and my bff Susan that help me as we do a conference private messaging of trying on names for my pet. We did this with the cat “Edward” and a few other friends had joined in. It will be fun to come up with a name for my tan-cream colored Mauzer.
I welcome any ideas from readers.
I also want to urge anyone who is in need of a pet to not just look online or with breeders. The pets at the Humane Educational Society are wonderful animals and they all need loving homes. If you are the person to rescue a special needs pet, check out the rescue places such as Paws for a Prayer among others. If you are like me and have to have that special fit, go to the place in person and get the feel of the animals, hear them, see them, observe what is best for you. It is an amazing experience when you look across the room and know ‘the one’.