"What characteristics are you looking for?" she asked us. "Umm, warm brown eyes,” we responded. "Loyal, friendly, likes to have a good time and play, not too big...and hypo-allergenic.”
No, this isn’t the beginning of some creepy dating profile story, but it is the beginning of a different tail. My boyfriend Jason and I are dog lovers. We’ve grown up with dogs in our homes and our parents still own dogs. We’d agreed over the past few years that having our own dog was something we definitely wanted, but like kids, not anytime soon. We dog sat from time-to-time and that had been enough of a dog fix.
But things have changed.
We recently lost a family pet in a tragic accident. Losing a loved pet is obviously heartbreaking and I personally had a really hard time with it. Not that a new dog would replace the old, but it could help. Also, Jason is able to work from home occasionally and could care for the dog and help get him or her accustomed to living with us. And with warmer weather on the horizon, the act of dog walking just doesn’t seem as daunting! Finally, my parents agreed to dog-sit whenever we head out of town this summer.
We agreed we wanted to adopt a dog from one of the local shelters. I’m allergic to cats and some non-hypo-allergenic dogs, but after perusing some of the pet shelter websites it appeared as though there were options for us out there. We went into the experience cautiously optimistic that we’d find the right fit for our family.
Well, we were wrong—doggie dating is hard.
The first guy we saw, Auggie, I really liked, but Jason wasn’t as big of a fan. The dog was only nine months old and very cute and small and he wagged his tail at us and sat, but that’s about all he did. The people at PAWS had nicknamed him “little old man,” and suggested he might be a better fit for a blue-haired lady than a young couple. Strike one.
Our second choice, Hermann, was a big hit with Jason, but my nose wasn’t as impressed. He was part schnauzer— not so hypo-friendly— but he was very cute, seemed to really like us and had that combination of just enough energy to run around and play and be a lap dog living in a city condo. I’d all but agreed to go permanently on allergy medication and buy special, super expensive hypo-allergenic doggie shampoo, when one of the PAWS attendants checked Hermann’s file and announced we couldn’t have him. Turned out he’d been returned the night before because city living just wasn’t for Hermann— he got too anxious in the apartment from all the city sounds and tried to attack other dogs on the street. Strike two.
At this point, we were feeling pretty defeated, but decided to give it one more shot and headed over to the Anti-Cruelty Society. There we met Jessie, an adorable poodle, badly in need of a good grooming and a diet. Jessie had recently arrived at the shelter— her owners no longer could care for her— and she was clearly anxious and afraid and feeling abandoned. Poor girl. We took her for a walk and while she liked my boyfriend, she was afraid of everyone else, including me. Strike three.
Three strikes and we were out. I was sneezy and itchy and feeling defeated. We really want to adopt— even with my difficult requirements— and we are gonna keep trying. Fellow Oy!sters, any advice? Have any of you had trouble finding the right fit for you? What should we do? What did you do?
Tail to be continued…