Every once in a while, I will hear about a dog that I can’t get out of my mind. Usually, I will post them on Potentially Perfect Dog, exclaim over them with my dog-loving friends, and follow them online (facebook, petfinder, the rescue website) until they get adopted.
Sometimes, though, I will ask my partner about fostering or adopting them if they seem like they would fit in well with our situation. About half of the time, she will bring me back to reality with some valid and well-thought out points. The other half of the time she wants to foster them, too.
When I approached my spouse about adopting, we weren’t even looking to adopt a second dog. But with the above picture of an older black pit bull and a description that said “My owner passed away and I didn’t have a place to go. I am extremely calm but I do love to go on walks” and “she is a good snuggler and great spooner” my partner surprised me by saying “Let’s go get her! You don’t wait on a Meja!” The dog did resemble one of the best dogs that we ever owned, Meja, which is probably one of the things that first attracted me to her. After learning more about her, she had us hook, line, and sinker.
An adoption application, a few reference checks, a background check, and a home visit reference later, we were on our way to meet her–4 hours away in Iowa. A little bit of a road-trip never hurt anyone.
Once we first saw her, standing quietly in her kennel and slowly wagging her tail at the people passing by, we knew she was an absolute sweetheart. The animal shelter staff brought her into the play yard to spend time with us and she just walked right up to us, kissing our faces, soliciting attention, and being an all-around sweet dog. We went on a short parallel walk with Frankie to make sure they would be compatible. After the walk we didn’t have any concerns about adopting her. We were happy to welcome her into our family and start the drive home.
We got lucky. She is a giant, sweet, sensitive couch potato that has proved to be good with dogs and cats so far. She’s got a practiced begging eye and loves to amble on walks. We LOVE her.
Although she had a name that had been hers when she came to us (and we have always kept those in the past), we realized shortly after her coming to our home that she was almost completely deaf (she can still hear some loud/sharp noises). Since I had a bad association with her previous name AND she couldn’t hear it if we called her something else, we decided to rename her Georgiana and call her Georgie. She’s named after a sister of a particularly surly literary character, Mr. Darcy.
However, adopting animals straight out of shelter situations (vs. foster homes) does have its drawbacks. The stress of the setting can be hard on the animals and it can cause behavioral issues (like anxiety and fear) and it can be difficult to evaluate their health and behavior in a shelter setting.
Georgie is 11 so we already suspected that she would have some health issues come along with her and we could tell by the way she walked she has significant arthritis. The rescue mentioned that she is quiet when out with people but will bark non-stop (to the point where she makes herself hoarse) if put in a kennel. We have a room where we can keep her instead of kenneling when we are gone, so we weren’t too concerned.
Other things that we’ve discovered about Georgie since adopting her (besides that she’s essentially deaf):
- She leaks urine. We’re hoping it’s a urinary tract infection but it could be incontinence.
- She has a giant tumor growing on the inside of her upper eyelid, it’s scratching and irritating her eye (and needs to come off, ASAP).
- She has some pretty severe separation anxiety. We are hoping it’s just temporary until her whole outlook on life re-stabilizes, but right now we can’t be out of sight (or she can’t be on a tie-down) without Georgie having a heart-breaking, anxiety-filled, panic barking meltdown. So we’re working on that.
We are taking her to the vet this week to get blood work, a urinalysis, and get started on the tumor removal process. The rescue has been fantastic and the second they heard about her tumor they told us they ripped up her adoption check so that money could go toward her health care. They were just sad they didn’t see it earlier.
One of the important things about getting an animal (any animal, even a human!) is to remember that there are no real-life health guarantees and that good health can be transient. When adding someone to your family, you’re adding them no matter what, so be prepared for a few curve balls!
We are really excited to have Georgie home with us. She’s exactly the type of dog we like–sweet as pie, not too athletic/not too sedentary, and likes to cuddle.
Welcome to the family, Georgie!