This past winter I caught the “dog bug”—that undeniable urge to adopt a small dog. The bug started small, but intensified as Jim and I began to take weekly (sometimes more often) trips down to the Jacksonville Humane Society.
Almost every time we visited, we would see one or two excellent candidates for adoption—the only problem was that they were already adopted! One day, though, I looked on the Humane Society’s website and saw a small dog that appealed to me. She seemed to be a Yorkie-mix. Usually any small dog pictured on the website was already adopted by the time we visited, but this time, the pooch was still there, homeless.
We couldn’t get a good look at her, since she was lying in her bed and did not get up to greet us, but we decided to inquire about her. The Human Society adoption counselor told us that the dog was a senior. She had just had dental surgery and would recover from that trauma, but she had an eye condition and would require constant care for the rest of her life. Adopting a dog in good health would be quite an adjustment; adopting one that required considerable care was more than I felt able to do. We decided she would not be a good fit for us. The counselor understood, but to help us adopt, she provided a list of local small-dog adoption agencies.
That night I started a search.
One link led to another, and I finally found petfinder.com, an adoption-agency aggregate, which allows you to search by zip code. I found a picture and description of a dog that appealed to me; I showed Jim, then I completed an application online.
Several days went by with no word from the agency. Finally, I received an e-mail saying the dog had been adopted. Darn!
I searched again. This time I found two different dogs and completed an application that included references. I said we would welcome either dog into our home. (Incidentally, my references were called!)
Several days later I received a phone call from the adoption “dog lady.” She said that those dogs were already adopted, but she thought we would make ideal “parents” for another dog. She then described a female Pekingese. I admitted that Pekingese was not a breed I had ever considered. We then talked some more, and she said she also had a male Shih Tzu. I warmed to the idea of a Shih Tzu. More talk, and she finally said she would have a female Bichon Frise within a week. I was familiar with Bichons. My sister Dawn had one many years ago. Her Bichon and my Poochi looked like brothers, at least from a distance.
All of these dogs were purebred. Purebred rescues? Yes! Several years ago, the dog lady explained, a breeder in her area had contacted her about adopting out dogs that were no longer going to be bred. The dogs were usually about five or six years old, both male and female. The breeder did not run a puppy mill, the dog lady explained. A personal visit to the breeding facility proved to her that the breeders were kept clean, healthy, and up-to-date on all shots.
The breeder was done working the Pekingese and Shih Tzu; thus, they were being put up for adoption. The Bichon was, too, but for a different reason: The 3-year-old Bichon had just aborted a litter. Consequently, the breeder would not use her again.
We discussed the pros and cons of each of these three breeds. The dog lady sent me pictures of all three and left it to me to make a decision about which I would like to have.
Each was cute as a button, but I leaned toward the Bichon: With her coloring and her curly coat, she reminded me most of my Poochi. And everything I read about Bichons said that they were affectionate and smart, although clingy. I decided on the Bichon. The dog lady told us we could pick her up in a few days, once she had recovered from being spayed. I could hardly wait.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant ROVER