Congrats to San Diego-ish for covering something so near and dear to my heart... animal adotions. After college, and after a breakup, I found myself living alone. I was given a cat, then another. When the first was hit by a car (and after I stopped being so devastated about the loss), I convinced my landlord to allow me to adopt a dog. "As long as she doesn't bite, bark, or dig," they told me.
I thought about it long and hard. I went to the shelter at least 5 different times, greeting and petting every dog along the way. This was back before the new shelter was built, when overcrowding resulted in sometimes 3 or 4 dogs sharing a cage, and having to endure the river of poo that ran in front of the cages.
On October 5, 2000, I found my girl. She was with three other dogs, in the last and darkest corner of the kennel. The three dogs up front were jumping and barking and tail wagging and all licked my hands and face as I pressed again the fencing. Then she came out from behind the wall and looked at me, uninterested, but gave me a lifted eyebrow. She was quiet and shy and I thought would be a great mellow dog for my one bedroom apartment.
The shelter requires that you visit with the dog, so when the worker came to do our "meet and greet" her tail went under her legs and she wouldn't move. The girl had to pick her up, and she peed all over her. We went to the grass area and the dog came up to me, sniffed me a little, attempted to play with a ball, and then she came and sat next to me, laying on her back in a submissive posture.
Because the shelter has limited medical staff, they tend to only spay and neuter the dogs that seem immediately adoptable, so I paid my fees and had to wait 24 hours before I could pick her up and bring her home. If you've ever been to my house, you know that Pascha is still a shy girl- the obvious victim of abuse in her former life- but she's totally sweet and loving (though terrified of my camera). She lets me know anytime anyone is coming through my yard and has proven to be a good guard dog. All my life I've had shelter dogs and I've never had a complaint. Even when I introduced Pascha to my cat Kiwi, they got along from the start. In the meantime, I've taken in two more stray cats that I found...or that found me... and we're a happy little family.
It makes me sad to know the shelters are full, but in an effort to be a no-kill or low-kill shelter, the San Diego Department of Animal Control is being pro-active and is waiving the already low adoption fees. Read about it at San Diego-ish. This is a limited offer, the waived fees are for cats 6 months and older and dogs 5 years and over. The offer will last from August 18 through September 1. Check out the animals online or as I did, go check out the animals for yourself. Being a pet owner isn't easy and it isn't cheap, but you can't put a price on the benefits and rewards of having a loving pet (or 4).
"Don't breed or buy while shelter animals die."