A couple weekends ago, my wife and I were on our way home from an event. We stopped to have lunch. And since it was between point A and point B, I suggested we stop at the animal shelter. We have been without a pet for some time now, and this was more of an exploratory mission than one with a specific objective. We were just going to look around.
Many weekends before that, we had made a similar adventure. This one was with our little boy strapped in his car seat, and it came on the heels of much discussion about whether we were ready for a dog, since we had already proved ourselves somewhat proficient with a baby. Why wouldn't we be just as successful with a new four-legged friend? We had spent months prior being inspected and eventually dismissed by the Bull Terrier rescue group, who found us wanting in the very particular and specific criteria that they had set out for the adoption of their very specific breed. We went to the animal shelter with the notion that maybe we weren't the purebred type, and our little family might do better with a slightly used canine. Not too many miles, with little or no cosmetic damage, runs well.
The audition process at the shelter was geared more to us, and we had a variety of enthusiastic potential pets to choose from. We took each of them into a little room, where we sat on benches and watched our wobbly little boy negotiate the floor with all that doggy energy. We were on our fourth or fifth applicant when we were introduces to a white pup with hints of dalmatian, shepherd, and a broad chest and forehead that reminded us just a little of the Bull Terrier from which we had been dismissed.
She was a good dog, and not just because she had the ability and patience to stop abruptly when the little creature in front of her bobbed and weaved toward her. She didn't slobber and she didn't flinch. She was amazingly well adjusted. For a shelter dog. The only thing we weren't sure about was her name: Missy. When we took her home, she became Maddie and she was our dog.
A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I stopped by the animal shelter, in part, because we had been nudged in that direction by our friends who wanted to know why we hadn't jumped back on the doggy train. "C'mon, you empty-nesters. Don't you want a dog?"
Well, I guess the truth is, "no." Not yet, anyway. We don't want a dog. We want Maddie. And though we were happy to meet a number of nice dogs and cats and even looked at a few rabbits, we aren't ready. Not yet.