Dog Adoption & Rescue: a family tradition

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a dog fanatic. Talk about bringing me joy… my dogs rock my world. They make me feel like a rock star EVERY time I walk into the door – even when I’m only outside for a minute!

Dogs provide love and companionship that stands up to the most loyal of any living creature. If I’m feeling stressed or down, my dogs are instinctively by my side and almost magically boost my mood.

The only “creatures” who rock my world more so than my dogs are my kids, so  I’m tickled that my grown children have big hearts for dogs AND share my passion for adoption/rescue. Both of my kids have adopted dogs in their family.

Two adorable dogs

Pet Adoption and Rescue

I’m a huge advocate of pet adoption and rescue, and have adopted all my dogs from our local shelter.  There are lots of dogs at animal shelters and rescue groups just waiting for their new family to take them home.

Each of our adopted fury babies have fit into our family perfectly, and I feel like they were at that shelter just waiting for me to bring them home.

Since our family has a clear tradition of adopting or rescuing dogs, I want to tell you a little about each dog because:

  1. I like talking about my dogs and my grand-dogs.
  2. To demonstrate that rescue dogs make great family pets.

Dog #1: Lucky (Lab Mix)

We adopted Lucky and he captured our hearts. Think adoption first!Lucky was our first dog that we adopted from the local shelter in early 2004. Lucky joined our family at the age of six. I had no intention to get a dog, but my son was completely intent on getting a dog. Eventually he got me to “just take a look” and the rest is history.

Since we live on a lake, Lucky quickly learned to love the water and became what we consider a professional dock diver. We  had to teach him how to swim, but we definitely didn’t have to teach him how to open presents! I couldn’t even get wrapping paper out without Lucky getting incredibly excited. For any gift-giving occasion,  we had to give Lucky some presents to open or he would steal the other gifts. So funny to think about.

Lucky passed in 2009, but he was responsible for helping us realize the love and companionship that a dog can bring to a family. He paved the way for all the next dogs to whom we would open our hearts. Our “Lucky dog”  left us with incredible memories for which we are thankful.

Dog #2: Kobe (Havanese/Cavalier Mix)

Kobe is our amazing dog we adopted from our local shelter. Think adoption first!Not long after Lucky passed, I secretly started “stalking” our local shelter. I knew every single dog in that shelter. Although there were some very good dogs, none gave me that “this is the one!” feeling. One day I called the shelter and said, “This is Ellen. (They knew me by name.) Did any new dogs come in since yesterday noon?”

At first the director replied that they had not. Then she said “Well, you’re looking for a big dog, so no.” After a few questions, I was on my way to meet the three new “smaller” dogs they had received.

I met the first one…nice dog but not quite right. Same with the second dog. Then a worker came in carrying the third dog. I will never forget that moment.

My eyes popped wide open as she put the dog down and it came to me. MY HEART STOPPED! I took a loud breath in, and asked if I could pick him up. She kind of laughed, and said, “of course!”

My heart had been stolen. I confessed to my family that I had been taking daily trips to the shelter and the next day we all went to the shelter to meet this dog. Long story short, at the age of 1 1/2, Kobe became our awesome dog.

He is so sweet. All of our house guests think that Kobe loves them uniquely. (Don’t tell them, but Kobe treats everyone like they are the king/queen of the world.) Several people have commented that he should be a therapy dog and he does seem to have an intense sense of compassion.

I’ve taken him to dog agility classes and he had fun and did great. Smart dog. He’s slowing down as he ages, but is still as sweet as ever. He invites anyone to send him dog treats!

Our adopted dog, Kobe, is a real sweetie! Think adoption first!

Dog #3: Izzy (Lab/Boxer Mix)

Izzy was adopted into her forever home & brought her family much joy. Think adoption first!I decided that Kobe needed a playmate and started stalking the shelter again. A few weeks into “keeping my eyes open” for the right dog, I met a sweet young, smaller lab mix with a wonderful demeanor. She was dropped off at the shelter with her 10 one-day-old puppies.

I brought my son (Christopher) to meet her, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the puppies! My insistence on “no puppy” started to fade as my son was relentless about getting a puppy.  Christopher would be heading off to college 1 1/2 years later, but….enter Izzy.

Sweet, loving Izzy. She sent our world into a complete whirlwind the day she arrived into our home at the young age of 6 weeks.

Imagine the most over-active puppy you can think of, and then double triple it. That was Izzy. But six years later she is now my little love dog.

She is also the most verbal dog I have every heard. Izzy loves to play ball, swim and anything else that I’m doing. She stays by my side at all times. If I take a shower, she waits for me outside the door. If I sit in the living room, she sits in the living room.

She may get a little excited when visitors arrive at our door (actually cries with joy when our children come back home for a visit), but we love her endlessly and she is just the sweetest and cutest girl we could ask for.

Adopted/rescued dogs are awesome dogs. Think adoption first!

Dog #4: Oliver (Likely a terrier mix.)

And then there was 3. Oliver is an amazing dog who was adopted from a local shelter. Think adoption first.When my daughter, Jamie, first started dating Jim, her now husband, Jim was a cat person and NOT a dog person. No worries, we soon had him also loving dogs.

Jamie and Jim adopted Oliver from their local shelter about two years ago. Oliver (“Ollie”) was originally from Kentucky and was transferred to their local shelter. Ollie’s paws look like he’s wearing socks, but only on three paws….that’s because he left one sock in Kentucky. (There’s a whole song about Ollie’s missing sock. No, that’s not weird. It’s a little weird, but that’s ok.)

Oliver is one of the most loved little dogs ever. He jumps up on your lap like a jumping bean. He has stayed with both sets of grandparents at different times, and he is just a happy camper no matter where he is.

They have a big backyard, and during the winter Jim snow blows a maze for Ollie to run around. My two dogs love to go to Ollie’s house and play in his back yard. Ollie is simply an easy-going, good-natured little guy, and we love him lots!

Oliver adopted and happy

Dog # 5: Rudy (German Shepard Mix)

I have an amazing forever family who says I'm an amazing dog. Think adoption first!

Although Rudy technically belongs to my son’s housemate (Cale), we like to think of Rudy as part of our clan. Two twenty-something year-old guys and a puppy living in a big city 5th floor apartment with no elevator…seems somewhat like a sitcom.

Christopher and Cale both grew up with dogs, so they both got stung with dog fever at a young age. They tag-teamed the potty training thing and seem to really have a good grip on training and taking good care of Rudy.

One of Rudy’s idiosyncrasies is that he has a battle with his tail every single morning. Without doubt he will chase his tail! Be sure to follow Rudy on Instagram – he’s handsome and hilarious.

Is there a dog waiting for you?

So if you’re thinking about getting a dog, consider if adopting a dog might be right for you. Many dogs and other pets are at local shelters right now waiting for a home. They’re not worried about having a fancy house, they just want your companionship.

3 Replies to “Dog Adoption & Rescue: a family tradition”

  1. Aw, your dogs are so cute! I hope to also create a family tradition of adopting our pets. We’re not hunters nor do we show dogs, so the mix breeds at the shelter are perfect for our family. Thanks for helping create awareness.

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