Puppy Breath

We have a new member of the family. Her name is Chloe, and even though she joined us less than 24 hours ago, I'm already in love. How not? Look at that face!

I have written about having a puppy urge for a while now, but the time was finally right. I started scouring the humane society websites, and rescue organizations and classified ads, too. Then I started to get worried.

You see, we decided (after many long discussions) that the right dog for us would be another Australian Cattle Dog. That's what our wonderful, OCD, willful, barfy blue shedding machine is, and she is a terrific dog. Don't be fooled by all the bitching I do about her; she's a great dog and I love her. I started lurking around the Cattle Dog rescue sites. It was pretty scary.

After reading the "About Us" pages on most of those rescue organization's sites, and reading their applications for adoption, I started to get a bad feeling. They asked some of the most intrusive questions. OK, I get it. These folks put a lot of love and effort and heartache into helping animals that have been badly mistreated, neglected, abused or discarded. They don't want all that effort to go for naught and wind up placing the dog with a fate as bad as the one they saved it from. I get that. I understand why they want to know if I've ever surrendered an animal before and why. I understand why they want to know what behaviors I would find so unacceptable that I would give up on the dog. I get it.

Why do you need to know what I do for a living, my household's gross annual income, or if I live in a site-built home or a mobile home? Asking if I live in an apartment: I can almost see that, depending on the dog. But if I lived in a mobile home, how would that make me unsuitable? How is that your business, anyway? If you're trying to find out if I can afford to care for a dog, then ask me. You don't need to fish about for a financial statement.

The bad feeling increased when I read an article by Emily Yoffe about how she was rejected by an animal rescue place, and then I went on to read the comments. Oh my stars! Something is way off track here, folks. It looks a lot like a tax-sheltered, legal way of hoarding dogs and rejecting people. The article points out that some rescue organizations don't adopt animals out. They are more on a hopefully-permanent foster plan, and the organization will inspect at will, reclaiming the dog if they so choose.

I was thinking very seriously about giving up on adopting a rescue dog and looking instead for a puppy from a breeder or just a family whose pet had a litter. I looked at a lot of breeder sites. We still felt like it would be better to get a rescue dog if we could. Since I'm not one to give up too easily, I kept watching and reading, looking for the right place for us.

I saw a very promising dog on one listing and emailed the organization. After several days with no reply, I called the foster person. She told me that the dog had been adopted out right after Christmas, and they just never did seem to get her taken off the site. Now I was wondering if I was looking over lists of dogs who weren't available, anyway.

And then. Then I found Noah's Ark Rescue. I read their adoption application. Every question was about reasonable fact-finding, not intrusive anima-naziism. I looked at the pictures of the adoptable dogs. I kept checking. I noticed that dogs were added and removed from the listing regularly enough that someone was actually attending to their web pages. Then four days ago, I saw Chloe. She was listed as a four-month-old Australian Cattle Dog (aka ACD, Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, Cattle Dog). I think she has some Australian Shepherd, too, since you don't see the blue eye or a blue merle coat in a Heeler. She was the right age, has a great look of intelligent interest in her striking eyes and she is the breed we were looking for. Deep breath: I emailed the person on the listing.

She replied right away. We exchanged a few emails over the next two days and the Sweet Hubs and I were approved as adoptive parents to a young bundle of furry joy. We met her yesterday, fell in love immediately and took her home. The kind woman with Noah's Ark Rescue was very helpful and friendly. It is clear to me that they haven't lost sight of their mission. They are more interested in finding suitable, loving, forever homes for the rescued pets than in over-zealously staying in control of every aspect of the animal's lives ad infinitum.

Chloe is a darling girl. Ruthie approves of her, too. I feel so incredibly lucky that we are the ones who got to bring her home. She is out helping the Sweet Hubs get the garden ready for spring right now. True to her breed(s), she is every bit the Velcro dog. She sticks like glue to either one of us. She got to see and smell her first javelina, and knew right away that he was not someone to fool with. She bristled and barked and stuck close to her people. She is also nonplussed by Chihuahuas. Smart dog.

She has a lot to learn in life. That's what being a puppy means. She comes when you call her, though, and is learning to sit. She takes a treat oh-so-nicely. She is already learning the family whistle that means, "Look at that!". And she learned that she does not get a good result when she tries to take the ball from the old OCD ACD. Ruthie isn't about to put up with that. She also has a good start on "Give", dropping her chew-toy into my hand when I ask for it. I start that one quickly with a puppy because I like my shoes. :D

Please do visit a humane society or a rescue if you are looking for a new member of your family. Don't be scared by the horror stories; just do your homework. If you live in Arizona, I HIGHLY recommend Noah's Ark Rescue.

(With my apologies for being so INactive on last week's linkup. I've been sick. :-(  Waaa waaa waaa.)