Briefly after JR and I were married, we began to entertain the idea of adopting a puppy. We were apprehensive, at first, primarily because the condo that we were renting at the time wasn't very conducive to having a dog; it was on the smaller side and there was no fenced-in yard. Even so, I found no harm in scouring the Internet for our hypothetical puppy-to-be.
If you've ever ventured into cyberspace with the sole intention of only "looking" to adopt a puppy, you know it's a similar experience as if to say you're going to the bar to have only "one" drink. Puppy faces, much like alcohol, are intended to suck you in with a zero percent chance of turning back. The second I laid eyes on George (whom was named Trout at the time), I made it my life's mission to make him ours.
As we officially began our canine conquest, I was clueless as to what this entire operation would entail. It wasn't just about finding a cute dog online and bringing it home, but rather, it was an extensive screening process that had the best interest of the animal in mind. Paperwork, a brief interview and a home visit were among the unexpected requirements of the adoption process.
Upon inquiring about G's availability, I quickly learned that this particular organization, Home Fur-Ever, was a non-profit, no-kill, foster-based rescue based out of Detroit. We soon made arrangements with his foster mom to drive out to an upcoming pet expo to meet the anticipated third member of our family.
When we arrived at the pet store, there were dogs as far as the eye could see. Some young, some old and some who were desperately seeking the opportunity to be loved. The sadness and hope in their eyes made me wish I could have rescued them all. I couldn't help but flashback to the Sally Struthers' Christian Children's Fund infomercials from the 90's that guilted you into thinking that your soul was going straight to Hell if you didn't pick up the phone right then and there to make a donation to sponsor a child. I was plagued by feelings of guilt and sadness, but nonetheless, we were there for one brown boy and one brown boy only.
After a long and and seemingly lengthy process, I received a phone call from G's foster mom who formally extended the opportunity for us to become his adoptive parents. We graciously obliged and immediately began to equip our condo for the arrival of our new fur baby.
The days following G's arrival, we slowly began to acclimate to his presence while he quickly launched us into an uncharted territory of steady responsibility. Potty-training, obedience and middle of the night disruptions were to name a few. It was the closest we'd ever come to experiencing what life would be like with an actual baby, and it's something I've always believed all couples should experience before reproducing one day. I truly believe those long puppy nights helped us prepare for what would later become the real thing.
Here we are five years down the road and George's homecoming still remains one of the happiest moments of my life. He's as kind and gentle today as he was the day we brought him home. He's not only our dog, but rather, our friend and companion who has demonstrated nothing but unconditional love in its purest form. He's our protector, our alerter, and his Cujo-like tendencies when strangers approach the house make us feel nothing short of safe and secure.
Although he is no longer the solo center of our universe, he continues to play an active role in our family. He may not be our biological child but his cold snout and Frito-smelling feet are all I need to call him my own.