We drove to Petaluma on an overcast morning the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We had been looking at dogs to adopt online for the past three weeks. We have called quite a few and even visited some nearby ones near Tracy and Oakland.
We have been interviewed ad nauseum by rescue volunteers and administrators from different organizations up and down the West Coast. At times, it felt like we were going through a senate confirmation hearing. Yes, we have had big dogs before. No, we are not runners and we don’t see ourselves running with a dog three to four times a day. We both have jobs, thank you. We walk our dogs in the morning and most evenings, weather permitting. Yes, our yard is quite big. Just shy of an acre. Yes, the dog would be indoors most of the time but can choose to play outside if he/she chooses to. Yes, we’re both professionals with postgraduate education. Why the latter mattered, I’ll never know. But we were asked this by more than one animal rescue organization!
As we drove into the Big Dog Rescue, we were amazed at how “Zen” the surroundings felt. There was the big rock with its name at the entrance. The scent of lavender and thyme permeated through the grounds. In the distance were horses grazing. There were a few dogs running and playing on a gigantic play yard. We parked our car and walked to the fenced-in porch.
We were welcomed by Cheryl and her fellow volunteer, Abby at the Office. There were dogs wandering inside the main office. They sniffed us and moved away nonchalantly. They were obviously not eager to be adopted. They belonged to someone.
They brought in through sliding glass doors what looked at first like a black-as-midnight baby pony to me. It looked at us tentatively, with its brows furrowed to the center. My hubby gently gave the back of his hand. It was sniffed and then licked. Hubby took the leash. We were allowed to walk him for the next hour or so around the grounds. (To put things in a little perspective, my hubby is by no means slight. He’s well over six feet tall and they seem quite suited to each other, don’t you think?)
This place is like animal heaven! It was pristine and although foliage grew wild dotted by bright green moss-covered rocks, it was a controlled wildness. More like a contrived wooded path with little turns and corners, a bench here and there, a shrine or some stone statue.
It did not take long for us to warm up to this gentle giant of a pup. He’s a year old, we were told. He has put on seven pounds since he arrived at the shelter a month ago. He was given up by a firefighter who was too busy and away a lot, had a toddler at home, and could not take proper care of him. We wanted to take him home that same day. But we were told they don’t allow “impulse adoptions.” Plus, we needed a letter of reference from our Veterinarian. Imagine that!
And so, we went home and slept on it. The next day, we still wanted this puppy. There was a three-year old female black lab offered by another rescue organization. We declined. We wanted this 120 lb. Great Dane we fell in love with in Petaluma. We said we’d wait until after Thanksgiving before we picked him up. The party with all the friends and family would be too overwhelming, we rationalized.
Then as Monday wore on, while I was in and out of meetings at work, my hubby called. He was going to pick up the dog and would be home with him by the end of the day. He had consulted our daughter and she felt that it would be good for him to meet everyone at Thanksgiving dinner. All he needed was that gentle nudge and he was going for it!
And so, there I was lining up at Costco with two large beds, a large bag of the prescribed Nature’s Domain Grain-Free dog food, and a large box of dog biscuits.
All throughout the week, we have had friends and family come to meet Beau. He is slowly settling in the household. Our daughter was home for the holidays so there was ample time to bond. We’ve gone for walks and some simple training. We have left him outside on the back porch for three hours in the afternoon instead of putting him in his makeshift “apartment” near the front door. So far so good.
Did I tell you he’s a leaner, a cuddler, a hugger? He also thinks he’s a lap dog. He can’t wait to climb on your lap the minute you sit on the sofa.
I just can’t imagine how much bigger he’ll be in a year!
- Colorado animal rescue saves discarded dogs, finds homes for them (kdvr.com)
- Rescued dogs find shelter for holiday (toledoblade.com)
- Animal Rescue Stories (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Rescue Day!! (ramblingpets.wordpress.com)