Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Forever Home / Rescue Me

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month - did you know that?  Me neither, but it's the perfect excuse to tell you more about Charlie, how we came to have him, and the amazing joy that he has brought to our lives.


My parents bought an eight week old yellow Labrador from a breeder when I was nine; for 13 years, Snickers was the best companion a girl could want.  I've known for a while that I wanted to get my own dog as soon as I responsibly could and so, with Mom and Dad's approval, I started looking into Lab Rescue when I realized I'd be moving back to DC.  Why Lab Rescue, you ask?  Well, first of all, I was realistic about my ability to properly care for and train a puppy.  I wanted a dog that was housebroken and that could be left alone for a few hours a day without destroying everything in reach.  Second, buying a purebred lab from a breeder would be prohibitively expensive.  And third - most importantly, actually - I knew that there were dozens of wonderful dogs in my area who were desperate for loving forever homes.

We don't know what Charlie's life was like before we adopted him in July.  Based on the records we have, we think that we're his fifth home - he had his first owners, and then he was in a shelter, and then he stayed in a vet's kennels, and then he was fostered with Lab Rescue.  He doesn't seem to have been abused in any way; he must just not have been wanted.  (Or, possibly, his owners were unable to care for him appropriately and so gave him up, but then he probably wouldn't have gotten to the shelter in the first place, so who knows.)  Gesci, who has adopted two dogs, told me recently that her husband's argument against adopting an adult dog is that you miss out on formative months and years, which I understand, but I think that it's also exactly the argument for adopting an adult dog.  Rescues probably haven't had the best of experiences, and it's a blessing to be able to give them a loving forever home.


And, equally, it's a blessing to be a forever home.  It's only been a few months, but I can't remember a time before we had Charlie and he's in every vision I have of my future.  I could describe how my heart glows when Charlie wakes me up with snuffles and kisses in the morning or how I get butterflies when I hear him running down the stairs to greet me when I come home from work in the afternoon.  I could go on about how he stretches when he's happy or how he dances in a circle of excitement when he sees his leash or how he looks optimistically at each tree just in case there's a squirrel.  I could tell you about how I'm mentally decorating the apartment I'll share with Jon to be Charlie-friendly or about how I can't wait until we're one of those couples that goes jogging with a leash and a stroller.  But you've seen my Instagram feed and you've read my tweets, so you know.  I won't overload you with more gushing.  What I will close on, though, is this: please think about adopting a shelter dog.  If you're considering getting a pet, remember the thousands of animals across the country in need of love and care.  And ask yourself if you could be a forever home.

25 comments:

  1. This is so sweet. I feel the exact same way about my shelter dog - my heart literally glows. I also like to say that I can tell you with 100% certainty that I've smiled every single day since I brought my puppy home!

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  2. Charlie is such a lucky little dog!

    Alex and I both agreed on getting a rescue dog as soon as the time is right!

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  3. I completely agree - both my previous cats were from shelters! I definitely want to have more pets when we are able to (and not in a London flat!) and I will always consider shelters. Charlie is so cute and I miss having a pet so much!

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  4. I love that you posted Charlie's story. He sounds like such a great dog. Reminds me that I've never told Brady's "story" on my blog! He is technically a shelter dog, but he never even stepped foot inside! I'll have to explain...

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  5. me too :) and you CAN rescue puppies, if you want that experience. I'm so glad you did!

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  6. haha sometimes my mom and I ask each other if Charlie thinks he's lucky - but then we agree that Charlie knows he deserves to be smooshed and squished so he's like, "well, of course this is how things have worked out!"

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  7. aw yay - can't wait until you're in a situation where you can adopt! you can put photos of Charlie around your flat if you need a quick fix :)

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  8. he is the best! I can't imagine a world where we adopted another dog - we were just meant to have him, you know? looking forward to reading your/Brady's story!

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  9. What a great picture of you two!

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  10. thanks! wish I could share more from the shoot... great photographer, but less-than-flattering dress, it seems :(

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  11. Her Late Night CravingsOctober 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Betsy - These photos of you two just bring tears to our eyes. Charlie's a lucky boy and you are lucky to have found him. I adopted a 3 year old Boxer from a family that didn't want him anymore (long story there) and never once felt like I missed out on him being a puppy. Yes, I would have loved to have seen him when he was little but he came into my life and heart as if he had always been there. I just love Barkley so much as you do Charlie. :-)


    Jayme @ HLNC

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  12. we are so lucky to have each other, for sure! you phrase it so well - he's always been in our lives and hearts. we just didn't know it :) much love to you and Barkley!

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  13. There is nothing like the bond that can happen between a dog and his or her human. It's one of life's greatest blessings. If you can open your heart to a dog and care for it properly your life is forever better. I am so glad that I have had wonderful dogs in my life and that I continue to have wonderful dogs in my life now. Charlie's cousins send their love to him!

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  14. i didn't know that october was adopt a shelter dog month, what a great thing to bring attention to shelter dogs. we bought our first dog and my husband and i said every dog after that we would adopt and we will keep it that way :-)

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  15. You brought tears to my eyes- seriously, you are my kind of person. And Charlie's my kind of person, too. I'm so glad you found each other, and I love, love, love this post!! Adoption really is rewarding and so life-affirming- for the humans even more so than for the dogs.
    Excuse me, I have three lung-squeezing hugs to give.


    P.S. That picture is ADORABLE. I want to see more!!!

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  16. and he says hi to them, too! Charlie needs a little Ellen discipline at the moment... haha :)

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  17. yay! so glad to hear it. the only danger is that once you know about the amazing dogs waiting for their forever homes, you want to adopt them all!

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  18. we are the same kind of people! I squished Charlie a lot while writing this :)

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  19. Betsy, I'm so very happy that you adopted Charlie. :) I know you are providing him with a fantastic home, and I love that I can continue to see your journey with him through your blog, facebook, and hopefully more play dates! Thank you so much for bringing that big goofball into your world and sharing your heart with him.

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  20. GUYS, THIS WAS CHARLIE'S FOSTER MOM! thanks, Katie - you helped complete us.

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  21. your love for charlie makes me smile. my family adopts shelter dogs, & as my mom always says, 'pound puppies are the best.' i know what you mean about being a forever home - it is something that is close to my my heart - & my family's.

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  22. The pictures of you and Charlie are just adorable! I agree - words cannot express how happy my dog makes me. What a wonderful post and a testiment to adopting a shelter dog.

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  23. so pretty :)




    styleof-living.com

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  24. Just to clarify, Paul's reason for preferring to adopt a puppy is that he doesn't want to miss out on those memories- not that he worries about the dog having issues from a previous experience. So it's not the forming part of the formative years, it's the not remembering that they would bounce off the ground with each bark (Sloan) or were perfect car travelers… until you realized they were so quiet because they were eating books the whole time (Max)! We've had all adult fosters except for the distemper puppy last fall, though.

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