7.11.2009

Of Dogs... and More Dogs!

Significant other unit finally has given the green flag to acquiring a family dog. This is quite an eventful occasion, since he's been reticent of dogs all his life. Wasting naught a second, I've begun the search in earnest for the little happy furry baby that will become part of our family life for many, many years to come. *jumps up and down with pure joy*

Here's what we are looking for:
- male dog
- around 1 year of age
- good connection with us
- healthy
- tends to be a little quieter
- well behaved
- emotional features
- medium sized
- shorter hair

We promise to:
- walk and exercise as much as possible
- structure and schedule
- obedience training
- crate and potty train
- insure and provide all vet care needed immediately
- provide lots of cuddles, hugs, kisses, and as much love as a little doggie could take
- Plus! Car trips, road trips, comfy bed in our bedroom, lots of healthy fresh food and treats

This one-week-long search (thus far) has been quite a lesson for me. I am clear on my capabilities and expectations, and am aware of the realistic time, emotional, and financial investment that a pet is. I've have always had a keen sense about dog attitude, personality, and thought processes. What I was unprepared for, was the diatribe that is the adoption process. We've opted for adoption from one of our many local shelters, humane societies, and rescue centers, because we know that pet stores source from those awful and nightmarish puppy mills.

After a week of looking online on petfinder.com and communicating via email with some shelters and such, we've not received much reason to be optimistic.

Angel4Cause Rescue in Burr Ridge IL
Friday I went to visit one shelter where I found out they not only shelter terriers and pit bulls and mixes, but also foster children. It was quite a shock to realize that they are in dire need of funding (state, local, volunteer, philanthropic, etc.). In theory they run a fantastic operation where they foster children that are high-risk and teach them discipline and structure through their work with the fostered dogs.
They have a lot of need for some expansion of their space as all their dogs are right now held in the garage. If you or someone you know can provide some funding or resources, this would definitely make for a fantastic feature story for a newspaper.

ADOPT in Naperville IL
Visited first thing on Saturday and were impressed. This is by far, hands down, is head and shoulders above the rest. This is a clean, efficient, organized operation. These are professional pet lovers and they're here to get these little unfortunate guys all the care they need, as well as find them their forever homes.
There were a few dogs at ADOPT that we liked a lot. We had to narrow down the list because some were not feasible. We chose to spend some one-on-one time with a pekinese mix little guy. However, we realized he would be be a bad match for our home and lifestyle, and that he would require too much grooming.

Naperville Humane Society in (where else) Naperville IL
I was very disappointed in how small this place turned out to be. Since I'd been seeing their website for years now, it had given me the impression of a far larger affair. There were no dogs here that we found to match our requirements or lifestyle.

Aurora Animal Control in Aurora IL
This was the least pleasant experience. Dogs were howling, yelping, and crying continuously. The cages were not labeled, and most of the cages were empty. However, behind a very large, green tarp separating the room into two parts, one could hear many more dogs.
We had liked two potential candidates, but one turned out to be excessively nervous, and the other one, we later found out, has her adoption already underway.

Petco store in Naperville IL

Did you know that Petco and Petsmart stores team up with local shelters to feature lovable animals ready for their forever homes?
Fortuitously, after what was becoming a long day of sad news, we then happened upon the local Petco store, which was hosting one shelter's show-and-tell with a few dogs available for adoption. We noticed two dogs we liked a lot. The gentleman in charge let us know he was on his way out and that he would be at the Oswego Petco tomorrow, so we can continue our discussions there. I was already looking at this shelter's website and had identified some potential candidates. The two dogs we saw today were very very close to what we are looking for, but we need to learn more.


This has turned out to be quite an epic undertaking, and I will maintain updates on this blog of what comes of this search at each turn. I hope that these experiences are of use to other families searching for their forever furry babies. Stay tuned for more!