My story is not as interesting or as heartbreaking as Lyn’s was. I wanted a dog and I had discovered the website Petfinder a while back. I’d been browsing through the dogs a couple of times, figuring that when the time was right, I would see one that I just had to have.
I remember being at my Grandma’ house, visiting, and we were looking at dogs on the website. I came across Shiloh’s picture, and somehow she just spoke to me. I wish there was another way to explain it to make you understand, but it was just one of those things that happen. I knew it was meant to be. I called the shelter (it was an hour and a half away!) and asked them if they still had her. The lady said yes, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it and get there during hours they were still open. She offered to keep the place open for me if I could come that day. So I did. I called Dan and told him what I was doing (he was not enthusiastic but he knew I wanted a dog–he wanted a much smaller dog and I have always been a fan of big dogs), and I got in the car and went.
When I got there, they had me wait in the front room while they went into the back to bring her to me. When she came out, she was emaciated and unhealthy looking but just as cute as her photo. She took no interest in me whatsoever, and I had always been told that if a dog ignores you to not bring it home! But I ignored those things I had been told and asked the lady if I could adopt her anyway. I filled out the paperwork and she was mine. Fate has a way of intervening because while I was in the building filling out paperwork to take her home, another woman called and left a message wanting to adopt her. I even remember saying to the volunteer,”Not gonna happen, lady! She’s mine!” They said goodbye to her, we got in the car and left.
I could have changed her name but I didn’t. It didn’t feel right. She knew it already, and even though I didn’t like it, it belonged to her.
She fell asleep in the car on the way home, and slept the entire way (now she hates car rides and whines and pants until she causes herself to pass out). That dog was exhausted. She knew she was going home. We got back to the apartment and I just lost it. The dog and I collapsed in each other’s arms on the floor and I started crying. All the emotions that I had been holding in for so long just frothed over and I couldn’t keep them back anymore. My grandma had cancer, I had just moved away from Florida back to Michigan (I hated it), my grandpa was sick with Dementia, and I was severely depressed. There is a part of me that truly believes I would not be here on Earth right now if it were not for Shiloh coming into my life when she did. She saved me and gave me something to be happy about again.
She has been with Dan and I since June 20th of 2006. We also celebrate this day as her birthday since we don’t know her actual birthday, and the shelter estimated her age at about one year when we adopted her.
I live for this dog. She’s the earth and I am just a satellite. She’s the center of my universe, and I don’t know what my life would be without her in it. Some days it is hard to picture the days before I had her in my life. I lived 26 years without her but the days that mean the most are the ones she was in. I don’t think I will ever love another animal like I love her ever again. I might have other pets, but there is always that one that changes you for the better. The thought of living someday without her just leaves me with a pain in my chest and shortness of breath. I don’t even want to think about it. She’s not just a dog to me. She is the kid I will never have. The one I do everything for, and I spoil the shit out of her.
This is why I get so angry when I see people mistreat animals or dump them at shelters. Do not bring a pet into your life if you don’t intend to give them everything you have. It is a LONG commitment for the duration of their lives. Don’t bring a dog into your life if you are not prepared to commit 15 years of spending, love, and responsibility. Anything else is just irresponsible and you deserve to get SHIT on if you treat an animal like anything less than royalty. Your pet has no one but you to keep them going. You have a whole world outside of that animal, but that animal only has YOU.
Kara: I never set out to make a preachy post, and I think I have accomplished that, but the point I want to get across is that, if you at all possibly can, PLEASE adopt from a shelter. If you saw the statistics, if you knew how many loving, sweet animals are put down in shelters daily, you would be shocked. You can find almost ANY breed you want in a shelter if you are willing to drive a little bit to adopt. There are Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Maine Coons, Persians, etc…whatever you want, you can find it in a shelter. You can even find BIRDS in a shelter. There are rescue groups as well. So please think about that when you choose to go to a breeder or a pet store. For every animal you purchase when you could be adopting, think of the animal that dies. This part is preachy, and I am sorry about that, but I need to get the reality out there. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now. And I am glad it is off my chest. Adopt and SAVE A LIFE.
Lyn: Kara summed it up nicely – please adopt. I found a cat through a rescue group, and he was the best cat ever. You can find rabbits, snakes, horses, lizards – ANY ANIMAL – through a shelter or a rescue group.
As a former vet assistant, I also want to encourage people to spay and neuter pets, and bring awareness to pet insurance. Check with your own insurance companies as well to see if they provide it – most places are starting to pick up on the trend.