Bella is about six years old, and has been at the SPCA shelter twice now. She was adopted out as a puppy ( thanks to SPCA of Raleigh for providing the awesome puppy picture! ) but the family that had her for around five years had to give her up because they lost their house. We went to the shelter to meet a much bigger dog that had been adopted by the time we got there, so we walked through the meet and greet area to see what other little buddies they might have. We wanted Ripp, our great big, sweet as sugar German Shepherd to have a pal. Ripp and Jasmine got along really well and he was beginning to get mopey without her around. Tell me about it, Ripp! Sniff.... Ripp was a little too curious with other boy dogs. He grew up spending all of his time alone in someone's backyard, and eventually neglect caused what could have been treatable ear infections to grow to the point that it required surgery to remove calcified tissue. That surgery left him deaf. Since he never really learned a lot of the basics to sharing things and hanging out with other dogs and he can't hear warning growls, he is like a big, goofy bull in a china shop. He's fine, but he doesn't understand that you should go around other dogs to get what you want instead of just trampling them because you're bigger. Males were on high alert around him, so we wanted to try him out with a female and fortunately, the reaction was much different.
Monica and I envisioned adopting a dog that had been in a pretty rough situation and giving it a place to finally be comfortable and treated well. Unfortunately, that seemed to be too much of a risk since Ripp is an unknown when it comes to how he might stir things up. There is nothing about Bella that makes us believe she was ever mistreated, but the thought of her being in the SPCA facility for a second time in just five years tugged at our heartstrings enough to make us feel like we were bringing peace to one of our fellow creatures, even if Ripp's peace is occasionally less "peaceful" than he might have liked. Having said that, they are awfully cute together. You should see how well behaved they both are whenever one of us has an open bag of potato chips. It's a miracle! It's like there's a beacon inside the bag transmitting this message; "Be perfectly still except for your tail, and look very, very hopeful". I almost feel bad as I slowly pull the delicious chips out one at a time, waving them in slow motion in front of their cute little faces for no reason whatsoever before I shove 'em down my gullet. They look at each other as if to say "Whahhh?!?!?! This is what The Pathetic Puppy Academy taught us to do to get t-r-e-a-t-s, right?" They haven't figured out that crushing the dreams of small animals and children is one of the things that brings me the most joy in life. They never learn... Aww, who am I kidding? We keep a bag of chips for us both, and then when we get down to the tiny. broken chips we use those remains to throw a handful in their bowls almost every evening after they get their dinner. Still, the look on their faces as it dawns on them that they are getting jocked is priceless! No wonder Dad used to mess with me all the time!
Any time one of you begins to think about getting a pet, do consider adopting from an organization like the SPCA, or the local German Shepherd Rescue chapters. There are organizations for all kinds of dogs. If you are a glutton for punishment you can even adopt nature's most evil, conniving creature, Felis silvestris catus, which can be loosely translated as "House devil" though most people call them 'Freaking cat-holes'. There are organizations of brave souls who find them worthy of saving, too. I guess it's not too unlike the Center for Disease Control keeping vials of bubonic plague and smallpox alive so if there is ever an outbreak they'll have a jump on figuring out a vaccine. I know better than to wait for any bureaucrat to figure out how to help humanity, so when the Kitty Apocalypse comes I'm going full berserker! Our two cats are old enough that they are mostly harmless now. Empty threats and half hearted swats at the dogs if they get too close are about all they have in them anymore. They still hover near us, plotting our demise. But their days of senseless brutality and drawing blood from anyone who dares to pet them for one second longer than their arbitrary time limit allows have drawn to a close. Hell they're almost cute every now and then. I know they are up to something, though.
In all seriousness, providing a loving home for some poor little cat, dog, or whatever other creature ended up in the care of someone who through malice or ignorance proved incapable of caring for them is a wonderful thing. We can't imagine life without Ripp in our home, and Bella is becoming part of our story as she gets more and more accustomed to life here. Hopefully neither of them ever try to imagine life anywhere else either. That's enough soap boxing for one post. So love the people, and the critters around you and enjoy the time you have with them while you can. Oh, and listen to Confessor and Loincloth often...