When it comes to pets, I think it is a fairly safe assumption that most people fall into one of two camps: Camp Canine or Camp Feline. I come from a dog family. Only because there is picture evidence, I know that we did have a Siamese cat once when I was a toddler. After a scratching incident, the cat was banned from the house forever and any pets that passed muster with my father were dogs. Period. The end.
Thankfully, my husband is a dog person, so it stands to reason that our family is a Camp Canine family. He always had small dogs, we always had big dogs. We currently have a soon-to-be-nine-year-old Shih Tzu whom I adore. He is my fur baby. Most days he is enough for our wee little house that already provides a home to a family of five humans.
Over the summer, one of my daughters suddenly became obsessed with getting a new puppy. She would get books about dogs from the library. She would constantly ask to be taken to the puppy store. It even got to the point that when we asked her to do something, we would have to say, “Please, puppy,” instead of the standard, “Please.”
Enter Tails of Courage, one of our city’s local dog shelters. Unlike the other shelters in town, Tails of Courage allows children to volunteer with a responsible adult. So, my daughter and I spent a couple afternoons at the shelter, cleaning and walking the dogs. It seemed to suffice. Until the shelter rescued ten puppies from under a house in Virginia and they were looking for foster families.
That is when Chubs came into our lives.
It has been almost nine years since we had a puppy in our house. It is like having a newborn. They need to be fed more often, they go to the bathroom more frequently, they need to be watched constantly. Yet this puppy has brought new life into our house and even the most resistant can’t turn down his sweet face.
We fostered Chubs for about a week and a half and then he was adopted. A few weeks later, while I was in the ER dealing with diabetes complications, the shelter called and explained that he was returned and asked if we could foster him again. My husband went to pick him up and that night I found myself sleeping on the couch with the puppy who had doubled in size since we said goodbye to him a few weeks earlier.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would be volunteering at a dog shelter, I would have questioned your sanity. I’m a busy woman with a full-time job, three children and some very time consuming avocations. If you asked me about volunteering today, I would try to sign you up. This experience has changed me. It has taught me the importance of doing good for our community and, more importantly, for the many rescue animals that are desperately in need of a forever family. While I did purchase our Shih Tzu from a puppy store, I now stand firmly in the belief that adoption is the only way to go. Make sure you visit your local shelter or online listings to find the dog that is right for you. Shelters do have puppies, shelters do have more than just one breed and shelters are doing amazing work. I can say that first hand.
My attachment to Chubs has grown exponentially since the beginning of March. He is still with us, waiting for his forever family to find him. Sadly, he will grow to be more dog than our house or our set-in-his-ways Shih Tzu can handle. If you are interested in adopting him, please visit the Tails of Courage web site. I promise you, he will change your life.