Recently I decided that I wanted to be a pet owner. Having grown up with pets – two cats and a dog – I missed the companionship that they provided. I decided right away that I would only adopt a rescued animal. They are too many pets in shelters needing a home to justify getting a pet from a pet store, especially knowing you might be supporting a puppy mill.
So I found a great organization called Pet Rescues by Judy, where I stumbled upon the dog that would become mine, an adorable beagle mix that I named Kaylee. Growing up, I remember my mom saying “never get a beagle; God made them cute so you don’t kill them.” I didn’t think this would apply to Kaylee, though. After all, she’s only part beagle! I met her on Saturday and then rescued her from life with a loving family and two dogs that she loves playing with.
Okay, that’s not exactly the “rescue” you normally think of. You see, Kaylee was being raised by a foster family, who took care of her until a regular owner could be found. So I was rescuing her, but there was a step between. That step makes all the difference, though. Instead of taking her away from a place she hates, I was taking Kaylee away from a family she loved. It was sad walking away from them, especially knowing the dog would be clueless about what’s going on.
Then when we got to my car, things got interesting. Kaylee had no interest in getting into my car. In fact, she flat-out refused. It makes sense. I was a total stranger who was trying to give her a ride to who knows where. All parents tell kids to say no to that situation. The dog seemed to instinctively know it’s a bad idea. Eventually, I picked her up and put her in the car against her will, but the adventure wasn’t finished.
Being the brilliant person I am, when I was buying pet supplies the day before, I said “hey, I don’t need a dog carrier. Dogs love to ride in cars!” So I brought a dog bed, put it on the floor and expected her to curl up in it for the ride home.
She didn’t. Instead, she insisted on standing on the back seat. Not sitting, not laying, but standing. Even when driving 10 miles-per-hour through the parking lot, she kept losing her balance. I decided that a pet carrier was necessary. Luckily, there was a PetSmart across the street. I went inside, took her with me, and told the clerk “I need a carrier for her so I can take her home. Make it one that’s easy to assemble.”
You’ve never really experienced the joy of putting a dog carrier together until you’ve done it in the cramped backseat of your car while a dog is nervously panting in your ear. Eventually, I got it assembled and we rode home and everything was uneventful until she peed on my carpet.
Oh yeah. That happened on the first day of owning the dog. Way to make a good first impression, Kaylee! You see, she’s really quiet, so I didn’t correctly interpret her glancing in the general direction of the door as “hurry up, I need to go outside right now!”
Right now, we’re sort of learning about each other. I’ve learned that she doesn’t like how I decorated the apartment, because she feels a need to move everything. Your shoes shouldn’t be by the door, she thinks. They should be hidden under the couch. She also has so much energy that I think her blood is 50% sugar. The other 50? You guessed it: cocaine.
Another funny thing is that she doesn’t like to turn around and backtrack. If we’re going on a walk and I want to reverse course, I can’t simple stop and pull her leash in the opposite direction. She will refuse, pull against me, and eventually lay down. Instead, we have to make a big loop, big enough that she doesn’t realize we are now going in the opposite direction. Then she’s okay with heading back.
She is extremely stubborn and hasn’t really been trained on anything yet, but she is very affectionate. Despite all of the difficulties, I don’t regret adopting her. I knew I made the right decision the first time she heard a loud noise, got spooked and ran over to me, putting her head in my lap. And then two seconds later she started biting and chewing on me, because that’s what she does.