Why We Rescue Dogs

Even while we dated, Tyler and I always knew we would have dogs.  We would talk about what kinds of dogs we liked, how we saw them fitting into our lives, and how great it would be once we finally had a dog of our own.  We also talked extensively about how we had no sensible reason to get a puppy.  Tyler and I both work full time, and while all dogs require time, love, and commitment – a puppy requires SO much more time and care initially that Tyler and I simply did not have to give.  This makes us ideal candidates for adopting dogs that are out of the puppy stage.

Lucy 3

In our first year of marriage we found our dog Lucy at the Hermiston Pet Rescue in eastern Oregon.  When we got her, they guessed she was about seven years old.   She lived on a farm before we got her, and her owners foolishly decided that because she was older, they would abandon her to get a younger dog.  Truly despicable, in my opinion.  Dogs are not a commodity that you upgrade to get the newer model.  To us, dogs are family.  Lucy was a wonderful dog for us.  We loved her warmth, her calm nature, and her constant cuddles. And we loved her every moment we had her, and we will keep loving her even though she is gone now.

Lucy sleeping

Many of you mourned with us when we lost our dog Lucy this winter.  We went a few weeks without a dog.  I anticipated spending a few months in mourning before we got another dog.  But here’s the thing – those few weeks were torture for me.  I woke up in the morning wanting to let someone out for their pee break.  I went to fill the dog bowl – but nobody was there.  The absence of Lucy stared me in the face every moment I was home.  It was agony.  I felt like a dog owner without a dog.  I decided to start looking at Petfinder to see if there was a right dog out there for us.  And I knew that if we found the right dog for us, it wouldn’t be a disservice to Lucy.  While she was alive, Lucy got all the love we had to give her.  And now that she was gone, it was time for us to give our puppy loving to another dog.  To me, there are just too many dogs out there that need homes for me to sit for months and wait until I feel ready.  Because I was ready the very next day.

The first week in January, I started actually visiting shelters.  We knew already that we were hoping to move to Seattle, so we were looking for a smaller dog (smaller than 25lbs), and hopefully a younger dog.  The year and a half we had with Lucy simply was not long enough, and we wanted our next dog to live long enough to meet our future children (which is still several years away, in case you were wondering).  We wanted younger, but still a dog out of the potty-training puppy stage.  We went to Out West Pet Rescue in Prosser, WA looking for a dog named  “Speckles” we had seen on Petfinder (Tyler actually re-named him before we ever met him.  We both hated the name Speckles.  The mask he sported reminded both of us of Two Face from Batman.  As soon as I showed Tyler a picture of him he said “If we get that dog, we have to name him Harvey”).  He was picked up as a stray in Sunnyside, WA.  They guessed he was a cross between a Papillion and a Springer spaniel, and weighed about 15lbs.  Out West started out as (and still is) a dog groomer, who kept having people drop off strays they had found, saying “You deal with dogs.  Think you can find a home for him?”  Their dogs live in foster homes (not cooped up in kennels), are up to date on shots, spayed/neutered, and healthy.  By the time we got to Out West, we had seen and met over a dozen dogs that morning at other shelters.  Some were nice enough, but just didn’t connect with us.  Many didn’t have the right energy level or weren’t the right size for what we are able to provide for a dog.  We were a bit worn out by the time we got all the way out to Prosser.  Then this little guy jumped into our laps.

Harvey Boy Face

We were done for.  That face!  He immediately started licking our faces.  He had the wiggliest little bottom and the happiest little face.  He was a bit younger than we were hoping for, but he was potty trained and crate trained.  And he was awesome.  We went to get some lunch so we could talk it over, but ultimately, we knew.  We were his and he was ours.  Just like Lucy before him, this dog had been without a home for several months just waiting for someone to scoop him up and love him.

Harvey Boy Sleepies

This little guy fits so well into our lives.  He is mostly very sleepy.  This is how he spends most of his days, curled up on the couch or in a bed.  Or asleep in the sun.

Harvey Sunbathe

Because he was so young (about a year old), we got him while he was still very much into chewing.  We definitely lost a few shoes at first (and underpants.  Why is that such a thing for puppies?).  Then we discovered rawhide.  Sweet, sweet rawhide.  Our shoes have been safe ever since.

Harvey Chews

Probably my favorite thing about our new little guy is how he loves being active.  He’s such an energetic little guy!  He is always up for a walk – or a run – any day of the week!  He LOVES playing with dogs at the dog park and chasing tennis balls (not so great at bringing them back, but we’re working on it).  He is SUCH a blast to take adventuring around Tri-Cities, and I know he will be the perfect adventure puppy in Seattle, too!

Harvey Running

We can even take him off leash and trust him to come back to us when we call – something we were never able to do with  Lucy girl (likely because we adopted Harvey boy at a much younger age).  He makes me happy every single day and I love him to pieces.  He is there to cuddle with when we miss Lucy.  He is there to go on an adventure when we want to.  He runs to the gate when we come home and jumps up and down like a maniac when he first sees us – no matter if it’s been five minutes or five hours.  He may be a totally different dog than Lucy was (seriously, night and day), but that doesn’t mean he is any less perfect for us.

Harvey Crazy

So here’s where we tie the title back in.  This is why we rescue dogs instead of buying from breeders.  If I could have this little man in my life from a shelter, why on earth would I buy a puppy?  Sure, there are breeds that Tyler and I know and love (he’s crazy about Beagles, I’m in love with Yorkies).  But a yorkie puppy is absolute minimum $1,000 (up to over $3,000) – and that’s probably from a puppy farm.  Both of our dogs cost less than $150, came potty trained, crate trained, spayed/neutered, and well cared for.  Neither of them have had emotional scars or abuse that makes them difficult dogs.  Both have been very sociable with both people and other dogs, no problems around children, and have been perfect companions for us.  If you are thinking about getting a dog, please, please, please, look at shelters first.  If you work full time, please consider adopting an older dog (there are so many and they are so great).  If you have your heart set on a puppy, please still look at shelters first.  Often when people have  litter of puppies that they can’t keep, they end up at shelters or on petfinder.com.  Buying from breeders only encourages breeders to keep producing more dogs, and there are so many wonderful dogs out there that need homes.  Dogs are awesome and everyone should get one – but please get one that really, desperately needs you from a shelter.  Pretty please.

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