Confessions of a Chronic Dog Adopter
My favorite time of day is right before bedtime. The sounds of peace abound: The dishwasher hums in the kitchen. The baby monitor crackles lightly with static as our boy sleeps soundly. And the only sound from the maniacs is their soft and rhythmic breathing -- their go buttons finally turned off.
The maniacs would, of course, be our pack of seven rescue dogs. Nothing is more beautiful than watching the rise and fall of those furry little bellies at rest. But as I look at them all splayed out and scattered around our bedroom, I often wonder, How the hell did one dog ever become seven?
The short answers are: I'm weak and very susceptible to big lonely eyes. We've got the room. I work from home. And animals make me supremely happy in a way that nothing else does.
Our first adopted dog came from a Chihuahua rescue center in Burbank, California. We noticed his big, floppy ears right away. The name card on his kennel read "Julius." That was both my grandfather's and my partner Lori's grandfather's name.
We inquired about Julius's story and were told he had been found wandering outside USC at about the same time we'd attended the funeral of our good friend, the actor John Ritter, a proud USC alum. It was uncanny. Which brings me to the first thing I learned about animal adoption.
Lesson 1: You have to be open to the signs.
We played with Julius, took him for a little stroll, and then checked out a couple of other dogs as well. But we decided to think about it for a couple of days and head back home. Before we left, however, something told me to go back in and look at Julius one last time.
I knelt down by his kennel and asked point-blank, "Should we come back for you, buddy?" He cocked his head with this sarcastic look like, I'm in a cage at a dog rescue. What do you think? But then, lest he give the impression of being too much of a smart-ass and squash the whole deal, Julius reached out to me through the bars with his paw. It was a done deal. And it was then that I picked up the next truth about animal adoption.
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