Tuesday, July 9, 2013

An Adoption Tail (Tale)

Hello, Internet, meet Cash.  Cash is, quite obviously, a dog.  My dog.

I adopted him on a rainy day this past November on a whim, and I can't think of a better decision I've made recently.  I was heading to Nordstrom to buy my mom's Christmas present, and on a leisurely stroll through the mall toward my destination, I happened to pass by a storefront that the West LA Animal Shelter uses to adopt out shelter dogs.  It's NOT a pet store, so no angry comments, please.

Anyway, I'm actually allergic to most dogs.  And cats.  And horses.  And tigers.  Basically, anything that has hair and sheds (and isn't human), I'm allergic to.  But, mix it with a poodle and I can have it (wow.  I just got an image of a tiger mixed with a poodle in my head-- and how cute, but ferocious!).  So, basically, I thought I would just go in and look at all the cute puppies that I couldn't adopt because of my mean ol' allergies.

Not the case.  I went in, and there were actually a few dogs I wasn't allergic to.  But, my eyes (and heart) went straight to Cash.  His name scrawled on a piece of paper at the front of the cage, he was a pup with sad eyes, quiet and in the corner by himself.  I asked to see him, and the volunteer brought him out, and I pet him for a few minutes, and then left, wanting to see if my allergies would kick in.  I went into the Nordstrom, browsed the shoes, and couldn't get my mind off of the dog.  I wasn't even ALLOWED to have dogs at the place I was currently living.  After a phone call to my mom (she said no, I shouldn't do it,) and one to my boyfriend (who said to do it), I went back to the storefront.

I spoke to the same volunteer, and she brought him out again, and though he seemed nervous, he curled up right in my lap.  The volunteer said she'd never seen him do anything like that before.  She was probably just trying to get him adopted, but I didn't care-- I was hooked.  So, some $200 and a lot of paperwork later, I left the mall without a present for my mom, but with a dog I wasn't even technically allowed to have.

I will always remember walking Cash out through the mall, and how he trotted along.  He seemed to know that he wouldn't be going back to the cold cement of the West LA Animal Shelter (a high kill shelter).  As he hopped into my car, scruffy and rather dirty, I took him to petco and got the essentials--food, dishes, toys, and treats.

I snuck him into my place, and was a nervous wreck.  If I'm completely honest, I did have a bit of 'buyer's remorse,' the next day and the following few weeks.  But, that faded away until all I was left with was what a gift this little guy is.  And I'm not just saying that because he was housebroken.  He's smart, sweet, and the biggest cuddlebug around, too.

He lived with me, undetected by the management of my tiny studio apartment, in a  large complex for two and a half months, until my boyfriend and I moved in together.  Apartment hunting in LA with a dog = always a good time (a different tale for a different day). But, in the end, we found a great place that allows dogs.

The paperwork said Cash was an 'owner surrender,'-- his old family "didn't have time for him anymore."  Sometimes, I think about how he must have felt when they left him there; how he was probably scared, cold, and sad when he realized he wouldn't see them again. But, then I think of how happy he was trotting through that mall, and the sadness dulls a little.  Sometimes, it turns to anger when I wonder how in the WORLD they could have given him up--and how they could have given him up to a high kill shelter, at that.

He's the first thing in my life I've been truly responsible for.  I had dogs as a kid, but it was my parents (mostly my mom) who fed them, bathed them, took care of them.  With Cash, it's me.  And that was SO scary at first--it's a lot of responsibility.  You don't just get to up and go for the whole weekend anymore.  You have to plan.  Find arrangements for the dog.  Which can be annoying and frustrating.  But, then he cuddles with me, and all is forgotten.

The only remnant of his old life is his name--which I kept because he knew it, and I didn't hate it.

Adopted dogs are the best dogs-- they KNOW you saved them; it creates a unique and powerful bond full of love and happiness.  If you get a dog, ADOPT (from a pound or a rescue, preferably a pound/shelter).  It's worth it to save a life.

I didn't actually set out to tell the tale of Cash's adoption; I set out to talk about how my comfort is secondary to his at bedtime, but there it is.  Maybe that's a post for a different day.

For this day, I am just so glad that we found each other, Cash and I.