Shelter Dog Jackpot

Admittedly, this post doesn’t have anything at all to do with books or food, or even fitness for that matter. But I’m so stinking excited, I just have to share. Our family recently hit the Shelter Dog Jackpot and I want to encourage you too as well. Here’s some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along this journey. First, here’s our Jackpot:


Meet Barkley. He’s about 5 or 6 months old. He’s a boxer mix. Our home has been a big adventure for him but he’s adjusting well. Sometime in early November he was found wandering around the local hospital. Animal control picked him up and after a 7 day hold for owner reclaiming, he was offered up for adoption. I first saw him on a facebook post or petfinder – I’m not sure which. That was back in early November. We finally connected with him on December 31st. I can’t believe that such a great dog stayed at the shelter for that long. Just think of how many other amazing dogs are just waiting on their forever homes as well.

Initially we thought we might like a smaller dog so we tried out another shelter first. This shelter was my first experience with shelter dogs and boy it’s obvious. We tried our local shelter. The manager was very kind and arranged her schedule to be there a bit late that night since it was so difficult for both my husband and I to get there after our commute. When I arrived there were about 5 kids between the ages of 5 and 9 running around playing with balls, toy guns, and a hoola hoop. I had a particular dog in mind and so I asked if I could meet him. She invited me into the dog runs but also volunteered to bring him out. Due to the chaos, I agreed to let him be brought out. The only place we could be with the dog was outside with the rowdy kids. This really amped up this dog. He just wanted to run and play with the boys. He didn’t give a rats patootie about my kids. And the more those boys played the more crazy that dog got!! I had visions of a bull in a china shop in my house. Eventually, I was able to get to a quiet spot in the back of the building. While the dog did calm down considerably, he never really warmed to us. I guess we weren’t his cup of tea any more than he was ours. This is also the time that I discovered he had diarrhea. When I brought it to the shelter manager’s attention, she explained that he’d eaten some cat food. I thought, hmm, not trying to take home a sick dog.

There was another dog that I really liked on the Facebook page but my family wasn’t crazy about. I thought, well we’re here. Might as well meet her too. This one I went back to bring out. The shelter manager gave me the leash and explained that all of the dogs are afraid of the hallway so just get her through there. She hated it!! It was very difficult to get her out and once I did, she puked at my feet. Then went nuts. I was concerned that maybe there was ‘something’ in that shelter. Again, no sick dogs for me!!

So fast forward a couple of weeks. We’ve pet sit a friend’s dog and become absolutely POSITIVE that we are indeed big dog people. So we’re ready to consider something a bit bigger. Lab mix most likely. I find that another local shelter has a number of lab mixes available. I also find this article on petfinder to help me have a more successful shelter visit. I especially recommend that At The Shelter section. Anyway, we go and do all of the steps of the article. We narrow our list down to 3 dogs who seem they might be good to come out and really visit with the family. The first one passes everything but we were smitten. Thought we’ll meet the other 2 as well. Then we’ll decide.

This is the point that I should really make it clear that this is my and the kids’ dog. Hubby was raised on a farm and animals just shouldn’t be in the house. But he knew I was a dog person when he married me and he tolerates it because he’s a good man. And don’t let him fool ya too much – he’ll baby talk, play, and enjoy the fur babies once they get home!!

So the next one we decide to meet is the boxer mix. Not a lab – but he passed all of the steps in the article and just as cute as can be. Shelter Officer goes to get him on the leash, and ends up carrying him because he’s not great on a leash. I get the leash and lead him out to meet the family. As soon as he’s through the door, he runs to my husband and lays at his feet. After some sweet talk, and love, he rolled over for a belly rub. Needless to say, we had our dog. Never even got the chance to meet the 3rd pup on the list.

Barkley has been fantastic. He’s mostly housebroken and responds to quite a few commands. We’re working on crate training, which is getting better. Having come from a shelter, I imagine being confined isn’t at the top of his list. But he’s seemed to figure out that the crate is just a temporary arrangement and is much more willing to participate. He’s a sweet, smart boy who is eager to please and quick to learn. Our shelter dog is a perfect addition to our family.

I hope you’ll consider a rescue for your next pet. Additionally, I hope the tips in the above article help you to identify the perfect dog for your family too.


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