It’s not easy searching for a dog on the Internet.
Potential adopters are expected to pick a new pet based off a small thumbnail photo and a brief description. Sometimes the shelter will provide little more than the dog’s gender and approximate age. Other times, the shelter will enter a long, detailed description written from the dog’s point of view.
So it was no surprise that my wife and I were having trouble finding the perfect dog for our family. As I discussed in my last blog post, we looked for months and months. We weighed our options—should we buy or adopt? What breed do we want? Short hair or long hair? Large dog or small?
And then we saw Dog #735120.
After wavering on other dogs for so long, I immediately knew this one was different. He was a Lab/Vizsla puppy. Male. Neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations. He had a beautiful orange coat and stunning green eyes. Fully grown, he’ll be about 50 to 60 pounds—big enough to become a playful companion but not so big as to pose a risk to 10-pound Phoebe. In short, he was everything we looked for.
There was one minor problem, however: He was located in Columbia, Missouri, home of the dreadful Mizzou Tigers. I wondered if the Tiger spirit had already worn off on him, tainting his personality forever. Then I realized that, as a puppy, he had plenty of time to shed any memories of the black and gold in favor of the crimson and blue. Yes, I’d make sure this puppy was a Jayhawk. I’d save him, in more ways than one.
So the next day, I made the 90-minute drive down to Columbia, eagerly anticipating the first meeting with my new pal. In my anxiousness, I had to fight the tendency to develop a lead foot. “Patience,” I told myself.
I finally arrived at the Central Missouri Humane Society, and, as expected, he was perfect. I filled out the required paperwork and he got to enjoy his first car ride. Ever the curious puppy, he sniffed around for a while before settling in my lap. And just like that, he was no longer a helpless face peering out from inside a cage. He was our new family member.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. A nasty case of kennel cough meant Phoebe wouldn’t get to bond with her new brother for a few days. And since new puppies generally don’t like to sleep quietly through the night, we had quite a few 4 a.m. play sessions. Housebreaking wasn’t easy either, particularly with the new carpet we recently installed.
But somewhere in there, Dog #735120 became Luigi, and Phoebe finally had the playmate she had longed for. Luigi’s first wellness exam turned out great, and a round of antibiotics cleared up that pesky kennel cough. After a few days, he learned how to walk up and down stairs, play tug-of-war, sit and shake, and potty in the yard (for the most part). Our family finally feels complete—at least until we start having human children.
After a bit of reflection, I have no doubts that we made the right decision. I couldn’t be more proud of Luigi, and I take every available chance to show him off to friends and family. I think he’s pretty happy with how things turned out, too.
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