Today, in belated honor of "National Puppy Day" (which was on March 23rd), I dedicate this post to my dog Nola and to all of you who have opted to rescue as opposed to buying from a breeder or puppy store. We just recently rescued Nola on February 1st. The first picture above is of the day after we brought her home from the shelter. The second picture is her about 6 weeks later and the last picture is from this past Sunday, on Easter. When I arrived at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (GREAT organization, by the way) I knew I wanted a small doggie that would have more than enough room in our small(ish) house. We also suffer from allergies, so we needed a hypo-allergenic pet. When I saw Nola I just thought she was so sweet. I asked to see her and I was immediately "warned" that she was on the "CHANCES" program whereby I could essentially "foster" her for a couple of weeks and bring her back if it didn't work out. She was on this program because she was in pretty bad shape when she arrived and was on all sorts of meds to get better. Apparently people were walking away from her left and right and didn't want to be "bothered." Ugh, just breaks my heart thinking about it. She had a urinary tract infection, gingivitis (for which they had to do dental surgery), ear infections in both ears and possible hip problems. She was also pretty malnourished and had her little ribs and back bones just poking out. They also said she came in so badly matted they had to use a sharp razor blade to get the hair off. She had so much hair on her they even nicked her on the ear, where she had a pretty bad scab. Oh boy. She was just a downtrodden little dog. Plus, she's "older," at 6 years old.
I took her home on the CHANCE program and just couldn't wait the two weeks. I came back 3 days later and officially adopted her. At that point, it didn't matter what her "issues" were. She was a Brinkey. She was family. Today, two months later, Nola has gained weight and is said to be at "a perfect weight," according to the vet. Her ear scab is long gone. Her UTI and ear infections are also long gone. Her gingivitis was taken care of by the Humane Society and now she could pose in Hollywood dog commercials her teeth are so white. We've only fed her grain-free, top of the line dog food and treats, purified water and fruits. So her coat is super shiny, soft and brighter. Every Saturday is her "bath" day where I lather her up with waterless oatmeal shampoo. Plus, I clean out both ears and give her a good ole brushing every other day or so. Not to mention her teeth maintenance treat every night. What has been the result? What you see above. A healthy, happy, sweet and loyal family pet who has just wiggled her way into our very hearts with her sweet and caring nature.
Why do I share all this with you? For two reasons. First, think before getting a pet. Why? Because as you can see above, it's not exactly the cheapest thing. Pets are family and shouldn't be treated as subpar or not worthy of the same love and care we give ourselves. They deserve quality time, nutritious food, a balanced diet and consistent grooming. It's another family member. So, unless one is willing to provide the care they need and deserve, it's probably best to opt out of being a pet parent. This includes being way too busy to spend time with them.
That being said, are you too busy? When we create a minimalist life, we open up more time, space and monetary resources to add these special beings into our families and provide them with a loving and forever home. When we fill our lives up with clutter, debt and commitments, it's not fair to bring these innocent animals into that, until it's at least been brought under control. Especially the time and care factor. That's just my two cents. My other two cents?
Adopt. Please, adopt. Don't shop at puppy stores or breeders. If you've done this, I'm not knocking you. I've been guilty of both in the very distant past. I honestly just "didn't know better." But, today... I do and I hope we can all work together to spread the message that shelter dogs make the absolute best dogs... (Oh! Cats too!).
P.S. Sorry for the super long post. This is just such an important topic to me. Thanks for reading!