Friday, October 21, 2011

Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper's Stories

Lucas, Cooper, and Emmett

Pets' names:
Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper
Adopted by: Maggie and John Marton
From: Friends of Homeless AnimalsWashington Animal Rescue League, and Mended Hearts Indy

Maggie, who sent this story of her three dogs, blogs at Oh My Dog!, where you can read more about Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper's adventures.

In 2006, after my husband and I bought our condo in Washington, D.C., we knew we wanted to adopt a dog. We researched different breeds, combed through adoptable-dog profiles, and drove out to Friends of Homeless Animals as fast as we could. We met a couple dogs, but none seemed to fit. We described our "perfect" dog to the shelter volunteer. "You have to meet Emmett," she said. That one little sentence changed our lives.

Emmett is a (nearly) perfect dog. He has been since day one. We knew nothing about training, behavior, feeding, health, anything! Yet Emmett’s personality—calm, confident, sturdy, sometimes silly—helped us navigate the challenges of new-dog parenthood. His one problem? He hated being alone, even for one second. If I closed the bathroom door to take a shower, he would bash his bully head into the door to come in. He'd curl up on the bathmat and wait for me to finish. Whenever we left for work or for the store, he would smoosh his nose under the door and cry and cry and cry until we got home.


After nine months of little improvement, we decided to adopt Emmett a buddy. This time we went to Washington Animal Rescue League. We were less diligent about our research because we knew exactly which dog we wanted. We met Darby and played with her in the little side room, and as the volunteer went to get the adoption paperwork, we squealed with excitement. Moments later, the volunteer came back with news: Darby had been adopted already. They just forgot to hang up the sign.

Distraught, we wandered the aisles of the shelter. I paused in front of one of the crates, and a skinny yellow dog with humongous Dumbo ears raised his head and looked me right in the eyes. After a few seconds, he put his head back down and sighed. My heart broke. I called John over, who wasn't super excited about this mangy guy. I persevered and won (of course), and when the volunteer looked over our adoption form she said, "Lucas doesn’t do well with other dogs." We countered, "He’ll be fine with Emmett."

They had us bring Emmett to the shelter. Lucas behaved inappropriately for about five seconds before Emmett corrected him. Lucas fell right in line behind Emmett … and has been there ever since. The volunteer was right, though; Lucas was terrible with other dogs. But he has had Emmett as a role model over the last four years, and he's improved tremendously.


All was great. We went for long walks and took the boys hiking on weekends. We did training classes, learned everything we could about nutrition and health, got Emmett certified as a therapy dog, and Lucas passed his Canine Good Citizen test. We poured all our time, effort, and energy into Emmett and Lucas.

Then, something came over us last Halloween. I agreed to foster a tiny little American pit bull mix named Scooter. He came to us from Mended Hearts Indy at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. The big boys adopted him immediately. They tolerated his puppy shenanigans and snuggled with the little bean when they thought we weren't looking. His presence brought out new sides of the "big boys." After a few short weeks, we renamed him Cooper and submitted our adoption application.


Cooper has been with us for nearly a year now, and the three guys have had a lot of adventures already. They snuggle and play well together, and though it hasn't been an entirely bump-free adjustment, they are 100% committed to each other—and us.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

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