This is my story of dog adoption,
A few weeks ago I had a fortunate thought.
“I think I am ready for a dog.”
Having grown up with dogs I have always known there would be more in my future, but I just didn’t know when. I knew while living in an apartment it wouldn’t be ideal for a little pup and having a full load of classes wouldn’t leave me much time to play with one. So wait….. I did.
And then a few weeks ago I was sitting at a brewery with my boyfriend when I saw the PAWS Adoption truck in the parking lot. It was an adoption event. I walked over and sat before all the dogs and scratched all of their heads. I pondered the idea of whether or not I could take care of them, if I could be a good Mom to a Dog.
I left the brewery feeling like I was ready to begin the search. With job interviews lined up and graduation in less than a month I figured it would be a great companion to take with me into the next chapter of my life. I started looking on the shelter websites and taking silly online quizzes to help decipher which dog was right for me. When Ta-Da the Labrador proved to be my running, fetching, goofy perfect match. I researched and decided that the Chocolate ones were my favorite but normally if available over $400. Chocolate labs are expensive and hard to find so I decided black would be just fine too! That next Sunday I went to Austin and visited two huge shelters. All full of cute, but sad looking pups ready for someone to bring them home. Just getting a feel for the adoption world I held off on actually deciding on one.
Another two weeks later I was still over come with this feeling that there was a pup out there waiting for me. I couldn’t close my eyes at night without replaying scenes of shelters and wondering where my little girl was out there. I connected with a couple in Austin that day but since they are a “no kill” city they were asking upwards of $200 for little labs. So I had to move on. Knowing that I would need just that much to afford the dogs first few vet visits and supplies.
A week later now only a couple weeks away from graduation I saw that I had a random Wednesday off from work. The night before I prepared a list of dogs in all the shelters in San Antonio that I could find and amped myself up to bring home a Dog. I woke up and drove to the first shelter which turned out to be a medical facility for dogs….(bad idea) I left that shelter immediately. Then I drove to ACS and San Antonio Pets Alive (which took three times the amount of time to find then it should have…San Antonio is confusing…but I digress) I walked into this huge pavilion, there were dogs in crates outside and dogs in shelter rooms inside. So I walked through each shelter room. Each full of friendly looking depressed animals…my heart was aching. I remember constantly holding my hand over my heart like I could somehow keep the sadness out if I just covered my chest. I read all the charts for the labs but they were all boys…cute boys but I knew I needed a girl.
I asked a volunteer where to go for more and she pointed me across the pavilion to the “San Antonio Pets Alive” side of the yard. I walked over and immediately saw 20 dogs lined up in crates. I asked the volunteer why they were outside and she said because they were on the “Euthanization List” for that day. She told me everyday ACS put out a list of dogs to be put to sleep and they ran over and got them and promoted them online as much as they could. She said they try there best to get the dogs publicity before they are put down at 5. My jaw dropped as I realized San Antonio was a kill city and tears began to fill my eyes. I held them back and tried to play it cool as the volunteer explained that there were more dogs inside and if I decide to adopt one from inside a dog outside could go inside. And once they are inside they are safe for life. I found my way inside their shelter room and walked around the dogs, all very cute, sad looking pups ready for a better life. But again all were mainly boys, boys or pit bull mixes, which are still cute but not the lab mix I was looking for. So I walked back outside and walked along the cages talking to each dog and petting there heads. Trying not to cry to much because I realized that may be the last time they get their head scratched.
Two crates from the head of the line was a sweet shy little puppy shivering and hiding behind a bigger dog. She was chocolate colored with these radiant green eyes. I couldn’t believe the first dog I had wanted, a chocolate lab was there before me. I asked the volunteer if I could get her out and she said yes. I opened the door and tried to get her to come but she was stone cold scared in place. I grabbed her and helped her out as she dragged her paws and butt to stop me. I pet her head as she shook in my arms and I knew that this little chocolate lab was mine to save that day. She had been picked up the night before on a street a few miles away and thrown into the Euthanized list because they thought she was to feral and shy to be adopted. I signed the papers and handed over $25 for my little girl. $25 because she was going down that day. They took her to the clinic immediately to be spayed so I wouldn’t have to return to San Antonio again to pick her up the next day. So grateful they got her into surgery the same day. I did not want to come back. They gave me a whole crate of containers of treats and I sat on a bench for three hours and waited for her to be out of medical. (Those three hours were full of way too much doggie sadness for one person, word to the wise, don’t ever wait at a shelter…..leave, go somewhere else and then come back.) Around 4:30 they brought her out, sedated and in a daze I carefully laid her in my car. We drove back to San Marcos and I carried her inside and laid her right in her new crate I had set up for her.
I named her Murphy a couple days later and approached her slowly, petting her, holding her when possible, feeding her through my own hands and giving her a blanket of mine to sleep on. I was patient with her as she would run away from me and tried to love on her as much as I could while she healed from surgery. It has now been almost two weeks since I adopted murphy and she is 100% not a shy pup anymore. No more shaking, and crying, scared of the outside world. Instead now she wags her tail, wiggles her butt, eats like a queen and loves her Mom! She licks me and runs around and every time she has my grinning from ear to ear. It’s amazing to see a scared terrified dog open back up. It’s crazy what one week of love can do for a puppy. Her tick scars have already healed and her skin has changed drastically from scratchy and course to soft. A little food, water, treats and love goes along way.
This is just my story, I know that every person that has decided to rescue a dog has a beautiful story of their own. If you or anyone you know is thinking about getting a dog, encourage them to visit a shelter and give a dog a better life. Rescue a dog from the life they were forced into and let them show you a side of love you’ve never felt. The transformation you help a dog have from being shy and scared into a tail wagging, butt wiggling, pup is truly amazing and a transformation I will never forget. I know every time I see her run with her tongue hanging out, play, and swim in the river my heart will fill all over again with Proud Puppy Mommy feelings!
Happy Puppy Mom,