Happy belated 4th of July! Here's some patriotic jello from our BBQ yesterday to get you through your July 5th:
|Made by my cousin Jennie, the Presidentress. For a tutorial click here!|
The Friday before close (March 17th) as I was getting ready for work, I was checking through my emails and noticed one from Purina's Adopt-A-Pet. If you're thinking about adopting a pet and don't know about this tool, you should. Anthony and I had been talking about getting a dog for our house for a long time, and at some point in December-ish I set up a search alert on this site.
You enter the type of pet your looking for - everything from species to breed to sex and/or age, and then enter a mile radius from your zip code, and the search brings up a list of all adoptable animals at shelters and fosters within that radius. You can set an alert to tell you when animals like what you're looking for come up for adoption...and that's how one morning at 4:30 I opened my email and saw this face staring up at me:
I clicked in to the little profile and read the description...he was absolutely everything Anthony and I were looking for. The color, the breed, the age...and that face.
I texted Anthony a screenshot of his picture and profile and asked what he thought. We were so close to closing on the house...did we take a chance and apply, or did we just wait?
I'll tell you what, people: I take chances on houses, not puppies.
By the time I got to work and plopped myself down, all I was thinking about was that pooch, and the first thing I did was go to the shelter's webpage, fill out an application, and send it over. I wasn't about to take chances at losing that face.
We waited all day to hear something, but no dice. That evening when I left work I made the mistake (or perhaps it wasn't?) of creeping the adoption event Facebook page and saw that someone else was asking about this puppy. I quickly Facebook messaged the shelter, and then waited hours until Anthony got home with no response.
Oh no. Oh no no no no no no. I was panicking. I couldn't let someone else get him. Someone who wouldn't love him as much! I wasn't about to lose this little guy too.
Anthony agreed, wholeheartedly. We discussed where we would keep him, and agreed my mom's house. Best to ask for forgiveness, rather than permission, right? ;) Then we decided that we'd be up early the next morning, and drive the 35 minutes from his sister's to the adoption event at the Geneva Petco.
And that's just what we did. All of our Saturday morning gym plans went out the window. We got up, threw on some semi decent clothes (they really weren't decent, you'll see in a minute), and got ourselves to the store 30 minutes before the event started. They were still setting up and there were no puppies in sight. We hovered awkwardly for a few moments before someone asked if she could help us. She turned out to be Tammi, the director of the shelter. I told her we'd gotten an email for Blu, we were VERY interested and wanted to meet him, and that if we were all a fit and got approved we wanted to adopt him. I let her know that I'd sent an application the day before as well.
And that was when we found out that they had THIRTY EIGHT adoptions scheduled for that day. Between 10 and 1. She said that she could pull up our application, but she still had to run credit and background checks on us and we would have to wait around and see if things worked out in our favor...which meant we might not get to adopt him.
We said okay, and decided we'd just have to "wait and see" (a common theme in life, right?). We walked around Petco, I purchased some hamster things I needed and then we went back in and planted ourselves at the front of the adoption event. We said hi to the puppies that were trickling in, ready to fight off anyone who so much as thought the name "Blu".
At one point, another shelter volunteer came over and asked us if she could help. I made what must have been a very desperate plea for this dog, finishing with, "We will literally do anything to adopt him! Anything we can do, we'll do it!" She said she'd see what she could do, walked over to Tammi who glanced up at us and then said something to the volunteer, and then pulled out her phone (as it turns out, she was pulling up our application).
It gave me hope, even though I didn't know what she was doing (Anthony was still wary that we'd walk away without our pup).
Finally, about half an hour after the event started, we spotted "Blu" walking in with his foster mom. He was just as adorable in real life as in the pictures. We were already in love. Tammi came over and introduced us to Karen, Blu's foster mom, and told her to grill us hard. To ask us anything and everything, and we said, "Fire away!". We knew going into the adoption, because of the "pitbull" breed this puppy had been assigned, that we would be scrutinized harder than if we were looking at another breed. No shelter wants their dog to end up as a fighter, or a bait dog, and unfortunately people look for "bully" breeds for that reason.
So we sat down and started talking to Karen and playing with "Blu". We were already so in love that we couldn't help but take pictures too:
|Saying 'hi' to another foster pup, Fred. FYI, Fred was adopted a few weeks ago, and then his sister Ginger's foster family ended up adopting her!|
|The first picture of my boys together. All "Blu" wanted to do was sit in our laps and cuddle!|
And now some a series of extra cute still-an-orphan pictures, to photo brag:
|So handsome and relaxed around everyone!|
|That. Face. It STILL gets me and now I see him every day!!! Do rescue pups ever loose the "don't abandon me" look???|
Karen told us all about "Blu".
He was one of a group of puppies that was rescued from animal control in a random county in Alabama. He was the only puppy in his litter that was found, as a stray...cue heartbreak for whatever happened to the rest of his litter :'(. The county he was in does not adopt about pitbulls, or pit mixes. "Blu" had two ways out - either a shelter had to transport him out, or he would be euthanized. I looked at his little face and wanted to cry when she said that. He was sitting on my lap and I hugged him even tighter.
Safe Haven selected "Blu" for transport (along with nearly 40 other pups, almost all of whom were adopted that day), and he made his way to Illinois where Karen was waiting to foster him. He wasn't available for adoption right away because he needed to be dewormed and checked out, and that Saturday was the first day he was available to adopt.
