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Why I Won't Adopt Another Dog
I know that people talk about rescuing dogs if you simply want a pet. They don't feel a person should go out and purchase a dog when they want a companion. I know it probably sounds strange coming from a person who spent three years in high school volunteering at a shelter and actively helps find dogs a new home periodically if they happen to fall into my lap, but I thought about it for awhile and I realized why I have no wish to adopt a dog again. Why any time I look at dogs who need rescue I simply can't be moved.
She was the one.
After three years of heartbreak, sweat, tears and hours upon hours of helping animals try to find their forever home, I finally got to save one. I had been waiting all my life up until I was going to turn seventeen to bring home a dog. To finally bring home that dog who I found a connection with rather than notice they weren't in the kennels one day and hope that their ending was a happy one.
I will never forget the day that I was walking down the kennels with my little brother. We were there to choose a dog for him, since he was the youngest and I was going to head to college the next year. But as soon as I walked to her kennel and saw her little big paws go up on the mesh of the door, I fell to one knee and put my hand against her paws.
It was love at first sight.
No one ever doubted that she was my girl. From the moment she came into the house, I was the one who did her training. I spent my time playing with her, loving her. She was my everything. She was so smart. She had so much heart. If I was doing something, she wanted to be there. Even if it was something that physically was hard for her to do. She wouldn't leave my side. When we went hiking when I was younger, even if with bad hips there was more danger to her, she was right at my side when things were tough. She'd help me up hills, she would stay right in the water - which she loathed - at my side. If I asked her to try, she would try. She loved the whole family, she would keep herself positioned so she could hear us all if she needed us, but every morning she had to know I was okay.
It didn't matter that I went to college when she was only a year old. Any time that I came home it was obvious how devoted to me she was. Every time that I'd walk into that door, she would be right there. She always knew when it was me. She never barked at me. She would jump up, wrap herself around me, do crazy happy jumping circles. Nothing ever got her down.
She wasn't perfect, her body certainly wasn't perfect, but to me she was perfect.
She went through a hip being replaced, not letting it slow her down. In truth it only gave her wings to fly and she could move like she never had been able to before. It wasn't perfect. I was so lucky that the surgeons were so skilled that she had such a solid hip. I am convinced that it gave her the last three years that we had together. A total of eleven wonderful years would never be enough.
Truth is that losing her killed a part of me. She stole a large part of me when her breath left her lungs and she died peacefully in my arms, her failing body no longer a prison. I was broken. I couldn't stand up, I couldn't move. It was over. She was gone. And thinking about it, three years later, still tears a part of me up and I end up fighting tears as I sit here. I had been preparing to lose her for years, had everything that I wanted planned. Knew what I wanted for her, but it didn't matter.
When I moved out of my parents' house for good, I was looking for another dog. I knew that I needed to get another dog before I lost her, otherwise I was going to fall into darkness and not see a way out of it. I knew it deep within my heart that I had to have another dog, I had to have a reason to get up. To get going. To go out and find a way to move forward from her loss. I looked everywhere for months, looked at dogs from all kinds of avenues, but there was always a twist in my gut. Something felt wrong. I didn't feel like it was right. It took months before I saw the picture of a few little bundles of gold and found myself drawn back again and again.
Only a dog who really felt right could ever come in, could get my attention. And since I lost her, I have never felt that looking at shelter dogs, at rescue dogs. I felt moved when I saw Myles as a puppy. When I saw Leia stacked on a breeder's website right near me, right when I was looking into where I could find a white shepherd. And I looked for months at a certain lime collared puppy before I asked his breeder if she was going to have any shorter coated litters after the one she bred last August. I feel so right with my dogs. Each one of them has a special bond with me and they are exactly what I expected when I went to pick them up from their breeders.
So that's it. I can't see myself adopting another dog again. I never look at them and think to myself, that is it. I want that dog. It's like I'm apathetic toward their plight. For three years I worked every weekend and most of my summers to help the animals. To find them homes, to give them some time with somebody. I have many wonderful memories from that time. Many dogs who struck me deeply.
But after her, there will never be another shelter dog for me. She was the end to that era, she was the one I got to save.
And honestly. I'm perfectly okay with that.
