|On his first walk with Dad.|
Hubby and I have been talking about getting a dog for a long time, but the time never seemed right. For a while, the primary reason was that we were both in graduate school and barely had time for each other, let alone a high maintenance animal. Then we moved to the midwest after earning our master's degrees and the primary objective became settling into our new home and work/doctoral programs. Then the excuse was the overall workload that both of us were under. I had to teach, take classes, and study for comps, while hubby was working 40+ hours a week and studying for his exams. In short, the time just never seemed right. Until now...
After finding out that I had passed my last exam -- ever -- I told hubby that I wanted to go visit the puppies at the local humane society. I hadn't intended on adopting a dog that day. Really, I was just interested in getting out of the house and spending some time with some animals that could use some love and attention. But then, we met Cisco, a one year old chihuahua mix, and completely fell in love with him. That night we started the process of bringing Cisco to his forever home.
Our local humane society is very particular about who they send animals home with. This makes me particularly happy because so many of the dogs at the shelter are pit bulls (and mixes thereof) that have the potential to be abused if not treated kindly. The application consists of determining if you understand the time and money required to care for a dog and your general knowledge of dog ownership. The question that bothered me the most was, "What will you do with your pet if you move?" I mean, really?! There is only right answer to this question and that is "take him with me." It turns out that the majority of animals have been surrendered to the humane society because the owners moved somewhere that pets are not allowed. When making a 15 to 20 year commitment, it would seem that most people don't think of the potential consequences of their decisions. I personally found pet ownership to be great while looking for apartments since only three in the area we were looking allowed pets. Yes, we still had a choice about where to live, but it was narrowed from the 20 possible places we could have lived.
After being approved for adoption, there were two other hoops to jump through. First, we had to know if Cisco would be good with cats since we already have two at home. He passed that test with flying colors. He honestly doesn't care whatsoever about cats. He wanted to smell the "test" cat, but was very respectful of her space. This boded well for him at our home.
The second hoop was the other family that had a hold on Cisco before us. The humane society requires any existing doggie siblings to meet the new addition before adoption to ensure that it will be a good match. Fortunately for us, the meet and greet didn't go well, through no fault of Cisco's. The other family had two big dogs and neither of them were too impressed with the idea of having a chihuahua for a brother. There loss was our gain. The humane society called us at 1:45 PM and we were there fifteen minutes later to pick him up.
One of the first things we did was change his name ever so slightly. Instead of spelling it Cisco (like the computer/networking company), we changed it to Sisko -- as in Commander Sisko from Star Trek. We know it's sort of nerdy, but the Commander is settling in at his new home nicely.
He's been here for three days and we haven't had any indoor accidents yet. This is probably because I'm neurotic about taking him outside. We haven't noticed any "tells" about when he needs to go outside, so for now we take him out first thing in the morning, every two hours or so, and just before bed.
Last night was a great night for us. I really want Sisko to be kennel trained because I want to him to eventually feel like he has a place of his own in the house. Plus, I don't feel comfortable with him staying in the house alone yet since I don't know if he can "hold" it. So, we've been putting him in the kennel at night. The first two nights were miserable because he just whined and whined all night long. Last night I put in ear plugs so I couldn't hear him and hubby listened to his iPod. Turns out we didn't need to take extra steps because he didn't whine at all. Maybe he's getting acclimated to his new home after all.
If you're looking for a new pet, I strongly recommend considering adoption. You'll be giving an animal a second chance at life and making a lifelong friend in the process.