How are you? Believe it or not but I am still here, lurking around in the background. I am doing well considering the mess that’s going on right now in my country. I’ve been away taking a much needed social media break to get away from all the hate and fear and negativity. Plus, apparently my web host server does not like the Jetpack plugin so whenever WordPress has an update my host decides to kick me out of my access until I get my permissions reset. Sigh. Welcome to life with the Jetsons, right?
Anyway, I have some interesting news to share. A week ago (19 August) NBC hosted their annual Clear the Shelters event in our area. For the last four years North Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area) have had 66 shelters waiving all or most of the adoption fees so that good animals can find good homes. In 2016, North Texas celebrated 7k+ adoptions. Nationally, that figure was 53k+. This year was also a good year with another 7k pets adopted from North Texas again…and all the shelters in my area emptied. Completely.
The event itself began four years ago not that far from where I actually live in the city of Irving, Texas. Last year 700 shelters participated nationally. This year 900 shelters participated. It is an amazing thing, and one my family got to participate in this year.
And now, a backstory. I was raised with all sorts of animals on both my mom and dad’s sides of the family. Dogs, horses, cats, birds, cows, sheep, geese, a mule (etc and so on)…I was around them all. Cats were my favorites and I’ve always had at least one, but I loved dogs too. Most of the dogs I was around, however, were for my sister. Until I was an adult, I was only ever given one dog, Sheba ( a gorgeous German Shepherd puppy), but because she liked to dig holes in the yard (we lived on a 2-acre farm) my mom said she had to go and that was that. I cried for weeks.
The next dog of my own was Tanner, a sweet and viciously cute Lhasa Apso who happened to be a birthday gift from one of our good friends. A few years later my then-husband made me find him a home because he said it was unfair of us to leave him alone while we were at work even though we also had a cat who was Tanner’s best friend and could have always left him with my in-laws and their dogs. My heart broke again.
Lastly, there was Tina. Tina chose me. She was my grandmother’s teacup poodle. At my grandmother’s funeral she followed me around non-stop and refused to leave my side. By the time we had to leave it was clear she would be going with us. That was in 1997. In 2000, I had my mom take her because I had to move into an apartment in a certain county so I could retain custody of my son, and I couldn’t afford to take Tina with me. But it was cool because she was with my mom who had her until Tina passed away sometime before 2005. I haven’t had another dog since. Apartment living isn’t easy with a lot of people and pets living in the same small areas.
Four years ago we moved into a house and then my dad died. For some reason I realized I really wanted a dog. So, my current hubs and I have talked about it on and off the last four years. He’s not really a dog person though his family had a dog when he was growing up. We’ve generally come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t the right time, or we didn’t have the proper space, etc. Then, two weeks ago we saw the ad for the Clear the Shelters event and we talked about it again, although I didn’t think it was a serious discussion. After everything else and other conversations, I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to be crushed again. When the 18th came I asked hubs if I should set my alarm and he asked why to which I told him “for the shelter?” He showed me his phone where he had set several alarms for as early as he thought he should so he could take me to the shelter. I was overwhelmed. I went to bed with happy tears.
But not everything works out the way you want it to, does it? The whole week before, even though I didn’t think we’d be going, I kept looking up the shelter near us to see what dogs they had available. The heart wants what it wants and is ever hopeful sometimes. At the shelter, there was the cutest little Chihuahua named Romeo. He was my first choice. I mean, seriously…a poet with a dog named Romeo? Ironic, right? But that’s not who we ended up with. There was a lady who had been waiting with her two boys who seemed about the same age as my two youngest, and they had come the day before to see all the dogs. And they were the ones who adopted Romeo. Honestly, I was not upset. I knew what my chances might be like and I was really happy to see that he was going to what looked like a really good home with people who would love him to pieces. Instead, I ended up in front of the cage with the choice my heart told me to go with. It turned out to be the dog who had been at the shelter the longest.
Ladies and Gents, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my family, Scrappy.
We ended up with the best dog for us. And that is how it was meant to be. He’s energetic, playful, friendly, quiet, loves to walk, hates running water, and stays by my side almost constantly. You can tell he’s the happiest little thing, and I can’t believe how quickly my heart dusted off the room it has apparently been hiding all this time for him. And not just mine. Hubs, whether he admits or not, is attached already as well, and the kids (even the adult ones) didn’t even need half a second before deciding to love him. Scrappy is just a light of pure joy. All we know of his story is that he was picked up on some street. They listed him as a stray but the girl at the shelter said he was a drop-off. What is obvious to us is that he has been owned. He’s had some training, and he has separation anxiety when I leave him at home with the others. This will hopefully go away in time. He’s only about a year and a half so there’s plenty of time.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to see if there is or will be a Clear the Shelter event near you. Even if you have to wait until next year. It is worth it. Petco gives you a coupon book that holds a lot of savings, including a free bag of food to get you through the first week. VCA Animal Hospitals offer a free examination and treatment for certain things up to $250 but you have to make the appointment within the first 14 days of adoption. Overall, it is a wonderful experience. But take some care. Whether through this event or adopting any time, do your research. Read up on the type of animals the shelters have available. Call the shelter and ask questions like if the animal has issues with children and other pets, etc. And go to the shelter and meet the animals. Personalities may clash and what might look like a cute cuddly kitty may be an animal that does not like to be held. I say this because while we were filling out Scrappy’s adoption papers, a woman came in to bring back a beautiful little chocolate Chihuahua she had adopted two days previously because “he barks too much.” Luckily, he was picked up immediately by a young man who couldn’t get over him. Chihuahuas bark. A lot. Most small dogs do. Knowing that would have helped that woman know beforehand. But, all’s well that ends well, right?
As for me, I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. And I already wrote a poem for Scrappy and all the adopted animals which I posted over at The Well Tempered Bards. I’m posting again here for those of you who missed it.
Oh, and school has started. Finally. 😉
Hope you’ve had a great weekend.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I live too far north for Hurricane Harvey. The only impact from it that we’re receiving is lots of rain, which Scrappy and I can attest is cold, as we found out on a walk this afternoon when the heavens decided it would be hilarious to drop buckets of it on us. No sooner did we get home and dried off than the sun came out and laughed it’s solar flares off at us. Very funny. Ha-bloody-ha.
Scrappy Little Things
by Jesi Scott
Then the whole world turned right-side up
Inside those big brown eyes
Where hung the universe
Like pearls on a string.
Another hidden room opened
To house an infinite, unconditional love
Wearing floppy ears and a tan coat,
A colossal personality in a tiny body
Contained behind a generous, exuberant grin.