By Lora Abernathy
Gary and I spent 13 years being dog parents. Three months after our last dog died, it became clear we had to do it again.
Saying farewell to Bela our Great Dane, 12, and Boris our yellow Lab mix, 12, one year apart was crushing. They were “us” — our better half, really — and they were gone.
Even considering adopting another dog felt disloyal. Though I love dogs, I promised Gary we would never have another one. I couldn’t go through the agony again. I know many people say that during their grief and later change their minds, but I meant it. I was going to be the greatest exception on the matter the world had ever seen, as if there’s a Global Committee Celebrating Stubborness that hands out an award I could win.
He’d say OK, but that if I changed my mind down the road he wouldn’t hold me to the promise.
But one Saturday in June, he declared, in a tone he’s used only a couple of times with me that let me know he was serious, “We need to get you a dog.”
I protested, but only half-heartedly, because I knew he was right. I thought I was enjoying the freedom from the responsibility — the only upside to your dogs passing away. It was so obvious to him that having a dog in my life was just as important to my well being as drinking coffee every morning.
The following Wednesday, I began the search. A boxer mix at the local dog pound caught my attention. She was an active dog who was house-trained, crate-trained, good with other dogs and described as a “sweet girl” who, when not playing, was a “snuggle bug.”
I had to meet her.
So, the next day, we went to the pound, got “lickered” up with her kisses, willingly suckered in by her charm and brought her home.
Since then, I do feel more like myself again. I think Gary does, too, though he’d be reluctant to admit it. Paisley has been a very easy fit into our lives, a natural extension. I can’t imagine our days now without her.
I thought that initial sense of betrayal I felt at the thought of bringing another dog home would only deepen. It didn’t.
We knew we’d be adopting a dog from the pound or a rescue organization. We had a couple of breeds in mind that we preferred, but ultimately wanted a good dog who fit in with our lifestyle regardless of breed. That’s exactly what we found with Paisley.
If you’re looking for a specific breed and think buying a puppy is your only option, I have good news. Did you know that for nearly every breed of dog, there is a rescue organization for it? That means if you want a poodle, there is a poodle in need of a good home probably close to where you live. In fact, purebreds can sometimes be found at the local pound.
And, you guys: There are lots of wonderful dogs just like Paisley at animal welfare organizations. Petfinder.com is a terrific way to get started in your search. Try it. You’ll like it.
Paisley is a mix of boxer and we’re guessing Lab. But at the end of the day, it’s about her mixing well with us, no matter what breed she is. What more do you need?
“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
— Martin Luther