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June 17, 2012 / Melissa Leeanne

Puppy Love

I’m a generally happy person. By all means, things are going well in my life. I have a job I really enjoy, live in a great community, have really fulfilling interpersonal relationships and I recently moved out of an apartment and into a house (still a rental, but it’s a step up). But there was something missing — his name is Beau.

Each week, I add Gastineau Humane Society’s pets of the week to the Neighbors section. Each week, I read about and see photos of the animals at the shelter that need a home. And each week, up until recently, there was nothing I could do about their predicament. For a long time, I wouldn’t even visit the Humane Society — you can visit animals inside the facilities most afternoons or volunteer to walk dogs in the mornings — would it be too sad to meet all these animals who needed a home I couldn’t provide? My little through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sophie, loves animals and almost all our meet-ups start with one thing (Folk Fest, frozen yogurt, etc.) and end up with us at the Humane Society. I couldn’t deny an animal-loving kid a trip to meet some shelter pets.

Then, one day, I found a house for rent that, lo and behold, allows pets. I immediately started thinking about getting a pet, even before the rental agreement was signed. Once we were sure about getting the house, I told Sophie she’d have to help me pick out a pet. I visited the Humane Society once or twice before we had even moved into the house, but it wasn’t until last Saturday that I absolutely, without doubt had to go to the Humane Society.

I was placing the pets of the week on the page and I kept looking at Beau, the cute little dog with bat ears. When I finished the section and it was ready for print, instead of going home, I went to the Humane Society. I signed in and immediately asked to meet Beau.

For me, it was love at first sight. He’s a smaller dog (appealing because of the smaller poop) with a reddish brown coat of extra-short, soft fur (less shedding). The bat ears — he’s a miniature pinscher — were even more adorable in person. And he has a great personality. He is sometimes quite energetic and excitable, but can also be mellow and cuddly. I filled out the application immediately, then asked permission of the housemates.

Both knew that I wanted a pet. The week before I had tried to convince them we should get a micro mini pig (do a google image search, it’s adorable). On Monday, I took them both to the Humane Society to meet Beau, hoping they’d adore him as much as I did. What can I say? Beau’s a charmer.

I went back and saw him again Tuesday as well. The adoption process is actually really quick. It takes just a few days once it is initiated. They had contacted my landlord and references, people I have dog-sat for, and Louisa told me that day I was approved and could bring Beau home after going through a half-hour meeting with their trainer the next day.

My meeting with Marcia, the trainer, was really helpful, we went over some basic commands and how to reward good behavior. We talked about some of Beau’s specific needs and how to continue training so he doesn’t forget his manners.

Sandra was there to help through the adoption process. She can help with paperwork, recommend veterinarian options and make suggestions about caring for a pet and how to manage paying for things like vet visits or emergency situations.

I also was able to outfit Beau with a leash, collar and harness right there at the Humane Society, and they offer starter bags of pet food should one decide to change his or her new pet’s diet.

Beau hasn’t been with me for too long yet, but he’s already adjusted to his new life and I already can’t imagine my life without the little guy. I have become one of those people who constantly talks about and shares photos of her pet (some people do it with children).

Beau has been lavished with attention and I’ve actually had to turn down treats from passers-by and friends who are smitten with him. He has also been on more walks each day than is probably sustainable, though with three people in the household, he might still get four walks each day.

He’s made himself at home, picking a perch atop the loveseat that overlooks the window, where he’ll occasionally play guard dog and bark (not yap) at someone outside.

For some people, adopting a pet from the Humane Society is the only option, while for others it might seem intimidating. Beau is already about 10-years-old and I’ve had people react like I was a saint, taking in a dog who would die any day now. But the pets that are available for adoption still have a lot of life and even more love left in them. Beau is 10 and some animals out there may be older, but each animal is in good health and, though they may have a quirk or two, each animal is able to be a loving pet to someone out there.

For me, adopting a pet from the Gastineau Humane Society has been easy and incredibly fulfilling. The Humane Society provides valuable services to the Juneau community and the pets we love, or soon will love.

My lack of writing here may have something to do with writing for my job. Feel free to check things out.


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