I am a cat person, an unapologetic cat person. I don’t like needy people, and I don’t like needy animals. I love cats because they are all, “Hey, if you want to pet me, that’s cool. If not, I’ll just lick myself and judge you.”
We adopted two sassy cats, hoping that they would be good emotional support animals for my daughter who is on the autism spectrum (the syndrome formally known as Asperger’s.) However, ‘I’ll just lick myself and judge you,” wasn’t quite the support she needed. Thus, it was decided that we should adopt a dog who could be trained to be a therapy animal.
I scoured pet adoption sites and rescue organizations for the right dog for us: not a puppy, laid back personality, good with kids and cats. Finally, I found a three-year-old Australian Shepherd who fit the qualifications. I set up an appointment to meet the pup on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday morning, I woke up the girls at 8:30 so that we could go to the store and buy supplies for the Aussie. As I was driving down the interstate, highway hypnosis coupled with my ADD, and I missed the exit. Luckily, two miles down the road there was another exit, but this meant I would have to drive through town…. past the Subaru dealership…. that was having… a pet adoption event. (You probably see where this is heading.)
At my daughters’ urging (ok demanding), I stopped at the Subaru dealership. While we waited for our turn to meet the animals, I struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers. I asked if there were any dogs that would be a good match for our situation. She told me that all the dogs had arrived twenty-four hours ago from a high kill shelter in Southern Virginia. They didn’t know the animals as well as they usually did, but there was one pup who had been especially lovey and calm.
Finally, it was our turn to meet the adoptables. The volunteer with whom I’d been speaking led us to the back-right corner of the room, where we found a crate with a skinny German Shepherd mix. At first glance, my daughters were smitten. My youngest let out a squeal only achievable by seven-year-old girls, and my oldest grabbed my hand and said, “I want to take him home with us.”
The volunteer, who had been watching the whole interaction, put her hand on my eldest’s shoulder and said, “Why don’t you take him for a walk before you decide.”
We led him outside, and immediately, he rolled over for a belly rub. My girls’ adoration exploded into full-blown puppy love. After a quick text to my husband for approval and necessary paperwork, I was officially the owner of a dog, sigh.
That was nine months ago.
Since then, Zeus, the rescue mutt, has changed our world. He has eaten two welcome mats, four books, three pair of shoes and two pillows. The cats are still PISSED.
However, I can’t help but think he was meant to be our dog. If I hadn’t missed the exit, had we decided to get supplies later (all the dogs were adopted in the first hour), we would be Zeus-less. Perhaps that Aussie Shepherd would have been a good fit, but I find it hard to believe any pup would fit our family like our Zu-zu, book eating and all.