I really don't know what to say. That was a beautiful yet sad yet moving story. If you were only meant to save that one, so be it. But you never know... Sometimes you think that's it but then whatever you have planned gets changed by higher powers. Thank you for saving her, loving her, and giving her the best possible life you could.
All I can say is this. My first dog was a white GSD and yours so reminded me of her. But this... she, in particular, and dogs that have come after her have given me the greatest gifts of love, connection, and partnership. Since her, I have always felt my duty and calling was to pay that forward in whatever what seemed appropriate. Never say never... it is not a useful thing.
Best to you.
You know what they say . . . Rescues are gateway dogs. Ask anyone, the heart of a purebred (or kinda purebred if you squint) rescue was the gateway to a huge percentage of people's breed loyalty. While discrimination in choosing a dog's source in regards to physical characteristics comes with knowledge and experience, heart dogs come when our soul needs them most and teach us the lessons and the love we need no matter the source. I rejoice that you had your heart dog and that you have had others share your life since. It's not where you get the dog that matters as much as what you do with it while in your keeping.
PS - my heart dog was a lovely blue merle Aussie named Quasar. He taught me to love. He was a shelter dog too. I was lucky he chose ME.
What a story and what a beautiful dog. I also believe that everyone of my dogs are mine for a reason and it was meant to be. I went to the shelter 11 years ago to turn in a rabbit, I wasn't looking for a dog, but I always go check them out. When I seen Misty there was a huge connection. She didn't take her eyes off me, no matter who came in there. I walked away but there was a nagging in my heart and 45 minutes later I had a dog. She is almost 10 now and we never lost that bond. I had that same connection with Midnite at the same shelter, it took me days to get him because of bad paperwork and mass confusion at the shelter, but I didn't stop. All my dogs mean the world to me. I could never rule out any one avenue for getting dogs, it kinda just happens and I go with it.
You did exactly the right thing's. "If you Love something you MUST be able to set it free." I agree, I am not the guy who goes to the pound, but I want to encourage other's to do so, in this respect, your story is sad, disconcerting and if it encourages other's to feel that their, "Broken Love for Rescued Animals" is going to torment them for the rest of thier lives, this story should not have been told, sorry to be so curt.
Stand up, dust yourself off, find a dog that gives you kisses and love, and share that love again and again, forever-more ! Your lost without the LOVE, not WITHOUT THAT DOG..
The love you make is equal toi the love you take ! Give it back, give it back. Here's a song for you. I'm trying as hard as I can !!!
It is a beautiful story but the only way to "protect" yourself from that kind of pain is to not have a dog?? Rescue or puppy it's always going to hurt when you lose one. :(
If you still want to help rescues, you can always consider fostering, there is always a need for fosters. That's how we got Rocky! A GSD was not even on the radar, I was a hard core Bully/Boxer guy. But there was "something" about this guy. We almost passed him on we heartbroken he was leaving. But the deal fell through! That was it he was off the market,he was staying with us! No regrets! :)
They say it is better to love and lose than to never love at all. I understand having part of you die, when they go though. They break our hearts. And yet, I think, they enlarge our hearts so much that when they break it, they leave it in better condition than it was in before we met them.
I am always saddened by people who allow the losing part of the relationship to so overshadow the whole experience that they choose to never get another dog.
It has been years since Arwen died. I think of her still daily. But I am not sad about her passing now. I am remember the good things about her life. I remember learning things with her. I have great memories.
I totally understand your pain. And I know that you feel the way you feel right now, and there is no way to know how long that will last. But I know something else too...someday, when the time is right, you will look into another pair of eyes and two hearts will lock together and that love will happen again...
When I was young I vowed to never have a small dog until.....the day I found a little raggedy Schnauzer mix pup on the street. The shelter was not open so he had to stay until then. But it didn't take an hour before we fell in love with the pup, hoping that no one would ever claim him. No one came and he was one of the funniest and best dogs we have ever owned He never needed training, was housebroken and didn't chew up anything. He followed us everywhere without sep. anxiety, was social and sweet. He stayed with us for 11 years and was the kid's childhood dog. That was about 30 years ago and we still talk about him. What if I had listened to my tunnel vision of not liking/owning a small dog?
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