Is the Timing Right to Adopt a Rescue Dog?
A key to any successful dog adoption is timing.
When Marina’s health took a turn for the worse in November 2016, I was mourning the unexpected death of my brother two weeks earlier.
Having to make the brutally difficult decision to help free Marina from her pain just about broke me. We knew it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t the first time we’ve had to make that decision, but it never gets easier.
After that, I felt numb and knew I needed time to heal.
The following May, I received approval for a total hip replacement. Like some of my previous companions, I have bilateral hip dysplasia. The surgery on my right hip took place in August 2017. The surgery and recovery exceeded my expectation.
It was during my physical healing that the first twinges of the search for a new companion started. My body still needed to recover, but my heart was getting closer.
My husband stayed home with me during the first week of surgery. I felt good about where I was in the process by the time he went back to work. Accepting help from others isn’t one of my strong points – something I’m working on.
There were humbling moments along the way like getting used to using a walker while making three trips to get coffee, yogurt and fruit, to the table.
This was when I missed Marina’s companionship the most. When she entered her golden years, she laid by my side while I wrote. Her presence was always calm and soothing. As soon as I could sit longer than 15 or 20 minutes, I was looking through dog rescue sites.
It wasn’t until November 2017 that the timing felt right to move from looking at companions online to meeting them. My birthday was just around the corner when I booked an appointment with The Barking Lot (TBL) to view potential companions.
Two things in particular I like about The Barking Lot is that they make home inspections before you meet any dogs. If you pass the home inspection, you’ll schedule an appointment to meet potential matches. The beauty of this is the ability to leave with your new companion on the same day.
For rescue groups, this weeds out people that may not be the best fit and attracts people that understand the process, time, and commitment required for success. Rescue organizations like TBL work hard to make sure they’re putting dogs into the best environment possible when they’re adopted. To stay around and find forever homes for dogs in need, they have to run a tight ship.
The application, interview and inspections can be a turnoff for people that in the past may have walked into a local shelter paid a $40. fee and left with a pet. I’ve always been an advocate of saving a life, however it happens.
For our family, adopting through a rescue organization has been the first choice. The organizations we’ve worked with have always given us valuable insight about the companions we were considering. When they were young, they took into consideration the ages and activities of our children and how it might impact a particular dog’s temperament. Now that our children are adults, the suggestions for a good fit are based on our lifestyle.
When we adopted Petey, we forged a bond with the wonderful people from Forte Animal Rescue. We’ve stayed in touch over the years, even after Petey’s passing. I’m sure it will be the same with TBL.
It’s that level of caring and commitment that creates success stories. It brings absolute joy to create a safe space that allows your companion to flourish.
Yes, it’s hard work and a commitment and it’s a lot easier when you know that it’s the right time in your life to do it.
I’d love to hear your success stories – leave us a comment below.
I know I’ve been MIA, it’s been an intense six months. I miss my Petey Boy, and hold on to the fact that we gave him a great life after such a rough start. As a reminder, we didn’t lose him to IMHA, so if your fur kid is battling, there is hope. It’s a challenging road but a long happy life is possible.
This post is to help out Koda’s Mom. I’ve been there and know how helpless IMHA makes you feel. It’s a roller-coaster, but knowing that there are success stories, help us get through a lot. Whether it’s through donation, sharing her link, or offering support and success stories, I know your help will be appreciated.
Marina is adjusting to being single, and is letting her playful side show again. She’s enjoying the extra attention and even tolerates me brushing her endlessly shedding coat.
Wishing you all Success Stories.
We Love you Petey
I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner
It is with great sadness that I let you know of the passing of our dear, sweet Petey. Many of you started following this blog because of his battle with IMHA, and it’s similarities to Evan’s.
