If you’ve been a reader of mine for awhile or if you follow me on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen a couple of cute and furry faces every now and then. Sookie and Bones are my and the hubs’ fur babies and they make up such a big part of our lives that I wanted to share their adoption stories with all of you, especially since October is Adopt A Shelter Pet Month. You’ve probably all heard of the saying, “adopt; don’t shop,” and while I’m a big proponent of this message, I also support anyone who gives a pet a loving home; but here are a few facts to think of if and when you decide to give a pet a forever home.
- Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born will find a permanent home.
- Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.
- Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
Our first love, Sookie Santa Monica Keene (yes, we give our babes full names), was only four and a half months old when we adopted her from the West LA Animal Shelter when Sam and I were living in California – hence, her middle name. This ball of energy, Sookie spotted us long before we saw her. The shelter was pretty crowded with two or three dogs to a cage and had Sookie not been so determined to jump up and down as high as she could to get our attention, we may not have noticed her. We let her out of the cage she was sharing with two other dogs and went to a play area to mingle. Sam and I had done this before in a previous visit and the dogs we played with were so preoccupied by all of the smells in the play area, that we weren’t really able to get a sense of their personalities. But Sookie had her priorities straight. She did one round of smells, found a tennis ball and dropped it by my feet before hopping into my lap and giving me a wet one right on the mouth. She then did the same thing to Sam, we exchanged a look and I knew he felt it, too: We were in love with this girl.
The silent exchange was all it took. We let the caretaker know we didn’t need to visit with any other pups, she was all we wanted. As we were filling out the adoption papers we could tell Sookie was feeling anxious and scared and come to find out, she had been through this process not once, but twice before. Born in the shelter and only four months in, she had been adopted twice before and returned both times. We were even warned by one of the staff members that she was a tough one and that we had our work cut out for us. And if you know anything about me, you know that just made me want her all the more. Sookie had found her forever home. And like all puppies, she required training and patience adapting to her new home.
Sookie turned four last Friday and it’s so hard to believe how much life has changed since she’s come into our lives. Sam and I weren’t even engaged when we adopted her. Now we’ve been married for more than two years, lived in three different cities and she has a little brother to play with (and boss around) to her heart’s desire.
Backyard Bones Keene is the newest addition to our little family. He has such a big heart for such a little body and even after all he’s been through, he’s got nothing but love to give. My love for animals is really rooted in my mom, who we’ve always jokingly called an animal whisperer because animals of any kind in need always seem to find their way to her. That case is no different with little Bones.
About a year ago, my mom came home to find Bones in the backyard with her two other dogs. Weighing only four pounds, and my mom’s dogs coming in at around 60 pounds respectively, Bones was hungry, scared, dirty and well – nothing but a bag of Bones. He had definitely experienced trauma and would bark at anyone new who came to the house, had never been house trained and has two apparent cigarette burns directly on his forehead. How anyone could harm such a small and sweet animal, I will never understand. I’m just glad Bones found a way out, survived time on his own and made his way to us.
The plan was to help rehabilitate him and help find a loving home. With two dogs and two cats, my mom couldn’t take on another animal herself. When Sam and I would visit her with Sookie they quickly became the best of friends and one night, when we were home in April this year preparing for my grandfather’s passing, we got a call from my mom. Bones had gotten out somehow and couldn’t be found. My mom, at the time, lived in the middle of the country on ten acres surrounded by open land and wild animals. Fearing the worst, we couldn’t just sit and wait for daylight. Sam and I got in the car, and started the search to no avail. It was that night we realized just how much we cared about the little guy.
A few days later, thinking something tragic must have happened, my mom decided to search on animal control’s website just in case; and low and behold, there he was! It was after this we decided this guy was part of the family and Sam and I started introducing him to our home to see if we could take on two dogs. Three months later, he’s here full time and settling into his forever home with big sister, a backyard and a comfy bed to call his own.
I know this post is much longer than my typical articles but I wanted to share their stories because they are just so important to my own. I can’t imagine life without these two in it and have learned so much patience and the value of caring for something other than oneself – it really is a special bond we all share.
If you’re thinking of adopting a pet of your own, I invite you to do some research and visit your local animal shelters. If searching online is your preference, Overstock has made it incredibly simple to search for local homeless animals in your neighborhood on their website here: pet adoption. I learned about this initiative when it launched and was so impressed by the effort put into such a program, I recommend it to anyone looking for a new best friend.
Thanks for taking the time to read and have a wonderful day!