Quiet, cuddly, and supremely chill, we knew from sitting there with him that "Blu" was meant to be ours.
And then Karen mentioned something neither of us had noticed. Hidden under his collar on the back of his neck was a small, white mark. An "Angel Kiss".
Anthony and I looked at each other, and I almost started crying (again). We were thinking the exact same thing...we knew this puppy was picked for us. I don't care what anyone else thinks or believes, Anthony and I looked at each other thinking that this dog was meant to be ours, and the baby we lost chose him for us.
After a few hours getting to know him and talking to Karen, she told us we could take him for a wander around the store and outside. She clearly trusted that we were in this for all the right reasons, and that we'd bring him back and not steal him! We took a nice long wander around the store, took him out in the fresh air to relieve himself, and then wandered back in.
The one downside about the adoption event was that "Blu" was much bigger than all of the other puppies, which meant he couldn't play with them even though he really wanted to! We finally had the chance to take him in the gated off training area and found some toys to play with and balls to roll around for him to chase, but you could tell he wanted to scrap with some other pups! Instead he had to contend with us :P
After what felt like forever (it was almost 1:00pm!) Tammi came over to Anthony and Karen and me and said, "Well I'm sorry to say..."
...my face fell, the pit dropped out of my stomach, and I held my breath for what came next. I mean...what? Did I not pass the credit check? How do you pass a credit check to buy a house but not adopt a dog???
"...you're approved to adopt!"
My brain took a few seconds to register what she said, then all I could think was, 'WHY IS SHE SORRY???!!! That's great news!!' She and Karen had a little giggle at me, and Tammi said that we had passed everything with flying colors and, moreover, we were beyond patient. Hanging around all day sitting on the floor at Petco apparently shows you like animals!
We had to wait a bit longer for our turn to fill out paperwork, during which we walked around gathering supplies - food, a collar and leash, a few toys, and most importantly a dog tag that officially christened our new pup with the name Token. Then we sat down, went through all the signing and payments, and around 2:00pm (nearly five hours after arriving), we walked left the Geneva Petco with the newest member of our family.
We even got our first family picture and everything. We look terrible and tired in it, but we were SO happy!
|We legit look like we just rolled out of bed, and Token looked ready to crawl into one!|
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~A few months on:
It's now been just over 3 months since we adopted Token, and I cannot express how happy we are that we have him. He has been such an amazing addition to our family - sweet and gentle and cuddly and adorable. He's still growing (duh), and we're fairly positive at this point that he was mixed with something lanky and lean (in addition to the pitbull part) and that he'll end up being just that: Lanky, lean, and muscular, rather than thick and short like many pits. He still has a good deal of puppy fat to lose, and he still looks soft, but at times his muscle comes out and it's amazing to see how he's changing. It will be great to see him grow into an adult!
|I don't have many pictures that show how much he's grown...but in the picture on the left he's about half the size of Nala (his cousin) and on the right...well you can see he's much bigger now :P|
He's well behaved...and he's smart. Wise beyond his little puppy years, and he has excelled at training. He's so smart that he knows when he's ignoring you or being disobedient, and he gets salty as hell when he gets in trouble...but he always walks over, ears tucked back in apology a few minutes later, hoping you'll still cuddle with him.
Though he has boundless energy at times, he's also incredibly lazy, and will take a nap with you just as willingly as he'll play. He enjoys fetch and tug of war, and his favorite toys are ropes or socks.
Even though we promised we wouldn't let him, Token sleeps in bed with us. Normally the night starts off with him on the floor, and around 1 or 2 am he takes it upon himself to jump into bed, and wedge himself right smack dab between us, however hard he has to try. He's been known to climb on top of us if there's no room for him, and wait for us to roll to the side to grant him the space he's seeking.
He loves other dogs just as much as he loves people, and has even made his way into Uncle Stewart's wary heart!
|This was the only picture I got of them together. Dogs being dogs, I guess!|
Token also has the advantage of being able to play with his cousin Nala (picture up top), and since we finally got Token fixed they can have unsupervised play dates now!
Phew...that's a lot, but that's the fun braggy stuff I can say! I was going to post another 10 or so pictures, but I thought that might be overkill :P. I post plenty of him on Instagram, so make sure you're following me there if you want to see more!
Finally, I could not put this post up in good conscience without mentioning Safe Haven Dog Rescue (website and Facebook links - Facebook is more updated with currently adoptable dogs). They were absolutely amazing to us (as you can probably tell from the post). Everyone we met and talked to the day we adopted Token was so nice and welcoming, and I'm Facebook friends with Karen and send her pictures of him every so often.
Safe Haven has adoption events regularly (I believe every other week) from the Geneva, IL Petco. Token's adoption fee was $300, which included all vaccinations to date (puppies are vaccinated on an age-appropriate schedule, and you pay for any vaccinations after adoption), as well as basic neutering from a partner clinic (blood panel and heart worm tests were extra). They also provide you with a micro chip that the vet can insert (Token was chipped when he was neutered). FYI - in the state of Illinois, if you rescue a dog it is mandatory that you have the dog fixed, which is something I didn't know before all of this!
Anyways...I would 100% adopt from them again. Anthony and I were so happy that Tammi and Karen took the extra time with us that day and made Token's adoption possible - he has been a better addition to our family that we ever would have dreamed, and we're so happy he's ours.