It was not IMHA that took him, rather his tired body, and our desire to always return his unconditional love . For this reason, we made the most painful, yet responsible decision when it became clear that his qualty of life would no longer be what he deserved to have. Because we loved him, we did not want to subject him to a life of pain from advanced osteoarthritis and a now fragile and unforgiving body. We are heartbroken over the loss, but better for having had his love in our lives.
We cannot thank Dr. Peter Slusser and the amazing team at VCA Animal Group for their outstanding care. It is because of their care and compassion that Petey pulled through his bout with IMHA. I give them my highest reommendation, and my utmost respect. If you know me, you know that is not something I give easily. Thank you Dr. Christine Wilson for referring us to Dr. Slusser.
Our entire family would also like to thank Dr. Kristi Freeman, who, through her kindness, compassion, and dedication to animal companions, allowed Petey’s final moments to be filled with love and peace. Without a doubt, Petey’s second chance at life would not have been possible without Forte Animal Rescue and it’s volunteers Raquel Magro and Diane, who quietly work behind the scenes to create forever homes. It’s because of them, that the unwanted, forgotten and abused come into the lives of those lucky enough to be chosen to be their forever caretakers.
Following is an excerpt of my letter thanking Marie Atake, founder of Forte and volunteers Raquel and Diane for all they do. They are my heroes and I am eternally grateful to them for introducing me to Petey and allowing us the honor of caring for him for the last eight years. We love you Petey, we will miss you, and you will forever live in our hearts. Goodnight my dear “Sweety Petey.”
Thank you for sending Petey your thoughts and prayers today. During a most difficult time, Dr. Kristi Freeman helped us give Petey the best farewell he could have possibly had. She is the kindest, gentlest person you could imagine and Petey took to her immediately, she even won Marina over and she is much tougher to win over.
Since we were at home, Petey was very comfortable and had all of us around him. He was given a deep sedative/anesthetic and you could tell when he became pain-free, there was such a sense of peace. He was awake with us long enough to experience the relief of pain and know without a doubt that he was very loved. That love is the last thing that he was aware of. When he was in the deepest sleep, Dr. Freeman gave him the second injection and he was very peacefully released from his tired body. All I sensed, in every moment, was peace. It was the best one could hope for at such a difficult time, and the best send-off our dear friend could have had.
His ashes will be back to us in a week or so, his love will never leave us. After some time at home today, we went to the ocean, it’s the place where Eddie and I both feel the most connected to the universe. As we were walking towards the sand, the very first thing we encountered was someone walking a big pointy-eared dog and the second thing we encountered was a man walking a dog who could have been Petey’s twin, big ears and all. It made my heart feel good to see him running. Maybe it’s just to make myself feel better, but I liked to see it as a sign that our Petey boy was free and happy again. They were the only dogs we saw our entire time there.
And so it goes, our hearts break, but they are a little bigger for having had such a wonderful companion in our lives. Thank you both for all you do and thank you for giving us the opportunity to have Petey and his unconditional love in our lives.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to experience the companionship of a dog, it’s almost certain that at one time or another, they’ve been there to comfort you through a difficult time. Maybe it was a bad day, a break-up, or on a much larger scale, the death of a loved one.
This post was inspired by the recent loss of a friend and mentor, who also happened to love dogs. During his illness his companion, a rescue, provided countless hours of comfort not only to him but also his wife. After his passing, their companion continues to help his wife through the grieving process.
At times, my own companions have been the only ones that have witnessed my tears and felt the depth of my grief. They allow me to sit and cry without apology or need for comfort. Their presence offers more support than any words can possibly give. They sense the pain and gently stay by my side. They ask nothing, and they give everything in return – themselves, their love, and their loyalty. Even now, as my grief ebbs and flows, they seem to know just the right time to sit with me and just “be”.
During WWII, a tiny Yorkie named “Smoky” became the first documented therapy dog. Since then, therapy dogs have been used in many settings with a notable increase in funeral homes to offer comfort to those mourning their loved ones. As Petey and Marina sit by my side and offer unspoken support, I look at them and wonder who is rescuing whom.