Saturday, August 22, 2009

All Things for a Reason

At the time, I didn't anguish here - or at least not too much. I did anguish privately to several select friends...but now that a month has passed I recognize that all things truly do happen for a reason.

When my Oldtimer and I decided it was time to add a dog to our household, a large part of our reasoning was that Murphy, who had been brought into a household with two other dogs when he was just 8 weeks old, was going to be lonesome. Not only did we miss the youth and vitality of a younger dog, we reasoned, Murphy too needed a pet.

We went looking - at a shelter of course. As it happened, it was one of the shelters that participates in the program I manage. Now, before I get into the details let me tell you, we think we are pretty good pet parents. Before our move from Minneapolis to North Carolina, the dog fence was installed and ready the day we arrived. Before my move to Ohio from North Carolina, the (invisible) dog fence was scheduled. Our dogs have always been on the receiving end of the first home improvement we make.

Further witness to our (we thought) good dog parenting - the huge stack of receipts from the veterinarian. As our pets aged, their issues mounted, and we never neglected them. Our home is pet friendly, our vacations and visits are orchestrated around their needs, and between us we have nearly 100 years of pet ownership of 13 dogs.

We presented ourselves to the shelter, survey completed, and before we even viewed a pet, we were interviewed. I wasn't concerned, as I felt not only qualified on the basis of the physical needs, but also the emotional needs of a pet. Imagine my surprise when we were declined! Without going into the gory details, let's just say that we didn't see eye-to-eye with the counselor on crating being the ONLY way to train an animal, the need to be outside with your pet EVERY MOMENT the pet is out, even with a fence, etc.

I was heartbroken, depressed, and doing a great deal of self-analysis about my parenting skills. My Oldtimer was angry - and hurt for me. This resulted in a visit to a different shelter, where there were no dogs that suited us, and then we even went so far as to visit (loud GASP) a pet store, to look at puppies. I couldn't do it.

But here's the reason why:
What a face, huh? She was waiting for us at yet another shelter. Fortunately, this shelter had slightly different screening standards, but they did meet with us extensively, and required that we come back the next day with Murphy for a meet and greet. Murphy was a little grumbly at first (Molly is very eager) but we knew the good nature of our sweet big boy, and the counselor trusted that we truly knew our dog. We think this picture says it all:
Molly loves it here. She is our faithful and constant companion. I keep telling my Oldtimer that we should have named her Shadow!
She has good taste, and is willing to share.
Although when it comes to a DQ Pup Cup, we think it best to get one for each (I don't like sharing MY DQ, either).
Another trait shared by Molly and Murphy - the lack of desire to play in the water. I've never seen such a thing.
Cosmo now tolerates Molly's enthusiasm, and has even been seen rubbing on her chin!
Molly and Murphy nap and stretch together (although I can't help but wonder if this is a statement on his occasional bouts with gas):
All in all, we had to take a little rejection because the right dog was waiting for us elsewhere. Like our Como dog, Molly is enthusiastic, a trait that caused her to also have been adopted, then rejected and returned to the shelter. I have this theory that rescued dogs know they've been rescued, and are ever so grateful for their new lives. Molly has just a couple of fears, the most visible being the fear of sticks. When I pulled out a yardstick to fish a dropped pill out from under the freezer, she ran and cowered. I think we know how she was treated in the not-so-distant past. That won't happen to her here. Thank goodness she doesn't fear thunderstorms, and will be able to continue our tradition of sitting on the front porch during the big boomers.

And a happy ending note: Though it took me several days to do so, I finally wrote (and re-wrote, and re-wrote) an email to the director of the shelter that rejected us. Though I didn't want to pull rank as a person who filters money in their direction, I did want her to know of my concern over the treatment of other seniors who might wish to adopt from that shelter. We ended up on a conference call, where I found an open, warm, and appreciative woman, trying to run a shelter on a shoestring budget with staff who had been trained under a different regime. I'm happy to continue their participation in our program, and we are working together to get a more accurate screening tool drafted. All's well that ends well!


Jennifer Rose said...

love the picture or the two of them sleeping :)

glad to read that the shelter is trying to change their adoption process, hate to think how many good people were turned away and how many dogs suffered because of it :/

JudiA said...

I can't tell you how happy I am that you shared this story. The photos tell a wonderful story in themselves (Molly MUST be special if she can bring Cosmo around!) and the fact that you had the grace and courage to go back and clear things up with the people in that first shelter... you have a lot of class.

joggerellablog said...

Hi Sue, Even though I have never met you, your love for animals...well, I just know you wear that love on your sleeve. And, I had to laugh out loud at the two dogs "dissing" the water!

Debra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra said...

Your sweet Molly is just a doll. What a face! It's clear that she belongs in your home. I love the pictures of her and Murphy! I'm so glad to hear that you notified the rescue org of your treatment so that the woman in charge can make some necessary changes.

Bear said...

oh Sue that pic of the 2 of them sleeping its so together but apart isnt it??
I am so happy all worked out for the best and that you did have a word with the first shelter lets face it Sue they didnt treat you or the shelter dogs fairly did they??
oh well as you say alls well and welcome Molly she is a treasure
love n hugs bear xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Sue, I'm very touched by your story and so glad you found the right dog at the end of your journey. I adopted two shelter dogs this year, 6 months apart. Even though I have known the director of one of the shelters for over 20 years, they put me through the entire process as if I was a stranger. Your story sounds like it has as happy an ending as mine. More saved precious lives. Everyone wins! Congratulations. Janene