Adopt, Don’t Shop!

Morgan Bday

On Monday, we celebrated Morgan’s “Gotcha Day”. We had a great time taking her to the Three Dog Bakery for some treats and a new toy. Here’s her adoption story:

I am an uncoordinated person and somehow injured my ankle walking up the one step from my garage into my house. My mom/personal nurse took me into her hospital for an X-ray to make sure it was just a sprain. On the way home, she had to stop at Petco to grab dog food. I planned to stay in the car, but when I saw there was an adoption event happening, I hobbled inside “just to look”. Steve and I had been discussing getting a dog for a while but hadn’t felt ready to take the plunge.

There were around 15 dogs in cages. My mom gestured to a dog in the corner and pointed out how she was quiet but still social. Most of the dogs were at the front of their cages barking or in the back cowering, but this one was different. She was calmly greeting by-passers. With her beautiful ice blue eyes, she was getting lots of attention. Her name was listed as Doris.

I approached a volunteer to ask if we could see her and asked for more information. She had been transferred to the Michigan Humane Society from Tennessee. MHS is better funded than many state humane societies, so it is common for dogs to get transferred from high kill shelters in other states to Michigan. MHS didn’t know much about Doris’ background. They had given her that name, not knowing hers. She was guessed to be a mix of husky and some sort of shepherd. She was estimated to be around three years old and had already had at least two litters of puppies, one very recently. Based on her behavior, they guessed she had come from a puppy mill or some other abusive breeding situation. I was surprised, given how social she seemed. At that point, I figured we’d still take her out and give her a little love, but I had no intention of taking her home. As much as I felt this beautiful dog deserved a loving home, one with two loud and unpredictable toddlers was probably not the right match.

Of course, that changed as soon as she came up and settled in with her head on my lap. I was instantly in love. I called Steve and told him I had found a dog. He basically said umm, you left here to go get an X-ray and now you are coming home with a dog?? I told him I’d come home and we could all come back to see her together. My biggest concern was whether I could trust her around the girls. MHS agreed to hold her for one hour.

When we got back, they put the four of us in a larger room and brought Doris in. She was skittish around Steve but sat calmly as the kids pet her. The moment of truth came when Amelia yanked her toy out of her mouth to “play fetch”. Steve and I jumped forward, thinking she would react aggressively, but she sat down and waited patiently for Amelia to toss it and then good naturedly went to get it. The MHS volunteer suggested Steve take her for a walk outside to see if she would warm up to him one-on-one. They were gone about ten minutes, and by the time they came back, her tail was wagging and she seemed much more comfortable with him.

We went back and forth and decided we should sleep on it instead of making an impulsive decision. The volunteer told us if we made a small donation, they would hold her until the next day. By the time we went to bed that night we had made up our minds and were back at Petco the next day when they opened, ready to take her home. Since she didn’t seem to answer to Doris, and we couldn’t say the name Doris with a straight face, we changed her name to Morgan.

Morgan adopt

The day after we brought her home, Steve went outside to get the mail, leaving the front door open. Fiona headed for the open door and I watched in awe as Morgan got between her and the door and gently herded her back into the house. It was such a confirmation that we had made the right decision. Pets are a lot of work, but we are so happy our kids are growing up with one. She is a fantastic dog. She has a very mellow personality but perked up and got more playful as she got settled into our family. She’s still nervous and barks when any other man besides Steve comes into our house, but is never aggressive. We joke that she is really Fiona’s dog. Fiona dotes on her and Morgan just sort of tolerates it. She often gives me a look like, “oh great, the two-year-old is tucking me in with blankets again” or “awesome, this kid is giving me a checkup with her toy doctor kit” but is very easy-going.

I strongly urge adopting vs. purchasing. Thousands of dogs are put down every day. Even if you are looking for a specific breed of dog, you can usually find one to rescue if you do your homework. I have had two dogs, my childhood one and my current one. Both large mutts, both incredibly gentle, well-behaved, family dogs. Another thing I would encourage is adopting an adult dog. I know puppies are adorable but the advantage of an older dog is knowing what you are getting. With a hyper puppy, it is hard to tell if it’s being a spaz because it’s a baby and just needs time to grow, or if it’s always going to have that temperament regardless of how much time you spend on training. I was always concerned that an adult dog would not bond with our family as strongly or that I would be nervous having a large dog around my kids when she didn’t grow up around them, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. With Morgan, it wasn’t just luck that we ended up with a dog with the perfect temperament to fit in with our family, we chose her and we couldn’t have found a better match.

Morgan

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