Adopting a rescue dog, my Ollie, is one of the best decisions I made in years. I love him absolute bits, and, if you’re considering adopting a friend of your own, as many are in these times, I thought that I’d share my story in hopes that it might help you in your decision.
And, if you aren’t, there are a ton of adorable pictures of Ollie.
Me and my Ollie
Oliver. Ollie. Oliver Wallace Doodle. Ollie Doodle. Doodle. Doodle Bug. Doodle Bear. Bug. Ollie Dog. Good Boy. My Ollie.
My Ollie came to me a little over two years ago via Great Dog Rescue New England. We have been taking walks and snuggling (and snacking. One cannot talk about Ollie without talking about snacks) ever since.
A dog-shaped hole in my heart
Before I adopted Ollie, I’d had a dog-shaped hole in my heart since my parents’ dog Daisy died several years before, but I didn’t think that my life and a dog’s needs would mesh. I just pined and occasionally found myself looking at dog rescue websites.
In the fall of 2018 I’d posted about missing Daisy on Facebook, when some friends asked me seriously why I couldn’t have a dog? I demurred. I travel a lot, both for business and for fun, I said. I work in an office, and I live alone.
A hope planted
My wonderful friends commented that, first of all, I’d be a great dog human. It wasn’t like I was gone so often for it not to be fair to a dog. Others pointed out that I worked from home frequently and that doggy daycare exists, so why not just do that when I was at the office? You love to take walks, they said. You’re halfway there already.
My family also wholeheartedly endorsed the idea. “You have a lot of love to give,” I my mom said. “You would have one lucky dog.”
Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers about wanting to get a dog
Maybe I really could get a dog?
Huh. I thought. Maybe I really could get a dog. I talked to more friends and coworkers who had dogs about how to make sure that I could meet a dog’s needs even while working. They all assured me that it was indeed possible. Also, I talked to them about costs and did my own research and budget.
Do some math. Feeding and caring for a dog adds up
Finally I had a serious think about how having a dog would change my life. Yes, I would have a furry companion and that thought filled my heart with joy. But I knew from having dogs growing up that they are a lot of work. I wasn’t just going to be able to let my dog out back in the middle of the night if Fido had to potty, living where I did. Instead of heading out with my work friends for drinks, I’d have to head straight home. And I would have to get out of bed first thing in the morning. Like right away. And go outside before I had any coffee.
I thought and thought, and then I broke out into a grin you could see from space. I was getting a dog!
Have a serious think about your life and how a dog’s needs would fit in it
Then came the hard part
After I made the decision, I applied for an adorable young dog. That’s when I learned that competition for adopting dogs can be fierce, and that I had a disadvantage in that I lived alone and worked full-time. I grew discouraged, and, if I’m honest, angry. I knew that I could give a good home to a dog. Each time I got the email saying that I didn’t get a dog, it broke my heart. In the end, it just took a little time and the right dog for me.
Adopt, don’t shop! There are so many wonderful dogs who need loving humans like you
And then I saw Ollie. He was called Chucky at the time, because he had been found on Halloween wandering around rural Georgia after having been abandoned (he was microchipped, but his three previous owners refused to take him). An adorable five-year-old mini-Schnauzer, the foster said that for his breed, he was a pretty mellow little man. He’d do great in an apartment. The instant I saw his picture, I knew that he was my dog, and I was his human.
I put my name in, and I made sure that his adoption coordinator knew how serious I was about giving him a good home. It took a bit before I heard from her, and my heart sank again. This was it. If I didn’t get this dog, I would take it as a sign that I should not have one.
The next morning I checked my email nervously, and YAY! We were a match! After they called to my landlord to confirm that I had permission, they sent a volunteer to assess my apartment and me. I also had an interview with the foster, whose mother had found him on the country road. Great Dog Rescue New England wants to make sure that dogs go to the right homes. Many of them have suffered a lot, and they should not suffer any more at the hands of well-intentioned but inappropriate owners. Thankfully, I passed the test.
You need to be right for your dog, too
December 1, 2018: one of the happiest days of my life
On December 1, 2018, I got a Zipcar and drove out to Woburn to pick up Ollie. He was a bit overwhelmed by the trip North and a couple of nights in another kennel, and he had to be carried out to me. The volunteer put him in my arms, and Ollie became my dog. We took to each other instantly, though it took a bit of time before he felt secure in having a home.
For two years, we’ve walked, played endless games of silly “fetch” (he does not always wish to part with his BarkBox toys), snuggled, and negotiated over when it’s time for treats and when I should pet him instead of working. He moved with me, and together we explored our new neighborhood. And, one bright and beautiful silver lining of this strange time is that we spend all day, every day together. As I write this, he’s snuggled up beside me, asleep, and I am so happy that we belong to each other.
I love Ollie to bits. So much that I don’t mind waiting for coffee in the slightest.
Think a dog might be in your future?
If you’re in the Boston area, in addition to GDRNE, you might consider PAWS Project. Mindy, Ollie’s adoption coordinator, works primarily with this group.
Do you already have a dog? I’d love to hear the story!
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