Thursday, January 10, 2013

We Have a New Addition

Jeff, Amelia, and I are thrilled to announce the New Year’s Day arrival of Bentley Baron, weighing in at a healthy 9lbs.  He sleeps through the night, never cries, and brings enormous joy to our family.

I know what you’re thinking, and kindly bite your tongue.  I’ll be 45 in two weeks.  Bentley has four legs, fluffy ears, and a short little tail. He’s part toy poodle and part bichon, and all adorable dog. And he’s a rescue, so we can feel good about providing a home for a dog who needs one, not supporting a puppy mill, and a bunch of other do-gooder stuff…but selfishly, we also feel pretty lucky because somebody else has already trained him. Adopting year-old, pre-owned Bentley is like inheriting a well-behaved, potty-trained preschooler instead of birthing an infant who stays up all night.  Since we already have a preschooler who stays up all night, Bentley’s my kind of addition.

And Amelia is over the moon. She’s been asking for a dog for as long as I can remember. She probably said “doggie” around the same time as “mommy.” She may have even called me a doggie, which would have been a compliment. We’ve long promised that when she turns five we’d get a dog, and since Amelia has a memory like a steel trap and a birthday that just passed, the dog search has been on for a while.

Which is good, because it turns out that adopting a dog is serious business. I’m not sure why I thought it would be simple – like someone who loves dogs enough to rescue them from pounds would then just blindly place them with anybody who promised some kibble. Nope, this involved an application with essay questions, a phone interview with the dog’s foster mom, two reference checks, an in-person interview, and a home visit. 

Which, now that Bentley is curled up beside me as I write this, I understand and appreciate. He’s a new family member. He’s here for the long haul. We thought this would be Amelia’s companion, but we all are in puppy love.  As Amelia says, Bentley is the perfect dog for us. 

Ok, enough with the lovey-dovey stuff. I don’t have a craft for this post, apart from the expected dog accoutrements – a little toy box, a pillow for his (scarcely used) crate, and I’m sure there will be a dog department in my Etsy shop soon enough. Instead, here are some things we’ve learned about dog adoption…you know, in case anybody reading this is interested in bringing home a new best friend and immediately turning into a puddle of slobbering dog talk for weeks thereafter.
he's still got plenty of puppy energy!
  • Puppy love doesn’t have to involve a puppy.  Bentley is about a year and a half old, and fully trained is a great thing. He doesn’t chew the furniture or bite, and he’s grown out of some of his puppy energy.  He’s just the right balance of playmate and lap dog. 
  • Rescue dogs are fully vetted.  Not in the “really, he’s a great guy, my friend’s friend knows him so you should date him” kind of way.  I mean they’ve been to the vet. Bentley’s rescue organization had him neutered, gave him his shots, started him on heartworm medication, and they do whatever is needed to make the dogs healthy and ready for adoption. 
  • There are a LOT of dogs that need homes, and a LOT of rescue organizations trying to find them. We searched Petfinder to find dogs whose profiles seemed to fit what we were looking for, and each dog we applied for was in the care of a different rescue organization.  I suspect that these organizations vary somewhat in process and in quality, but all are motivated by the very noble desire to save these animals from unpleasant conditions and likely death, and find them loving homes.  The organization that rescued Bentley is Furever Angels Animal Rescue, and we are (fur)ever grateful to them. 
  • Rescue isn’t free.  The adoption cost covers the expenses of transporting dogs, spaying and neutering, vet bills, medications, food, and whatever else comes up.  Bentley was extremely well cared for in his foster home, where his foster mom bought him clothes (!), toys, and most importantly loved him. The cost of this? Priceless. Anything you pay is a bargain.
  • About the fostering. I don’t know if every rescue agency does this, but the ones we spoke with do. After they are rescued and vetted, the dogs are placed in foster homes with real families, so they can be loved and cared for individually, and the rescue organization can assess their personalities…and in turn, assess the families that apply for adoption.  Bentley’s the perfect dog for us because his foster mom knew we’d be the right family for him.
OK, that’s the end of my mushy tail (couldn't resist!) of puppy love. Really, I promise the next post will be more traditional crafty mess.  But for now, a warm little dog and a sweet little girl are ready for a bath. Together.

He IS the perfect dog for us.

Craving more crafty fun? Check out additional posts of A Crafty Mess over at Charlotte Parent. Or stop by my Etsy store, Made by Mommy.  Or better yet, leave a comment here...I'd love to hear from you!