petfinder is a very dangerous thing to have around someone who has a penchant for cute animals. rescues can have a bad, undeserved rap too, given everyone’s love of pure and designer breeds, but every single one i’ve had, canine or feline, has been awesome.
back in october, the husband and I started looking at dogs. nothing in earnest. we had always hoped to have a dog when we got a yard and other such things, but our city life didn’t seem like it would end anytime soon. so, the logical thing to do was to adopt a massive dog that would need a lot of exercise and could potentially have an extremely loud bark in a city where landlords are not too kind to family members of the four-legged variety….right?
at the same time, i was pitching in at a terrible pet “boutique” — complete with rodentia to match. the groomer cautioned me against rescues, even though my family had success in the past. a pro-purebred type, she harped on the evenness of temperament and how i would “know what i was getting into” with a purebred dog. i still don’t understand that logic fully. even purebreds have weird traits.
the husband resisted my attempts to go see the dog. i knew though, from the posting (and from this photo in particular) that the dog that i sent treats and whatever i could spare to was ours. husband, unconvinced, promised that if he were still available in january, when due for a visit to charlotte, we could VISIT him. pending living arrangements, cat friendliness and loudness, we could THINK about further sponsoring him or maybe adopting him if he were still available in a few months time. i still did not have a guarantee that i would have my dog.
given that we had two cats already, adopting a dog in a small apartment in the middle of the city just sounded dumb and irrational… irresponsible even. the first cat, izzy, was a pluck from a family of cats i ended up taking care of in college. a lack of spay led me to taking care of an entire litter of kittens at 19 and broke. first born and loudest of the litter, and worth everything for nearly 11 years now. best cat in the world, bar none. intelligent and cute to boot…. but at her age, i wondered if she could adjust to a dog in the house…
then there’s odin, a street stray that was abandoned or lost about 2 years ago. absolutely terrified of dogs and super protective of us. when we found him, he was skinny and missing patches of hair, with little puncture wounds on his sides. he tried to fight a shetland sheepdog on our first meeting. we eventually figured out he’s a gentle giant, but if a dog were to get into his face, we didn’t know what would result. so odin, at 7, would have to adjust all over again.
so for about 3 months, i was convinced i was a complete selfish jerk for even wanting this dog.
the entire time, i couldn’t shake the feeling that it was our dog.
so i sponsored the coonhound. as we got to know the folks from the rescue, we found out the details of “bones” story. he was brought in by neighbors who said they had “found the dog on their property,” said he couldn’t hunt and if that couldn’t be taken care of, he’d be shot and disposed of. after wasting away to a pile of skin and bones (and nearly 30 pounds underweight due to starvation), the english coonhound got a second chance. and he sat there for months until we came around. no one wants a large dog, they said. no one wants a dog that isn’t young (he’s 4).
we decided to visit the dog, and went to my folks place for a test run. we left north carolina with adoption papers filled out, and a new dog (now webster) on the way to our place in boston. he needed to gain 10 more pounds and get over his socialization issue, but it’s a start right? soon after we found that his prior owner had also left a bullet in his leg, but with that out and with a new life starting, i think the future’s way brighter for our guy. he smiles! he goes out with me and drinks! he loves jerky! it’s the little things.
but i have to wonder. how can people be so nightmarishly mean to animals? his story of starvation and abuse is one in a million, and that bothers me to no end. moreover, he’s amazing and sweet and wonderful and would have been dead had he been in ANY other shelter because of fearfulness. he’s friendly as can be if you take your time to get to know him, but too many people are interested in getting in his face to prove that dogs like them (newsflash, they don’t).
we are fortunate though, with our big ol’ hound, and he may have a friend soon enough. despite his quirks and issues (even though we were shocked to find he’s supposedly a purebred), he was SO worth rescuing. so if it seems that i am a bit obsessed with my dog? i am – because he’s a love, and he looks to me for safety and security. but more importantly, he’s pretty darn cute. lover of cats and neck scratches, a hound turned out to be an amazing apartment dog.