Six Years Ago Today

July 11, 2003 was a Friday, and on that morning, I drove out to my vet’s office where I’d arranged to meet a 2 or 3-year-old shelter dog.  I’d really fallen for her picture in an ad from the rescue group hoping to place her, and I’d called about her a month earlier.

They returned my call, telling me the bad news that she’d already been placed.

(Okay, bad news for me.)

Something about her photo had just grabbed me, and I was more than a little disappointed that I’d missed her.  So I set the newspaper aside and figured I’d give myself some time before looking again.

About a month later, I picked up the paper and opened it to the classified section where lots of the rescue groups advertised.  There was that same picture of her again!  I called the shelter, telling them that I was assuming there was an error with the photo, but wanted to double-check.

It turned out that there was no error:  the family that had adopted this shy, timid dog had young children who expected to come home from school and play with their new dog.  The problem was that she was so timid that the kids terrorized her.  So that placement just didn’t work out.

I made an appointment to meet her, and took along my other dog to make sure they’d get along.  After a relatively short meeting, Zoey was on her way home with me, where she’s been ever since.

When animal control found her, she had two young puppies with her.  The puppies looked like golden furballs and were gorgeous.  But as often happens at animal shelters everywhere, the puppies went quickly:  few people want an adult dog.

She’s been a great dog, and I hope she’ll be around for many more years to come.  The best guess now is that she’s somewhere between eight and nine years old.  I don’t like to think about her getting old, but at least she’s active (when she’ll leave the couch), healthy and happy.

I think a trip to the pet shop is in order:  she needs a new toy!


  1. That’s awesome. I adopted two dogs from the shelters one 10 month old and one 4 month old. I have to say adopting an older dog is much much nicer, their maturity level really aides in training.

    That’s cool Zoey thanks you that’s what one of my dogs does as well, and it makes me more appreciative of him. It also may be a golden trait bred into your dog.

  2. HA! Yeah, if I was serious about getting a second one and I came across that picture, Jeff, I’d be a goner.

    A lot of people are hesitant about getting a puppy because of all of the work (like housebreaking) a puppy requires. If you’re thinking about a companion, but feel that the work may be a bit much, consider an adult dog. There are lots of dogs just a few years old waiting for homes. Many of them were given up because of bad economic times, and are housebroken and trained already; their owners just couldn’t keep them.

    I’ve discovered in my own experience with Zoey, and a lot of other shelter dog adopters have told me, that there’s something special about a dog rescued and given a second chance at a home: it’s as if something in them understands what you’ve done for them, and they actually behave as if they’re grateful for it.

    When I had a second dog, a Cocker Spaniel I’d had from a puppy, I’d feed both and watch their reactions after they ate: the Cocker would go lie down, happy and with a full belly. Zoey, though, comes to me and “thanks” me for her food. She’s done this to my mom, too, when she’s had to keep her for a few days in the past.

    It’s amazing what a good dog can bring into your life.

  3. What a gorgeous dog, Patrick. I’ve been trying to resist a major urge to get a puppy lately. This morning I came across this picture, which is NOT helping me at all!

  4. Oh, Patrick!

    She is beautiful. And I can see why the picture grabs your heart – it certainly does mine! How lovely. And this is a great story. You really found a wonderful owner. (I guess that is more the case with cats, but it looks to me like she owns you!)

    What’s her name?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.