Well I also mentioned a new family member in my title. For the past few months I've been thinking about adding a mutt to our familia. My husband just recorded a demo and I feel that if his music led him to doing tours or being away from home I'd want a doggy friend to help me feel a little more secure. They're one of the best security for your home. Most intruders do NOT want to be bit by a dog. Go figure!
Okay so fast forward to about two weeks ago. I finally decided we WERE going to get a dog. My husband was like a child when I told him. Before this I had been telling him we were never getting a dog again. I hate the potty training, hate the slobber and fur everywhere. In the past we just kind of took in the first dog that came our way. This time I wanted to be VERY selective and find the dog that would fit in with OUR family; not every dog is meant for every family. They are unique and have different personalities. Some clash and some don't!
So we went three different places. The first place I had some interest in a dog but they wouldn't let us adopt any dog over 6 months old. Some stupid rule about only adopting puppies to families with small children because it is safer. I'm sorry but a puppy nipping and jumping on my kids is NOT safer than an older dog who has gone through obedience training and is over their jumping/nipping stage.
Forget that place! Okay so the second place I found a beautiful American Bulldog/Sheepdog mix but boy was she hairy (remember my fur issue with dogs). She was also incredibly large. I wanted a medium-sized dog so the search continued... and can I just admit that I felt horrible for visiting with all of these dogs and then having to have the volunteer return them to their cage. I felt super guilty that they had to stay at the shelter. The shelters were really nice so the dogs weren't hurting. They get a lot of attention, walks, etc. but I'm sure they're just thinking, "Please take ME home!"
The third place was the charm. I was incredibly impressed with the facility though I did step in something wet at one point, in flip flops no less, and I don't know if it was water or pee. We got a few dogs out, one at a time, to meet. Some dogs were not interested in us whatsoever. We finally asked for the dog that had been #1 on our list. We didn't want to get our hopes up. BUT Daniel felt she was the one before we even arrived without telling me that. I didn't tell Daniel but I felt the same way. That really confirmed things for us later when we admitted to one another that we thought Sam was the one...
Meet Sam! She is a German Shepherd/Chinese Shar-Pei mix. She is a lot smaller than she appears in this picture. She probably comes to about or a little above my knees. She is 4 years old, potty-trained, housebroken, crate-trained (we only put her in there for bedtime and if we're gone) and isn't obnoxiously hyper. Oh and if you notice her short fur then you'll know I'm happy she won't be making me vacuum every other hour.
I actually think she is a little depressed. We're taking her to the vet this morning for her post-adoptive exam and will ask about doggy depression. Her family had her for a year before returning her to the shelter. She is a very sweet, quiet dog (though she does bark if I tell her "Speak!" or if she sees people/dogs out the window). She just started eating last night and we've had her for about 5 days now.
When she was brought out to meet us at the shelter Daniel and I both immediately knew she was the one. She was just so pitiful and sad, too! Daniel and I didn't even have to say anything to each other. We met a dog or two after Sam but our hearts were left with Sam. We just went up to the counter and said we were adopting Sam. I told Sam she was going to her forever home and we signed the paperwork, forked over a small fortune and she was ours! We got to take her home the same day as she was already spayed. We also got her micro-chipped.
We're very blessed with Sam. We feel great peace with our decision and are incredibly excited about having her in our home! I was so hesitant to get another dog because of bad experiences in the past but I know we made the right choice and by being selective we found the dog that was meant for us. She has become more than just security for me when my husband is gone. She is my newest baby that I love to cuddle with and dote attention on.
Any helpful tips on dog depression and on helping heal her heart would be fantastic! And also feel free to ask me any questions about Sam and her transition to our home!
I strongly recommend adopting from a shelter if you are thinking of getting a cat or dog (or even a bird or other small pet like a bunny). And an older pet doesn't mean they're less desirable. We're very happy we chose a smaller, somewhat older dog compared to dog pets we've had in the past. We also enjoyed getting to hear about all the dogs and the shelters really knew if they were compatible with children and other pets (Sam's profile said she got along with cats, for instance. So she and Beckett have been getting to know one another slowly but surely).
Don't support breeding and puppy mills. Adopt from a no-kill or foster shelter. You can find foster programs and shelters in your area by using the search engine at Pet Finder. By adopting from a shelter or foster program you are providing them the necessary funds to adopt from kill shelters. Many of the pets at the shelters we visited were on "death row" at Animal Control. You can also support local shelters by becoming a foster family (where pets stay with you until they are adopted; this usually means you potty train and housebreak them as well as teach them basic commands). If you can't foster you can show support by donating money to your local shelters so they can provide medical treatment, food, water, toys, etc. to their furry friends.
***Picture of Sam is courtesy of Wayside Waifs***