Jane had always wanted a dog but her frenetic personal life and her hectic professional life always got in the way of her decision to adopt a canine.
"Why do you want a dog remember, when he "has to go out" you have to go out too" - her mother said.
"Forget about it - get a cat, their easier and besides they are independent a dog is like a man who follows you around just to get affection" Sarah her best friend, chimed wheneverJane mentioned adopting.
"Look Sweetie, right now is not the time - between my work schedule and my son I don't get to spend as much time with you as I would like - Molly has Jr. during the week and the only time I get to see him is on the weekends - when you are free - I'm still getting used to being divorced maybe soon it will be time for you to consider adopting a dog - right now you need to concentrate on our relationship" her new boy friend ( and recent divorcee ) Hamilton wined when Jane cried during the late night television, heart wrenching ASPCA pleas.
Jane walked a while in the park near her apartment after an unusually dull Friday at work. She thought she sensed someone following her but when she looked around no one was there. Just before dusk she made her way home and smiled at all of the dogs who were playing with each other and happily walking with their owners during hours of the Twilight Bark - Jane came to a conclusion - I'll make room in my life and find a place in my heart for a dog who needs me - I am going to the shelter tomorrow and adopt a dog!
Excited and without the trepidation she thought she would feel making such a big decision without the help of her mother. her best friend or her new lover Jane drove the twenty minutes to the City Animal Shelter which was located in a neighborhood she was unfamiliar with and did not feel particularly safe in.
"Good Morning, what can I do for you?" said the animal control officer.
"Well, I've thought about it a lot and I want to see about adopting a dog!" Jane replied enthusiastically.
"Sounds good - do you know what type of Dog? Age? Gender? Small or Large? We have them all" -the Officer said with a smile.
"Not really but I know what I do want, a dog who is looking for a forever home with me - I am quiet and retiring but I have own a large duplex apartment with an outdoor space, I'll know when I have found the right one, can I see the dogs which are available for adoption?" Jane was uncharacteristically sure of herself and the Officer matched her with a "Dog Mentor Volunteer" who gave her a map of the shelter and told her she would be available if Jane had any questions.
Although Saturday's were usually crowded, the large shelter only had a few visitors and Jane wandered around looking at and talking with several dogs ( and cats ). After using the restroom wandered through part of the shelter where she thought she was the only human within eye sight. Jane had a funny feeling she was being followed the same feeling she had in the park yesterday evening. When she looked around she saw a few couples, a mother and young daughter and a couple of unaccompanied men and women looking at and playing with the animals. Jane turned down one corridor and looked in several of the dog cages.
Some of the dogs were attentive to her and for a moment she imagined adopting more than one, but one black and tan dog of medium to large build stood out. "Remember to lock Blue's cage when you are finished - he's harmless but it is policy that all cages be locked during visiting hours" a Dog Mentor instructed a new ( absent minded ) but dedicated volunteer who was cleaning out Blue's cage.
Jane read the card which was attached to Cage AC18AC7J - "Blue" a male German Shepherd mix is about four years old and had been locked in a garage for most of his life. When shelter officials found Blue, he was twenty pounds under weight, his legs were rubbery from not being able to move freely and he had lost some of his visual acuity from living most of his life in darkness. After eights weeks of medical care / behavioral and physical therapy, loving human contact from his foster parents / exercise and nutritional supplements Blue is ready for adoption - are you "the one"?"
Jane let go of the card which was attached to the cage and stared down at Blue who was crawling toward her from the back of his cage wagging his tale. Jane stared into his golden eyes and knew she had found her canine friend. Suddenly Blue began barking savagely and Jane stumbled backward but was not frightened. An man whose aura was not friendly ( whom Jane did not know or encourage to join her at Blue's cage ) was too close for comfort - went to put his hand on Jane's shoulder and tried to push her down an empty corridor. Blue barked and growled and gritted his teeth and charged the cage door. Hearing the commotion Animal Control Officers and Volunteers came running. The man had cornered Jane terrified heard what sounded like metal on metal and watch Blue leap in the air and push the man down on the ground standing on his chest tearing at his clothes. Shelter officials collared Blue and took the man into custody.
Blue broke free of his leash and barked a friendly bark toward Jane who was leaving the shelter. Just as Jane went to push the exit door she stopped, turned around and blue came running toward her. She knelt on the ground and hugged the bear of a dog he was barking and licking her face ( letting her know he was the canine for her). Because of the events that day Blue was held for observation for one week before being allowed to be adopted by Jane.The man who tried to attack Jane had been stalking women in that neighborhood and followed Jane into the shelter. To this day Jane credits Blue a shelter dog, for saving her life. Since adopting Blue Jane broke off her relationship with her newly divorced ( and conflicted ) boyfriend and found someone who has time for, respects her, and who loves dogs too. Jane's mother fell in love with Blue and bakes him dog treats. Jane's best friend Sarah has adopted a small dog she calls "Miss Red" who has play dates with Blue.
I wish I was able to inspire everyone who was thinking about experiencing life with a dog ( and cat ) to visit shelters and rescues first and to consider the impact this decision would have on:
The Homeless Animal Population
Breeding as a Business Model
The "Pet Shop"
Shelters and Rescues play a vital role in helping to reduce the homeless animal population in communities across the globe. "Jane" and "Blue" are fictional characters but I am certain when someone who is serious about adopting a dog or cat visits a shelter or rescue the magic happens - someone special is waiting - you will know which dog and or cat is right for you:)