Confessions of a Chronic Dog Adopter

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Important Discoveries

Lesson 5: Fostering is only a heartstring away from adopting.
Last month brought our latest addition. We went to the shelter to help some friends adopt their first dog. However, by now it's pretty clear to everyone but us that you can't put Lori and me in a shelter for longer than two minutes without our leaving with something breathing. (Even if it's an overworked volunteer, they're still getting in that car!)

So, on this trip, we saw a little Yorkshire terrier puppy in a cage right near the entrance. He was impossibly adorable -- the kind of dog that people cluelessly go to a pet store and shell out three grand for. His intake sheet said he was a stray, but I pulled myself away, really giving it the old college try.

"I have to have him."

What? Who said that?

"I'm absolutely smitten with that puppy," said Lori. I couldn't believe it. "Sweetheart, you're supposed to be the one with all her marbles, here."

"I just feel a connection to him. He reminds me of Murphy." (Murphy was Lori's first dog, who had passed away.)

"I completely understand, but this puppy will be adopted in a second. We should take one of the harder-luck dogs."

"He's still homeless."

How could I argue with that one? Especially when my pocket calendar showed that Valentine's Day was at the end of the following week.

And that was how Albert, named in honor of the great Mr. Einstein (since they share the same wild hairstyle) came to complete our lucky seven.

Now, I've done some pretty spiritual things in my life. I've watched the sun rise over the Acropolis, in Athens. I've hiked in the red rocks of Sedona and felt the power of the mystical vortices. I've seen Barbra Streisand live on her farewell tour, twice. And yet none of those experiences comes close to what I've felt when I've adopted an animal.

This world seems so out of control at times -- and you can feel absolutely powerless to have a hand in changing any of it. But when you adopt an animal, you create a little miracle. You right a little bit of what's gone wrong on this harebrained planet of ours. You feel like every superhero rolled into one, because you took something dark and awful and made it light again.

From When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win, by Carol Leifer. Copyright (c) 2009 by Carol Leifer. Published by arrangement with Villard Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, April 2009.


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