Growing up, our family always raised dogs. Yorkies, German Shepherd/Wolves, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, we loved dogs and gave them uber-cool names like Big Dog (in Chinese), Kiki, Nini, Domino, Stimpy, et al.
My husband grew up with cats (whom I’m allergic to) and preferred their arrogant nonchalance over the slobbery, bouncing, barking, dirty and easily distracted canine species.
Last October, after our cat, Mao (means “cat” in Chinese –told you we rock the pet names!) disappeared :(, I got it in my head that I wanted another dog. I had forgotten the work that goes into a dog–but we might get to that later.
Getting a dog presented many obstacles, starting with convincing the husband. One day, I told him I thought I might want another dog. He said no. I begged. He said no. I changed tactics. I told him that I might want another kid. He said no. So then I asked if we could get another dog. He said maybe. I took that as his acquiescence and started looking.
I wanted a white pit bull terrier and our first attempt in getting one was an abysmal failure. So started the rounds in animal shelters across 3 counties. Someone on Facebook recommended the Petfinder App on the iPhone. And so the obsession began.
Attempt 2: We stopped in at the Riverside Animal Shelter and there was a litter of pitbull puppies. None of them white. We decided to just adopt a golden yellow one and on the way to the adoption office, a dog on the adoptable dog’s board jumps out at me and steals my heart. Only problem: it’s a chihuahua. (The agreement between the still reluctant hubby and I was NO SMALL DOGS). I asked to see him anyway. The puppy just happened to be in surgery to be neutered to go to an adoption show the next day. Dejectedly, I went home, with thoughts of the baby chihuahua in my mind. Somehow, after much persistent nagging, I convinced my husband to go see the dog the next day and try to catch it before going to the adoption show. When we got there it was too late. He was already off. A family heard my plight and said, “Oh you mean the dog show at the park down the street? A little black and white puppy? Yeah, we just saw him!” So, armed with only the name of the park we set off, me googling all the riverside parks along the way. We got there 40 minutes too late. He had already been adopted. I asked to see him and was actually relieved we didn’t get him as he looked nothing like his picture and looked exactly like a chihuahua. (Nothing against Chihuahuas)
Attempt 3: One night at dinner, finishing my meal before everyone else, as usual, I started playing with the Petfinder App –and saw, “THE ONE.” He had no name except in large CAPS “URGENT DOWNEY SHELTER.” His profile said that due to overcrowding their animals were being euthanized daily. He was a cute boxer/pit mix with a crooked ear. I called the next morning. The lady said he was available to adopt and reassured me he was still alive. I told her it would take me over an hour to get there so I wanted to make sure.
When we got there, the shelter was dismal. Five to six little dogs in one small, smelly caged area, dingy and sad little dogs staring longingly up at passerby, dogs that had clearly given up hope laying sadly in a corner of their cell. I found, “THE ONE” ensconced in a tiny prison with 5 other dogs, all jumping frantically trying desperately to get our attention. But I only had eyes for the little white sleeping dog with the crooked ear. I asked to see him and was told to wait. Then I was told to go to the first office where they proceeded to tell me that they were not “showing” dogs today due to being short-staffed. I implored and pleaded, then said, fine, we’ll adopt him anyway, sight unseen. They then informed me that the dog was not adoptable until it was temper tested and then we’d have to be interviewed, but there was already a person on the waiting list. So, long story, long drive = no dog.
Attempt 4: Three days later, we called to confirm the dog was indeed adopted and he was. A few days after that, THE ONE was still on Petfinder and so on an off chance I called. He had been returned due to an illness no one could agree on. Either Kennel Cough or Pneumonia, I begged my husband to make the trip anyway so we could see for ourselves. One week after we first saw the little guy, he had deteriorated to skin and bones and looked as if he was on his death bed. I cried and we went home, knowing that we didn’t have the kind of money it would take to save that dog.
Attempt 5: My friend Garrett Davis came to the rescue with a friend who had two white pitbull puppies. We made an appointment to go see them. Then I got cold feet. I wasn’t ready to deal with a dog, as I was in a busy and stressful time in my work and I was fearful of the pain that comes with losing a pet you love and grew up with (having lost my childhood dog a year before that). I canceled.
Attempt 6: I saw a beautiful dog on the Petfinder App. We got through the application process and the rescue wanted $375 for her. We passed.
Attempt 7: We had plans to be out of town twice in 3 weeks so I knew that after the first week of May, I would be home for a while. So, Saturday afternoon we made the trek to the Riverside Animal Shelter, who just happened to have a grand opening that day. We fought our way through crowds of people (we HATE crowds of people) and saw just 2 little black puppies in a bin–friendly, calm and loving. So, holding my breath, I waited impatiently in line. Wishing I was 5 years old so I could hop from foot to foot impatiently and have it be socially acceptable. I held my breath all the way through signing the papers and actually getting the puppy into the car before I accepted the fact that no one was going to stop me for some reason or another on why we can’t have the dog.
So, long story and a very long road to welcome the newest member of our family, Bentley: the Girl Ninja (where she got the name is another long story for another day).
I can’t get her to sit still enough when she’s awake to get shots.