This morning I went to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Tel Aviv with my friends Jeremy & Anna. I had already cleared it with my landlord to get a dog. I always grew up having a dog, but I have never been responsible for one on my own…until now.
So, we met this morning at Anna’s, and she served us yummy coffee and croissants the size of Hondas, and we cabbed it over to the SPCA.
The first thing we noticed was it didn’t smell too good outside the place. Kinda like a zoo. Then, we saw a cute little hunched over granny shuffling along outside, and I thought – I wanna adopt her!
There were two forms to fill out, and of course they were in Hebrew. But we managed pretty well with the name, address, and phone number parts, and then the lady behind the counter helped us with the rest.
Then, it was time to go meet the doggies. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what actually happened. I thought it would be indoors, for one thing. It wasn’t. They were in rows of cages outdoors (hot). I thought they’d all be in one row of little cages, and I could take one out and play with him for a bit, then put him back and play with another one for a little bit, etc. Until I got it down to 1-2 dogs and made my final pick. I thought it would be more controlled and that the choosing process might take a good 1/2 hour.
But it didn’t happen that way. We were on our own to check out the dogs in the cages, which were pretty big-yet-narrow (I’d say about 3 feet across by 10 feet deep) and in several rows. Anna lost it and started tearing up immediately. Some of the dogs were really skinny yet not eating. Some were cowering in the back of their cages. Some had diarrhea, and it was right there in the cage with them, not cleaned up. Ditto, vomit. Some had the vom & poop matted in their fur!
Well, rescuing one of these older dogs would mean I’d have an easier time of training it; for instance, it might already have the potty thing down. Plus, that’s really the most humane thing to do, b/c let’s face it: everyone wants a puppy; it’s these older guys who really need miracles.
But I immediately went for Petey. Petey is a black lab-mix, and he’s 3 months old. He was born in a home and brought to the shelter by a family, so we wasn’t a street dog. He’s been there for one month. He was sharing a cage with another smallish dog; a tan dog we’ll call Not Petey. They seemed to be getting along fine together, and both of them greeted us at the edge of the cage with smiles, licks and tail wags.
I’ve had three great dog names picked out for a long time now, and I’m not going to tell them to you, b/c they are just that good and you’ll want to steal them. But Petey already had a name…(wait for it)…Petey. And it just seemed to fit him; none of us felt like changing it. Plus, now he gets to be all superhero alliterationy, like – Petey Piro !
Jeremy was a great person to have with me, and not just b/c he’s my friend. He owns a dog walking business called “Happy Dogs” (which apparently doesn’t have a website to link to). So, Jeremy was having me ask smart things, like could we let out both Petey and Not Petey together and see how they socialize and play with one another.
We leashed them both up and took them out. Jeremy took Not Petey for a walk around the heavily “land mined” (turds) sand courtyard, and I had some one-on-one time with N.P. Then, we switched.
Both Anna and Jeremy wanted me to pick Not Petey. They felt he was a little bit older and less likely to be adopted (he was maybe 1 or 2 years old), and he would also be less of a handful for me than a puppy will be. Of course, it was all about Petey though for me. How could it not be? He would not stop licking my face! (It’s OK, he’s had all his shots except the rabies one, which is coming up for him.) Uh oh…I’m feelin’ kinda funny….
Sike. Seriously, to any shelter dogs who may be reading this right now (hey, you never know….)
If you want to be adopted, go for the face of every human that picks you up and lick it with all you got.
Seriously, maybe it wasn’t fair b/c this was really just Petey’s puppy energy, but I felt like he just paid me a shitload of attention, and Not Petey…not so much. Some, but not enough. Hey – I’m a self centered friend of Bill: payin’ me attention will get you everywhere.
So, I made my decision, and got the 3rd degree from the shelter people. You know, he’s got puppy energy, so you’ll have to have a lot of patience. He’ll scratch and chew up all your furniture. He’ll make accidents in the house. We don’t want you to bring him back in two weeks. All good points. A grown dog would be easier, no question. But –
Then, we waited in a room to see the vet. Petey was super well behaved, sitting in my lap, licking my face, and trying to chew my watch. Jeremy was telling me about a dog trainer named Ian Dunbar, who kicks Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer)’s ass.
Me & Petey went in to see the very nice vet. She took Petey’s temp, and felt his glands. She said his glands seemed a little swollen and brought another vet in, who agreed. They said Petey currently has a minor infection. Nothing major, b/c he’s already been vaccinated from all the doggie diseases (except rabies – grr !!), but they want to put him on a 5-day course of antibiotics, and I can pick him up next week. (They’ll also neuter him.) Fine by me; this gives me a few days to puppy-proof the apartment and buy a cage, leash, food, yada yada.
So, there you have it. Petey will probably grow to be 50 pounds, so he’ll be a medium sized dog (not tiny, like I wanted). He’s also got a short hair coat that sheds; I wanted a poodle mix that wouldn’t shed and would get groomed instead. And the whole decision part of things took much shorter than I expected. The other dogs just weren’t in as good a shape. We kind of pretty much immediately narrowed it down to Petey and N.P. I hadn’t expected that. But I don’t feel that I rushed the decision. I’m really looking forward to Petey coming home next week.
I’m sure there will be lots more doggie posts to come. I know my life is going to change. But you know what? I welcome that. I’m single, and I work a lot (from home). I have friends I see and go out with, but nothing major. Basically, I’m really ready to commit to this and have Petey take over a big chunk of my life.
Uh oh…, be careful what you wish for, Scott, when you say… Bring. It. On.
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