I always like to tell the story of when we found our rescue, Lady. My husband and I knew we wanted to rescue a dog: they deserve good homes and mutts are generally healthier.
We had been to the pound just a few times, to see what types of dogs we were drawn to. We passed over puppies as they were too young and tend to get adopted out quicker than older dogs.
It was on our second or third trip to the dull grey and antiseptic place that we would meet. Narrow hallways were lined with fenced cages where clipboards dangled the details of the lives of their contents. Many clipboards had laminated color-coded cards stacked over the paperwork: they were getting homes. Many more were left blank, just waiting for that pop of color, that pop of hope.
The very last cage door, on the left of the first row, was our Lady. We about walked right by her as she blended in completely with the shadows. She was quiet and timid, but once we knelt down to see her we could see large soft brown eyes and the floppiest of ears.
She leaned up against the cage door, and let my husband pet her through the gaps in the wire fence. A volunteer came by and saw us, and had she not stopped to give this tiny dog a Kong cone filled with peanut butter, we may never have adopted this dog.
She was just too damn adorable.
Most dogs attack a Kong, grab them between their paws and lick until they’re blue in the face. Not this one. She stood on all four paws and bent to gently lick at. It rolled away. Again, she stepped over to it and licked. Rinse and repeat. She followed it along her cage floor and walked in circles to keep up with it. We were sold.
My husband and I stood up, laughing, and began talking with the volunteer. The little card on her clipboard meant “sale” – they were trying to move her like inventory. She was only about five months old, up to date on shots, ready to be spayed and ready for a home. She had been at the pound for nearly four months, which means we passed her up in the puppy section at one of our last visits. This dog was on clearance.
We waved goodbye to the little dog in the corner cage and went with the volunteer to fill out paperwork that night. A week later we picked up our bundle of joy and her entire world changed.
It didn’t really dawn on me what we had done until my mother came over to meet her grand-dog.
“You saved her life,” my mother told me.
And that’s when it hit me. Hard.
You see, we got her from a shelter that puts dogs down. They adopt out quickly, but many dogs that don’t get adopted get euthanized just to make room for more incoming.