Today I'm pleased to welcome another animal lover, author Marie-Nicole Ryan to Terry's Place.. Are you afraid of adopting a dog with major issues? See what happened when Marie gathered her courage and adopted a Sheltie. And be sure to leave a comment because she’s giving away one of her books.
First of all, let me thank Terry for giving me the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject, Cassie the Wonder Sheltie, and how I came to adopt her. When my last dog had to be euthanized, I swore I didn’t want another dog. How could I replace Tazz? He was a darling cinnamon Chow Chow, and I’d inherited him from my son who moved out and couldn’t have a large dog in his apartment. Tazz was my best bud for the last several years of his life, so my heart was really broken when the time came to say good-bye.
That was in July 2006. I retired from my day job in October. Get another dog? No way. I was far too busy with my new Samhain contract; I just didn’t have time for a dog. And I wasn’t over grieving for Tazz.
Then fast forward until September 2008. I went to visit friends in upstate New York, and they’d just been given a Maltese puppy. Darling Buffy became my lapdog for the week I spent up there, and I finally realized it was time to start thinking about getting a new companion.
This time it would be a rescue, a small female, and it would be my choice. But I had all these nagging worries. What if I picked a dog with issues? I’d be stuck because I’d never be able to give a dog back. Would I be destined to call Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer? Would I be, for the first time I must add, the alpha in the household?
Having a dog would curb my freedom to travel. Vet bills are almost as expensive as human doctor bills. Yes, I had many, many worries.
So I dithered and withered. I dilly-dallied. But that didn’t keep me from haunting the Maltese and Chow Chow dog breeder web sites. In my surfing I came across the Middle Tennessee Sheltie Rescue. Now a Sheltie is small. But they shed, and this time I sort of wanted a dog that didn’t. I must’ve filled out the organization’s adoption application two the three times, but finally the first of April 2009, I e-mailed it to the director, figuring it would take a while.
The very next day, I received a call from the director of the rescue organization, the wonderful Ann Acuff. She said she had a Sheltie in mind for me, one who would love to have a forever home and who was a bit of a diva. I told Ann I worked from home and had a fenced backyard. We made an appointment for me to meet Cassie. Oh, and Cassie was on a diet. She weighed twenty-seven pounds when she came to Ann in January and should only weight 15-15 ½ pounds because she’s a tiny Sheltie.
I spent the next few days buying toys, a bed, leash, collar, and a halter/seatbelt kind of deal. Cassie took a trip to the groomer on Tuesday and I went to meet her on Wednesday. OMG! She was beautiful with the sweetest face you’ve ever seen. I’d seen her picture on the web site, so I knew she was a pretty little thing, but I had no idea just how beautiful she truly was. Her weight was already down to 20.4 pounds and I received many instructions on her care and diet.
I took notes—yes, I did.
Cassie and I played some fetch with a tennis ball, and I was allowed to bring her home. She spent a couple of days, sniffing every single corner of my house. Her nose was to the ground. It was twenty-four hours before she so much as barked. She quickly learned where her food and water bowls were and had no trouble telling me when she was ready to eat.
Now that we’ve been together for the last eight and a half months, I can’t imagine my life without her sweet face. She’s spoiled rotten and sleeps on my bed, but for all that she’s still a very good little girl. She guards the cul-de-sac, but she’s a friendly sweet-natured companion.
Adopting or rescuing an animal is a responsibility. No doubt about it. But take it from me, it’s so worth it. Please consider it the next time you think about a new pet. Even if you can’t adopt or foster a dog or cat, there are numerous ways to support the selfless efforts of breed rescue organizations, your local humane society or the ASPCA.
Best-selling Samhain Publsihing author Marie is a regular at the “Shades of Suspense” blog, or you can find her at her website, marienicoleryan.com. To win one of her books, leave a comment here. Winner announced on Friday, January 15th. Please check back to see if you won.