Apparently I Am a Dog Person

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Sugar and My Dad

If you had asked me 3 years ago if I would ever be a dog owner, I would have told you you were crazy. With 3 kids, a husband, and a business to run, I had more than enough to do THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

But that was before I factored in my daughter. You see, she has a heart for animals. A gift. And from a very young age, the campaign to get a dog began. I held strong for a while. And then I made my mistake. Figuring I would help them get it out of their systems, I took the kids to the pet store in the mall to play with the puppies. (As an aside, if you don’t want a dog, I wouldn’t recommend this strategy.)

Long story short, I now had 3 kids begging for a dog.

Now I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to get a pet, you should rescue one rather than purchasing the product of a puppy mill. There are plenty of animals that need homes, and unless you plan to show your dog, there is absolutely no reason to get an animal from a breeder. Perfectly wonderful animals are put to death EVERY DAY because people choose the pet store over the shelter. Totally not necessary.

So anyway, we pulled up Petfinder and started looking. Now I had my standards…I knew I didn’t want a puppy. I wanted a dog that was already house trained and wouldn’t chew up my furniture. We finally settled on a rescue organization that had a darling, 7 year old dog that my kids thought would be perfect. We filled out the application and were all set to meet the dog, when the woman from the rescue organization called. She said the dog we had chosen would be fine, but since my kids were so young, she’d recommend a younger dog. And she had one she wanted us to meet first. If we still wanted the other dog we could meet him afterwards. But she was hoping we’d meet this one first.

Sugar loves to run!

And so we found ourselves at the PetSmart in Rockaway, NJ one sunny Saturday morning. On the way, my husband asked if we would take the dog home that day. Of course not! I told him. We had adopted our kids and I was used to drawn out processes and lots of paperwork. I was sure we were going to meet the animal, get used to each other, and then find out what the process was to take the dog home.

So we walked in to the PetSmart and saw Sugar right away. And we fell in love. She was a year and a half old, and absolutely beautiful. My husband didn’t want a “girlie” dog. He wanted an animal that was strong and muscular. We didn’t want long hair to clog up the vacuum. And we wanted a dog that was good with kids, and could stand up to the activity that comes with them. Sugar fit the bill in every respect. We said we would be happy to adopt her.

And they handed us the leash.

Wait! I said. Didn’t we need to do paperwork? Nope. All the paperwork was already done. God bless the foster mother who walked us around the pet store, helping us pick out the essentials, since we didn’t have ANYTHING on hand. And we drove home as brand new pet owners.

We learned a lot about owning a dog those first few weeks. And now Sugar is such an integral part of the family. My son came home with an assignment the first day of school where he was supposed to put how many people were in our family. He said six…including the dog! She’s my exercise buddy, she wants to come with us everywhere, and she keeps me company all day when I work.

I never anticipated how wonderful it would be to have a dog. My parents laugh at the change in me (they’re hard-core animal lovers.) I now know I will have a dog for as long as I live. She’s such a sweet presence, and she makes me happy. We make her happy too.

And one more thing about pet adoption. This organization who rescued her got her from a high-kill shelter down in Georgia. If they hadn’t rescued her, she would have been put to death. And that kills me. Because she is the perfect family pet. So sweet and affectionate. We’re so fortunate to be her family.

So now we are dog people. And it rocks.

How did you get your pet?