Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pearl's Story

Pet's name:
Adopted by: Katherine
From: Zeus' Place, New Orleans, La.

Katherine, who blogs at Katherine Swims, sent the story of Pearl, whom she found after a long search for a dog:    

I think the thing I hear most when telling people about my dog is how dogs seemingly rescue you just when you need it most. They're right.

I'd been pining for a dog for months, and had scoured the websites of breeders within 500 miles, looking for the perfect puppy. I'd also spent a considerable amount of time browsing through dogs on Petfinder, wishing I could save each one, but knowing that the time wasn't quite right. Further complicating matters is the fact that I'm very allergic to dogs—if I were to adopt a puppy, or rescue a dog, it'd have to be one of the dogs touted as a hypoallergenic breed. I thought a lot about saving half a billion dollars for a designer puppy, one that would be more likely to get along with my allergies, but had a difficult time stomaching the thought of it when I knew there were so many dogs out there needing homes.

One evening, I came across a listing on Petfinder for a small poodle mix, nicknamed I-10. Her story goes like this: her previous owner had thrown her out of a moving vehicle on I-10 in New Orleans near the Superdome. Luckily, traffic stopped in both directions, and several people attempted to catch her as she darted across the interstate. A man was finally able to catch her (which I now know must have been close to impossible), and knowing he wasn't ready for a dog of his own, handed her over to Zeus' Place, a local animal shelter and boarding/grooming shop. It was a miracle that she survived an incomprehensibly cruel act, and that she did not sustain any injuries.

For some reason, I kept coming back to the Petfinder listing of this sweet little dog, which included a video of her doing a little dance for a treat. You can see in the video how thin she was from malnourishment. In fact, her prior owners neglected her in almost every way possible. Her fur was completely matted, she hadn't been spayed, she had roundworms, and she had heartworms. She was starving for affection and attention. I felt as if something inside me was screaming to adopt this dog, to save her, to take her in.

Not more than a week later, I went through a very difficult breakup. During a phone call with my mom a couple days later, she suggested what I had been thinking for weeks: to go check out the dog at the shelter and see if she might be a good fit for adoption. My brother and parents had rescued a dog about four years ago, and I knew how much positive change that their dog, Misty, brought to their lives. And I thought to myself, the timing's finally right. If not now, when? I was incredibly excited to meet this dog, and once they brought her out to meet me, I knew there was no turning back.

The sweet maltipoo (I'm pretty sure she is, at least), now named Pearl, is a completely different dog. She has been a joy, despite the sometimes rocky state of her acclimation to the life she deserves. Now that she's here, I can't imagine being without her. Where would I be without Pearl's 90-mile-per-hour walks, Pearl's kisses on my face to wake me up in the morning, Pearl following my every move and never leaving my side? She makes me laugh—really, really laugh out loud—each day with something she does. I can't imagine my life without her bright little personality.

Little did I know how quickly I'd become attached to this incredible dog. Sure, she's had her share of complications, and has required a lot of discipline and structure, but she is a completely different dog than she was when I rescued her in June. As I write this, she's sleeping peacefully at my feet, and I wonder what would’ve happened to her, had she not had the unfortunate fate of being abandoned.

It may be true that I saved Pearl's life and saved her from an uncertain fate or a bleak future, but I can't help but think of the many ways she's rescued me.

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! (By the way, you can now get From Alone to Home updates on Facebook and Twitter.)

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