A few years ago, my wife and I started a tradition to purchase Christmas gifts for each other that cost no more than $35 and must begin with a particular letter of alphabet. In 2008, the letter was D. As a joke, I told my wife that dog begins with D.
Before I go any further, let me explain the significance of the aforementioned statement. I’ve wanted a dog for years. We had a cat when we were first married, but we had to turn him over for adoption after our second child was born. I liked the cat, but it was no dog. My wife was adamant that we would not get a dog until our oldest child was as old as her older cousin, Bri. Keep in mind that she repeated her assertion after each of Bri’s birthdays. Unless there was no break in the time/space continuum, Nee would never be as old as Bri, therefore, no dog.
Imagine my surprise when my wife said, “I was thinking about getting a dog too.” In fact, she had already begun searching for breeds that were good with children.
After studying the history and characteristics of nearly every dog breed, we finally settled on a beagle. I’ve always been a big fan of Snoopy so a beagle seemed like a good choice.
I started my search for our new pet on Craigslist. Bad move. After reviewing several listings, I decided that I’d rather adopt a dog from a shelter. I didn’t feel right about getting a pet from the classifieds. Here’s a word of advice if you do decide to search for a pet on Craigslist: Do not accept any free pets. Reputable owners will ask for a small adoption fee in order to keep away sadist and people who sell free animals to labs for testing.
I soon discovered Petfinder a website that lists adoptable pets. I filled in the search criteria and the site generated a list of beagles that were available in my area. I noticed that most of the beagles were listed by an organization called Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue, Inc. I went to the organization’s website, selected a couple of dogs that I was interested in adopting, and completed the long, detailed application.
After I submitted the application, a volunteer from the organization contacted me to ask a few more questions and to schedule a home visit. On the day of the home visit, my wife and I tidied the house and I repaired a couple of missing and loose planks on the backyard fence. The volunteer arrived with three beagles in her car. Two were hers and the other was one that she wanted us to consider adopting. Unfortunately, the dog was older than we wanted and had a few health problems. My kids, who were unaccustomed to dogs, were a bit jumpy because the dogs kept barking.
The volunteer walked around our yard and gave us a few suggestions on how to make it more dog-proof. She asked us a few more questions about our plans to care for the dog – where would it sleep, would we keep it indoors or outdoors, what would we do if we couldn’t keep the dog anymore, etc. We answered all of the questions and concluded our conversion by saying goodbye to her and her pack of beagles. We thought everything went well until I received this e-mail message:
Thank you for allowing us to come out today to check your fence. However, based on the information presented to the adoption committee, they feel that we cannot place a dog in your home. The kids are scared of dogs and we would not place a dog in that situation. Thank you for checking with us though.
I was flabbergasted. I called my wife to read the message and she, too, was stunned. Apparently our family was not good enough to adopt a dog from Houston Beagle and Hound Rescue, Inc.
If she has said, “The kids are scared of dogs and we would not want to place them in a situation where they would be frightened,” I could have accepted that. But placing all of the emphasis on the dog really bothered me. My wife convinced me to refrain from sending her a nasty response. “Maybe, those were not the dogs for us,” she said. “God will lead us to the dog that’s right for our family.” Her words soothed me and I resumed my search.
The next day, I located a lovely 1-1/2 year old, female beagle from an animal shelter in a neighboring city. It took a full hour to arrive at the shelter and I hoped that no one had gotten there before us to adopt the dog.
At the shelter, we found the dog curled up in the corner of her cage. She sprang to life when we walked by and I knew she was the one. I was determined to give that forlorn pooch a new home. My wife and kids were a bit standoffish because none of them had ever spent much time around dogs. By the time we completed the adoption paperwork, everyone had started to warm up each other and Ginger officially became a part of the Mocha family. The best part of this story is that my wife and I managed to stay within the parameters of our Christmas guidelines. The adoption fee was $75 only $5 over our allotted $70 limit.
Question: Are you a pet person? If so, tell us about your pet.