The process of adopting a rescue dog is explained as I tell the story of adopting our two Airedale Terrier siblings.
by Laura Tucker
I had never even thought of getting a dog from a rescue organization until I was looking for a specific type of breed, and found the breeder's prices a little steep. Yet now that I have gone that route, I can't imagine getting a dog through any other source.
Rescue organizations obtain dogs, both young and old, from a variety of places such as shelters, homes or breeders where they have been found to be abused, or that are giving up on them for personal reasons. The dogs are brought in, spayed or neutered to help control the population, and normally live with foster families for a few months to determine any behavioral problems, such as if they get along with cats and/or kids and whether they are house-trained. The dogs are then advertised as ready for adoption.
After our older English Setter mix died, we knew we needed a short break and were ready to wait up to a year before acquiring another dog. My husband had always been told by his grandfather that Airedale Terriers were great dogs, so for this reason we thought of getting an Airedale to honor his grandfather's memory.
Yet once we checked on the Airedale breed, we saw they could get quite large, so considered getting a smaller similar terrier, such as an Irish Terrier or Lakeland Terrier. I got in contact with breeders, and found that puppies would be very expensive, up to $1000, and the breeders also did not want to adopt our their puppies to families with young children, considering it not a good mix. He suggested since I had a three-year-old daughter that I check into rescue organizations.
We were still thinking we were several months out of actually adopting a dog, and were enjoying the break in not having to work our life around having a dog, yet our lives were already built around having a dog in our home. We missed our out English Setter mix very much. We began searching rescue organizations.
I saw an internet ad for puppies available at the Airedale Terrier Rescue & Adoption (ATRA). Even though we were still wanting a wait a little longer, I just had to investigate. The puppy's purebred Airedale mother had been abandoned for a time, then picked up by someone that was abusive to her.
This Airedale ended up pregnant with a litter of seven puppies, and no one knew the breed of the male. She had left her home one day, dug a hole, and had the seven puppies by herself. Within a few days ATRA had caught up this mother and her pups and confiscated them, placing all in rescue. Eventually, after the mother was spayed she would be up for adoption, but for now the seven puppies would be available to leave their mother in a few weeks.
We decided to forego waiting and asked if we would be able to adopt one of these Airedale Mix puppies. After filling out the required application, we were accepted and asked to now submit our home for a home inspection.
One would have that we were getting ready for a presidential visit as we repaired things, painted, scrubbed, etc., preparing for the visit from a volunteer associated with ATRA to check on our home and family. We had a long chat with them at our dining room table, and they checked our home and yard. Most rescue organizations require a fenced in yard, which we did have.
A few days later I received an email stating we were being rewarded with one of these abandoned puppies. We were thrilled and set up a date a few weeks later, when the puppies would be old enough to be separated from their mother and siblings, to adopt our dog. A few days before the big day, we were asked if we would consider taking two puppies since there was not much other interest in them at the time. We jumped at the chance to adopt sibling dogs, knowing our family would enjoy two additions.
The puppies were being fostered in Indiana and we lived outside Chicago, so a Saturday was spent driving to Indiana and meeting with Carol, who was fostering them. She drove up in a station wagon, and in the back were all seven puppies, two males and five females. One of the males, Big Mac, took to my husband right away, but we were told he had a medical problem, an umbilical hernia, so we kept looking.
I took the advice of a friend to let the puppies choose us. I reached into the back of the car and one little female, nicknamed White Paws, ran up to great me, playing with my watch and being quite loving. I knew I had been chosen. I bent down to be chosen again, and Carol suggested we entertain the idea of a male to go along with the female. Traditionally, a male and a female get along better than two females. Playing with the two males, Big Mac was still quite attached to my husband, and was now also attaching himself to my son. We knew Big Mac was choosing us.
We adopted White Paws and Big Mac that day. We wanted to honor their origin in some way, so renamed the female Indianna, calling her Anna. With Big Mac we kept his name, as it was very fitting, and he is referred to as Mac. A few weeks after getting these two, we took Mac in for surgery on his umbilical hernia and he recovered quite well.
As wonderful of an addition as these two dogs have been to my family the past six years, I cannot imagine getting another dog in any other manner than rescue. We gave them a much-needed home, and they seem to thank us every day for it. All I had wanted was a dog to play with my kids and help protect the house. I now have two dogs that play with each other and the kids and are always quick at the door to protect my home and family. Of course, they are my family as well.
Laura Tucker is a freelance graphic designer and writer, and is a featured writer at realityshack.com and frazzledfamilies.com.