Rescue a pet: you just may find the love of your life

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When we adopted Hobie in 2000, and Hector a year later, we didn’t really “rescue” them per se. We got them for free. We did not go through an agency but got them from friends/acquaintances, in each case. The same was true for Timba many years before that, and the countless cats we have raised. I consider Hobie and Hector the true loves of my life, as far as animal companionship is concerned. I know my significant other agrees — he especially loved Hector, so very much. So, we “rescued” the two of them, but not in the same sense that the word has taken on since the last decade-and-a-half.

Hobie came to us when a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-co-worker was unable to keep the young puppy (pets were not allowed where they were living, in an apartment in the city). I took one look at him and fell hopelessly in love. Today, more than 13 years later, I can say that I still feel the same way. As I watch him age and become more and more disabled, my love grows.

A year after we adopted Hobie, a good friend’s dog had puppies on a nearby farm. Hector was one of the pups, and Hobie actually chose him from the litter. They became the best of friends, and there was nary a bad word said between them in the 10 years we were all together. Hector stole a piece of all of our hearts, and then some. He’s been gone 18 months or more, and my heart still aches just to type his name or see his picture. Thankfully I have hundreds of photos of him, though seeing them is always bittersweet.

Charlie Brown, and later his brother, Cooper, were adopted through a rescue organization here in the northeast that helps transport pups from the sure-to-be-killed south to the unlikely-to-be-killed northeast. Although I had volunteered for a different rescue organization a few years ago, this was my first experience adopting through “rescue.” Some people may think it’s like an act of Congress adopting a puppy or kitten from a shelter or rescue. In fact, some have said it is easier with a human child, you go to the hospital, give birth, and bring it home. No questions asked, and no owner’s manual! Adopting a puppy or kitten from a rescue or shelter will entail filling out a bunch of paperwork, providing references, and having what’s known as a “home visit” where a stranger, usually a volunteer for the organization, comes and checks out your house to make sure it’s fit for a new animal.  This is true whether your new charge is a baby dog or cat, or a full-grown mutt or feline. Some folks find this a turn-off, but in this day and age, with dog-fighting rings and other bad people out there, sadly, it is a necessary and quite painless process.

Be prepared to answer questions about…

  • Income
  • Work schedule
  • Who will spend the most time with the pet?
  • Are there other pets in the home?
  • Are there children or elderly in the home?
  • Is your property is fully fenced-in?

Thankfully, we passed with flying colors!

I didn’t quite have the same reaction to Charlie Brown and Cooper as I did to Hobie (that is to say “love at first sight”), but you know what?  I didn’t have that reaction with Hector, either, and it turns out he was one of the great loves of my life. Cooper, who lost his leg at a very young age, is an inspiration and it has been suggested he’d make a great therapy dog. Sometimes when he’s lying asleep beside me on the couch (or bed, yeah, ok?), I am in awe of how comforting he is. Charlie Brown, even though he’s the same age as Cooper, is in the “terrible twos” stage, so I get annoyed more than overjoyed at the moment.  But I still love him, and I know that one day, he will be the best dog in the world, just like all his predecessors.

So, if you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, rescue a pet from a shelter or rescue organization. You will probably not be disappointed, and you just may find the love of your life.

K.S. Mueller is a travel executive living in Massachusetts who writes essays about dogs, cats and other topics in her spare time. Check out her web sites: ksmueller.comk2k9.com; and fibroworks.com. Follow K.S.Mueller on Facebook and Twitter.

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