Her mother was a pit bull who’d been rescued from a terrible home while pregnant with a litter of nine puppies. You know what happens to pit bulls who are pregnant and unable to be rehomed?
But our local ASPCA chose to save the mother, allowing her to be fostered by a local rescue group until the puppies could be born. After the puppies were weaned, she was put down -- but every single puppy was saved, including Draya.
By intervening in their lives, they intervened in mine. My two shelter dogs have been so much more than hiking companions, or guard dogs, or cuddle-buddies. They are a magical happy pill in furry, drooly, sometimes stinky, dog form.
Dogs are always, unconditionally there. They don’t care if you snot all over them after a breakup. They don’t care when your kid tries to ride them like a horse. They have no major expectations -- they just want to hang out, lick your face a little, and just be with you.
I’m not saying these traits are unique to shelter dogs. But there is something special about those dogs. And they need homes.
So, lucky for you, it’s National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog month!
This month shelters all over the country are celebrating. Many are waiving all adoption fees and providing extra help with spay/neuter costs, if not covering them completely.
Have your heart set on a pure bred? Don’t be so quick to rule out a shelter dog. You’d be shocked by the number of pure breds that end up in shelters (like Draya). Families who move or have to give up pets for other reasons? Their Chihuahuas and Irish Setters are down at the shelter.
If you are worried about a shelter dog having socialization issues with your child, banish the thought. All shelters will let you spend some one-on-one time with the dog you are interested in so that you can judge their character.
And don’t forget the older dogs! When you adopt an older dog, you are getting a potty-trained pup -- and if you’ve never had to potty train a dog, just remember what your baby was like. Except dogs don’t get diapers.
And, all practicalities aside, when you adopt a shelter dog, you save a life.
Image via Megan Van Schaick