The search for a dog had begun to feel like shopping, which I hated. This is a living, breathing LIFE here. I knew I was capable of being a great dog mom and I had the means to be one, so why would I NOT adopt?
I was still consumed with fears though… What if it doesn’t work out? What if dog doesn’t like me? What if dog can’t handle my long hours? What if I can’t handle the guilt of leaving dog in crate for those long hours? What if dog isn’t trained? Is now the right time? And on and on and on. Even so I knew all the dogs in all the Detroit rescues on all the websites from Alfie to Zeke. I knew my search criteria – male, pitbull, adult, medium, gets along with other dogs. I knew that none of them were right.
And, total confession, I needed to work with a rescue that wasn’t going to call my landlord, who would undoubtedly share the 20lb dog limit. There were other dogs in the building that were the hefty 80lb mark who had been rescued prior to their owner’s move-in date. I thought the system was cray, so I was going for my medium size dream pitbull love.
I was on a summer road trip with my mom. It had been about a year of yabbering on about potentially maybe possibly getting a dog. Mom shared that she would rather have a female granddog, so it would be easier for dog to get along with our dog at home — Winston. We soon were talking girl names. I loved the name Juniper, after my favorite Bath + Body Works scent Juniper Breeze. As I said that, we immediately passed under Juniper Ave in Philadelphia. It was a *SIGN* – literally and figuratively. 🙂 I then came to Juniper Olive.
About two days later, in Cape May, I was looking at those sites again. I guessed there wouldn’t be many new additions. But there was. I saw her picture and immediately thought “That is the most beautiful being I have ever seen.” Then, immediately emailed, called, and texted to have a meet and greet.
But she wasn’t Juniper Olive yet. I was waiting to meet ‘Mystery’ – the dog who’s story was a, well, mystery. Some guys had called the rescue and said, “Come pick up these puppies or we’ll take them to the pound [read : kill shelter].” So the rescue, Mutts of Motown, agreed the puppies to transport them to a puppy rescue. Just puppies, right? They’re easier to adopt out! They followed through on their end of the bargain, and they picked up the puppies, which were really two adult dogs. Not puppies.
I am beyond grateful EVERY SINGLE DAY that they did.
When I met ‘Mystery’ in the back of a pet shop at an adoption event, I was unsure. She was less unsure. She sat by my feet while inside, quite happy to receive all the attention, but OUTSIDE — was a whole other ballgame. I slowly began to realize that this dog has never really been able to be a dog. Even on the concrete sidewalks of Detroit, she had clearly never seen or smelled to touched the outside for very long. This foster-based rescue had her in the only place left — veterinary boarding.
I immediately adopted her for a month on a ‘Foster to Adopt’ contract, which meant that I had a month to decide if I would adopt her for real or continue fostering. It was the least I could do to get her out of that vet kennel all day. But it also meant that my anxieties about having a dog were quelled – it was like built in insurance that gave me the confidence to go ahead.
She came to me on a Wednesday. On Friday we traveled to Pittsburgh for a wedding. It was here that she slept in her first Doubletree bed, sneaked her first Doubletree cookie, and saw her first Pennsylvania buck. Within a weekend, I was smitten. She was called Juniper Olive first by her Auntie Sarah Hann, who, I had secretly shared my girlie dog name with. It didn’t take long for me [and everyone else] to fall head over heels in love with her.
The journey from the newly named Juniper Olive to the Juniper Olive of today is long. SO many bumps in the road. I’ll save some of those stories for another day. 🙂 But know this, if you’re hesitant like I was, dive in. Dogs are work, but if you do it right, it doesn’t feel that way.
J + jo