Adopting a dog was something I’ve long wanted to do, even as a poor college student. I grew up with dogs around the house and learned quickly to love their furry companionship, as well as their ability to eat all the weird green and mushroom-y foods I occasionally slipped to them under the table when my parents weren’t looking.
After I graduated and started working as a full-time, degree-holding adult, I began regularly perusing local animal shelter and dog rescue websites for candidates. I couldn’t handle the time commitment and training required by a puppy, and I knew I wanted a big dog. A really big dog who would let me cuddle with him.
So one rainy Saturday morning Matt and I, armed with a printed list of dogs to meet, headed to the local county animal shelter. Most of the dogs, only let out once per day, had urinated or were sitting in their own feces in their little cages. There were several senior black labs who looked excruciatingly depressed. They watched you listlessly as you walked by, no acknowledgement. One puppy was so young he still had the roly-poly stomach of all baby mammals and kept falling over onto himself as a result. He had attracted a group of children who were cooing from the outside of his cage.
Matt and I sat with several dogs. The shelter allows you to go into any of the cages, but you have to stay inside to interact with the dog, and between each visit you are required to change your latex gloves and paper gown. Then, we came upon Abraham.
Abe is a 75-80 lb. lab/hound/German shepherd/mystery mix with a ginormous head and strangely dainty paws. He has a VERY loud bark. Abe was standing on just his hind legs, his front claws grasping at the wire of the cage door, making him almost my height, barking desperately, showing each passerby his long, sparkly, very sharp teeth. Naturally, I made Matt go in first.
With a human cage companion, Abe immediately relaxed. I asked him to sit. He did. I asked him to shake. He placed a little dainty paw in my hand. The shelter’s description said he was “independent” and already house-trained.
Matt and I headed to the front desk and I told the receptionist I’d be back in a day or so for Abraham. “Oh,” she said, “someone just called this morning about coming by today to adopt him. If you really want him, you should adopt him now.”
And so, owning zilch in the way of dog supplies (you know, like food, a leash, a crate…), I signed some papers and walked out of the shelter with a dog named Abe.
Since that day, Abe and I have been on many adventures. He’s been to the beaches of North Carolina, the mountains of Kentucky and West Virginia, and, of course, on our crazy cross-country trip out to Wyoming.
And so, without further adoption ado, I bring you:
You Know You Have a Dog When…
- Your dryer’s lint trap is 55% fur, 45% lint.
- You forget your friend is allergic to dogs until you’re driving them home and they become increasingly unable to breathe unless the windows are rolled down (sorry, Ross).
- Your mom asks to Skype with you and the first thing she says is, “Where’s the puppy?”
- You’ve learned to put away food/things that smell like food after use, and quickly.
- Dog booties research becomes a serious, hours-long endeavor. No? Just me?
- You’re more in-tune with your dog’s bodily functions than your own. “Oh, he probably has to pee now. Wait, when was the last time I ate something?”
- “I can’t – I have to walk my dog,” becomes a legitimate way to get out of things, like happy hour, and real exercise.
- Your morning routine is mostly your dog’s morning routine. (Breakfast!!!)
- If you see a dog in an indoor establishment, you have immediate love and respect for the manager. Kudos, good people!
- You just really, really love all dogs. And the people who take care of them.
Love to all!