Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Dog Adoption Story

Two years ago this morning I sat outside the door to my Fiction classroom and called an animal shelter near Oklahoma City to ask about their adoption application.  After looking through pages and pages of puppies online for months (it began as a procrastination technique--I was in my last semester of college and super burnt out on writing papers), I was ready to ask about the process.  I would graduate in three weeks and move out on my own, so it was a good time to start thinking about getting a furry little roommate, right?  Right--it was a good time to START THINKING ABOUT IT. 

Fast forward about six hours to me driving back to my Shawnee apartment (the one I shared with two other girls--Lord forgive me), staring at the puppy sleeping in my passenger's seat.  

I remember thinking, What have I done? It all happened so quickly!  I had three weeks left of school, which included the last finals of my educational career, and I was now responsible for taking care of a whiny little lady who still peed whenever and wherever she pleased.

With Penny, the adoption process was almost too easy.  Easier than I needed it to be at the time, probably, considering I signed two other people up for three weeks of very little sleep and a whole lot of puppy training pads covering our carpet.  I called that morning asking about the application process and mentioned that I'd seen "Philly" (Penny's original name) on Petfinder. The very sweet shelter owner recommended going ahead and filling out the application before visiting the shelter, in case I wanted to take a pup home with me.  I filled it out and emailed it that afternoon, then hopped in my car and drove 45 minutes to meet my girl.

Penny was one of six eight-week old puppies in the litter.  Her momma--a little Miniature Pinscher not much bigger than her pups--was rescued when she was pregnant.  The lady at the shelter told me they assumed the dad was an Australian Shepherd because of Penny's brothers' coats.  Penny was the plain one--the black runt who somehow missed out on all the pretty Aussie markings.  She was the last one left.  I had read that black dogs are the least likely to get adopted, so when they brought her out and she clumsily pranced right over to me and plopped down in my lap to stretch out and fall asleep, I knew I was in for it.  She was my dog, bad timing and all.

While I don't recommend forcing a puppy on your roommates, I wouldn't change a thing about when and how I adopted Penny.  Those three weeks went quickly, and a couple of my professors even let me bring her to class when I was afraid to leave her alone in the apartment (one ran out to his car and grabbed a bag of tennis balls and played fetch with her through his whole lecture--what a memory!).  Then I was home for two weeks for Christmas and New Years, and then I was in my new apartment in Fayetteville.  My period of unemployment taught me a lot of things, but it also gave me plenty of time to train Penny and get her comfortable going on long runs with me. We also bonded over the less glamorous parts of the job hunt, which pretty much means she sat on my lap and looked sad with me while I cried at every 20th application I filled out. Solid mother-daughter time.

Once I got a job, coming home to take Penny on a run was even better.  There is really nothing like coming home to an excited puppy, guys.  Although she's had a few less-than-impressive moments (she got in the habit of peeing on my bed and ON ME while I was lying in my bed every night for a couple of weeks--I thought I was going to kill her), I cannot imagine the last two years without my puppy girl.

^^Daniel and I laughed a lot at this photo, but she did so well at our engagement shoot!

A couple of months before we got married, Daniel and I began discussing the idea of getting another dog.  Penny LOVES dogs and gets obnoxiously excited when she sees them--chokes herself on the leash, pees on our feet, etc.  And she had only dog-child syndrome--she had to be in our faces ALL THE TIME. Plus, we obviously love dogs and were at the point where we felt like we could provide for another one.

We started paying more attention to the pups at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings--the Fayetteville Animal Shelter brings a party of them to the square every week.  We noticed Poesy right away--she was calmer than most of the others.  

About a week and a half before our wedding, I visited the shelter to put down an application and asked about their policy on holding dogs since we were going on our honeymoon right after the wedding.  They couldn't hold a dog for us, which is understandable.  They also said Poesy already had an approved application on her, so we should apply for another dog instead.  There was another pup we really loved, so that was easy.

We found out on our honeymoon that this particular dog was too young for our landlord to approve--he was younger than we thought.  BUT! Poesy's application fell through, and she was still available!  We got approved for her quickly--she's the same age as Penny to the month-- and ended up bringing baby girl number two home three days after we got back.

Although the adoption process was more complicated the second time around, watching Penny and Poesy follow each other around, wrestle, and go on morning runs together this past week has been so much fun.  Poesy is quite a bit bigger than Penny, so Daniel holds her leash. :)  The first couple of days were a little frustrating because I'm used to Penny, who has had basic commands down for a long time.  But after a week, Poesy already has SIT and SHAKE nailed down!  And it could have been so much worse--she was already potty-trained when we got her.

Taking care of the pups has made me a better person, I think.  Loving our girls without speaking the same language has taught me patience and forgiveness (It helps that they're so cute.). They also keep us active--it's hard to skip a day when they sit at the front door staring at us, waiting to be taken for a run or walk. I know I sound like a crazy dog lady, but you'd be the same way if you got to come home to this every day:

If you're thinking about adding a pet to the family, I 100% recommend adoption.  So many smart, adorable dogs and cats (never thought I'd call a cat adorable, but I'm trying to sell you on this, ha) spend entirely too much time cooped up in shelters when they could be adding to the personality of your home and your quality of life. 

To see where I found Penny and Poesy, visit Petfinder.


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