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Chloe Chronicles VII: Rejection Blues
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All of my life, i have dreamed of having at least two dogs, but always knew I would have to wait for the right situation. For me, the “right situation” involved living in the country rather than in New York City, in a house surrounded by lots of land and with all the time in the world on my hands. Or at least, enough time to train my second dog and help him adjust to his life with Chloe and me (in our house in the country). I wanted to be able to take them hiking and give them plenty of attention, engagement, exercise and so forth. I figured that, with a second dog, my caretaking duties — meaning my supervised duties, above and beyond the care my dogs always receive — would amount to about four hours per day.

Why four hours? I wanted to adopt an English Setter.

You know how it is — we dog lovers can be partial to certain breeds or types of dogs. And, oh, the glories of mixedbreeds! Who can resist the combos? My own Chloe is some sort of Spaniel/Lab/Border Collie amalgam, and I adopted her, in part, because of my Spaniel/Setter fixation. To me, the only thing better than having a bird dog as a companion is to have two bird dogs. So the idea of adopting a second dog was always on my mind.

In 2006, I finally left New York City and moved to the Catskill Mountains full time. I had had Chloe for about a year at that point, and we had enjoyed a rich life, spending part of our time in an apartment in the city and the other part at a small cottage upstate. It was an ideal situation in many ways, but it got to be exhausting. The commutes and the changes and all that packing and backing-and-forthing was too much, especially with a large dog in tow.

So I moved to that big house with lots of land I had always dreamed about. Finally, it was time to adopt my second dog.

I was very excited at the prospect, and I knew Chloe would be too. We all know that dogs are pack animals and thus are happiest and most comfortable when they are members of a canine pack.  Chloe loved other dogs — she loved to play and romp and flirt — and she also seemed to enjoy being a mother dog. I got a kick out of watching her play with puppies at the dog park, wrangling them and letting them crawl all over her, giving them playful but very gentle swats and nips. It made me wonder if she had had puppies at some point in her young life, before I adopted her. It made me wonder if she missed them.

Therefore, I decided I would adopt a puppy this time around, rather than an adult. I had the time, after all. And I knew what raising and training a puppy would entail. I felt fully prepared to adopt my Setter pup.

And so, I began my search on Petfinder.com.

Whereas I’d searched the Internet for several months before choosing Chloe, the second-dog search took only a few weeks. I found a Setter rescue group that I liked, and they were in the midst of arranging adoptions for a litter of nine liver-and-white pups. Seven of them were male, and I knew I wanted to adopt a male. I telephoned immediately, and spoke with a kind and encouraging volunteer, who filled me in on the adoption process. We spoke for about 45 minutes — about me, their group and my potential dog — and by the end of the conversation, she told me she’d send an application. (Apparently, this group will not even send out applications until they speak to the candidates in person or on the telephone.) “You sound like an ideal candidate,” the woman said.

I must confess that I also thought I was an ideal candidate to adopt a dog. I’m not saying that I’m a perfect human specimen, or that I know every last thing there is to know about dogs, but I do work for a dog magazine, for goodness sake, and — thanks to Wallace and Chloe — have scads of experience in living with and training birdy-type dogs. Plus, I seemed to have all the right answers to all the questions on the adoption application:

• How many hours per day are you home? (Average, about 20.)

• Where will your dog sleep? (Wherever he damn well pleases — usually on the most comfortable bed in the house.)

• How much exercise will your dog get? And where? (Hours daily, at dog parks and on hiking trails.)

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Submitted by Karen | November 6 2012 |

I remember when we were looking for first family dog, my husband and I wanted to extend our family, so we started the hunt for the perfect dog. Our children were very young at the time, but my husband and I are experienced dog owners, we knew what we were getting into. We scoured all sources, probably 6 or 7 months, and turned down nearly every time, it was heartbreaking and frustrating. No one, not Rescue groups, not shelters, would let us adopt because our children were so young. Some would literally freeze when we walked through the door. They were, however, willing to let us interview baby puppies, as puppies were less likely to hurt a child. OK we got that, but we didn't want a baby puppy, we had two toddlers, I didn't want to be in the midst of potty training everyone under the age of 3. Finally after nearly giving up, we found Claire on Petfinder, a dog in Mexico being fostered with children the same age as ours. We filled in the paperwork, and the Rescue group, gave us a chance. It was the chance of a lifetime. Claire has been with us 5 years now and she's not going anywhere.

Now we foster for dogs for that Rescue group, because we have always been so thankful to them for giving us that chance. You may have your heart set on one kind of breed or mixed breed, but you need to look all options, there are so many good ones waiting to be with you.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 25 2012 |

What you described is why my dog is a pure breed. It never occurred to me that I would do anything other than adopt until I started researching rescue organizations. I am a single person living in a studio apartment with no yard. I live about a mile from an excellent off-leash area, but while it is removed from traffic it isn't fenced in. I'm also a first time dog owner, although we had dogs when I was a kid. So it quickly became clear that filling out applications at most rescue organizations would be a complete waste of time and energy. Unless I wanted to adopt a tiny dog that required minimal exercise (I didn't), I wasn't going to be approved on multiple fronts. One organization flat out stated it only placed dogs with couples in which one person didn't work outside the home. I do work from home, but that wasn't considered good enough. I could have gone with a public shelter, but given my small, urban living space, it seemed like too much of a gamble. The breeder, by contrast, was comfortable enough with my plan for dog ownership to place one of her puppies with me. My dog is now well trained and socialized and has passed the AKC Good Citizen Test. He gets plenty of exercise and has, I think, a really good life. I understand the interest in being cautious, but I think good adopters are being turned away because we don't fit the checklist.

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