I originally wrote this "happy tails" story for my blog on doodlekisses.com, but decided to post it here too.
First a little background on me...I had to have my dog Bailey put to sleep in November of 2006 (she wasn't a doodle, but another unusual mix - bassett hound/black lab). I loved Bailey and to this day have guilt about having her euthanized (even though my logical brain knows it was the best/only decision to be made). I wasn't ready to even think about getting another dog for a long time. In 2008 I was terribly sick for months, eventually getting a tentative diagnosis of Crohn's Disease. Once I started getting the CD under control, I started thinking about getting another dog.
I was SO torn...I was scared I'd have another flare up and wouldn't be able to provide excellent care to whomever I adopted, but I also felt like taking care of a dog would get me less focused on being "sick". Some friends convinced me that it was a good time, so I made a list (I'm a nerdy list-maker) of what my doggie wish list would be. I wanted a female (I love boy dogs too, I just like knowing where the pee is heading!), I wanted an adult dog, I wanted to rescue, I wanted a medium sized dog, and I wanted a dog who was very low shed. That is a very simple list if you are buying a dog from a breeder, but I'm just an ingrained rescuer though, so I had my work cut out for me. Three separate times, I found a dog at a rescue facility that I thought was just right for me, only to have them get adopted by someone else (the good part is that they got adopted, of course).
Then on Tuesday, April 14th 2009 I was taking my morning browse on petfinder.com and I saw this adorable dog at Dekalb Animal Shelter, which is a high-kill facility. Her name was "Pen 310" and they had her listed as a standard poodle (I guess they've never seen a standard poodle before). I kept trying to call the shelter and could never get through (later I found out that their phones were down that whole day). I left the office (thank goodness they are understanding about dog stuff!) and drove over to Dekalb Animal. I walked in and saw her...one of the cutest, furriest dogs I'd ever seen...sitting at the feet of an older woman as she filled out adoption paperwork. I went over and pet the dog, who was indeed Pen 310. She immediately started wagging her tail and looking up at me with those huge brown eyes and I fell utterly in love. I did what any normal person would do at that point...I offered the potential adopter a $100 to let me take the dog. She said no (in a kind of snippy tone, but I couldn't really blame her...after all I was trying to bribe her). A woman that worked at Dekalb Animal asked me to give her my information, just in case something fell through with the other adopter. I did, not feeling hopeful AT ALL. I should have been listening to everyone who was telling me that "things happen for a reason" and had a little more faith.The very next morning, I got a call from Dekalb Animal...they said the other adopter called in and said she didn't think it was a good time for her to take on the responsibility and wanted to know if I was still interested (I have always had a sneaking suspicion that they rejected her so I could get her). I said "ABSOLUTELY" and left the office, hopped in the car and drove over there. The same lady was working there and said "oh I'm so glad you're getting her - y'all just seem to belong together".
Then she told me the sad story of Pen 310. It's not as sad as some of the other stories you hear (there's one on atlanta pet rescue right now who had been starved and only had rocks in his belly when he was taken from the neglectful owner - that's criminal), but it's just so unnecessary. This adorable dog, who had obviously been someone's pet, was abandoned outside Dekalb Animal Shelter in the middle of the night. She was matted, dirty, and about 10lbs underweight, but was otherwise healthy. They estimated her age to be between 2 and 3. They knew nothing else about her, other than that she was a good dog. I can only imagine the confusion that she felt. Dekalb does a great job with their shelter, but it's not a place for dogs to live...it's a warehouse of dogs waiting to die. I'm just so glad that they do care enough to put their dogs on petfinder.com to try to get them to good homes!The furry dog needed to be spayed, get her shots, and get a bath, so I couldn't take her home that day.
That night my friend Leigh and I went to Costco and Petsmart, where I bought beds, a brush, toys, treats, food, bowls, and a cute collar and leash. Friday morning, April 17th is when I got the call that my new dog was ready (I count 4/17 as Callie's "birthday"). The newly named "Callie" came back to the office with me and was an angel (ok, so she peed in the showroom, right in front of my boss, but she was in a new place!). I can say with great honesty that she's brought me unmitigated happiness, even on those rare occasions when she is naughty. I firmly believe that I would still be in my house, depressed about having a chronic illness if Callie and I hadn't found each other. We spend lots of time on walks and at the dog park making new friends, and plenty of time playing. A particular favorite of hers is on the early weekend mornings when I take her out to the community tennis courts and practice my serve while she chases balls. SO CUTE!