A New Family Member

10 Apr

Last Friday afternoon, I took Katy to the vet at PetsMart to get a comprehensive exam and heartworm test. While I was standing in line, I saw a flier for an adorable 7-month-old puppy who had been rescued from an Indian reservation in New Mexico and needed a home. She was very sweet and gentle, had heartwarming puppy dog eyes, and just happened to remind me a lot of our dog, Katy, with the short hair and tan and black coloring.

Travis and I had been unofficially discussing getting Katy a friend to play with so when I saw Charlie, I asked the vet techs about her. One asked if I would like them to bring Charlie into the exam room with me and Katy so we could see if they got along. After hesitating a little, I said ok. Katy pretty much ignored Charlie the whole time, except for a momentary growl when Charlie backed her into the corner.

Before dropping Katy off, I took a couple of photos on my phone and then called Travis. “I found the dog we should adopt,” I said. “She’s so cute and sweet.” I told Travis I would send him the pictures. After I picked Katy back up and headed back home, Travis was back from work and I sort of jokingly asked him, “So do you want to go look at Charlie?”

“I kind of do,” he replied honestly. So I filled out the adoption application and we returned to PetsMart. We took Charlie out on a walk and then talked to the vet techs about her medical history and what the adoption arrangement and fees would be. We planned on talking to the office manager, who would know more of the financial specifics, the next day before we made a decision. But I left our application with the clinic just in case.

The  next day, while I was painting our front door (again!), the vet who had picked Charlie up called. After answering our questions and doing a little interview, the vet offered us the chance to adopt Charlie. They wouldn’t charge an adoption fee, would waive the membership fee for signing Charlie up for a vet plan at their clinic, and would spay her and get her up to date on her shots for free. It was an offer we couldn’t pass up.

So we have a new family member – Charlie. Travis and I talked about a lot of different names, including Stella, Scout, Brooks, and Sienna. Finally, we decided to do what we did with Katy: keep the name she came with. She looks like a Charlie and even though at first, I didn’t like the name for a girl, it has definitely grown on me.

About Charlie, she is estimated to be 7 months old. She is a hound mix – her bark sometimes tends toward the howl that hounds are notorious for. She has had a hard life. She was about 15 pounds underweight when the vet found her, her ears have been bitten up by bugs, and she had ehrlichia, which is caused by ticks, giving her a slight limp in her left hind leg (which has since been treated and disappeared).

She’s not quite potty-trained yet so that’s been an adventure for us. There have been quite a few mishaps but I think we’re starting to get the hang of it. I’ve definitely learned that you cannot underestimate how much dogs need to go to the bathroom.

Even though it will take a while for us to bond with her as much as we have with Katy (who we’ve had for a year and a half now), I think it was a good decision to get her. She’s the sweetest dog, very mellow, and Katy and her already love planning with each other (although it gets a little too rough at times).

Rescuing a dog is not like getting a newborn little pup right from their litter. They’ve been beat up, scarred and a lot of times, abused. They are “broken” dogs. I’m not sure if Charlie would have lived much long had she not been rescued. I like to think of rescuing dogs as analogies of the gospel. God didn’t choose the people who were easy to love, the cute ones, the tidy and well-kept ones. He chose the ones who were beat up, living on the streets, and in need of some serious help and care. It’s not easy to love a rescued pup right away, when their coat is matted and they don’t know proper dog etiquette and they bark and growl and want to raid the trash. But they are worth redeeming.

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