Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rescuing Another Dog

As I was sitting outside at my sister's in San Diego, sipping a Longboard beer, watching my brother-in-law barbecue hamburgers and pineapple, their phone rang. It was my brother-in-law's mother; his sister had found a dog. His mom already had three dogs and couldn't take in any more, could he and my sister foster the dog while the owner was found? Immediate reaction from my brother-in-law: "Sure!". The look on my sister's face said it all: "You're lucky my sister is here otherwise there'd be some sharp words spoken." What she did say was, "Can we discuss this?"

My sister called me three weeks prior to this with questions about rescuing their first dog. She called me because I had adopted a rescued dog last year. I said I couldn't imagine my life without Marlowe now. A dog can change your life, and then your life is changed because of the dog, too. My sister and her husband love to travel. They like to go out to dinner with friends and then linger over wine with conversation. They are in the process of landscaping the yard. As owners of their business, the hours can be unpredictable. Your life will change when you have a dog.

The littlest whim now becomes a thought-out plan. With a dog, you have to decide whether a weekend family trip has to be trimmed down to an afternoon at the beach, because the resort doesn't allow pets. Looking at the house from the low-vantage point of the dog also becomes a necessity. The azalea plant by the front door  that was your pride and joy, changes to a poisonous plant ready to strike in the blink of an eye. No more leaving your shoes by the front door when you walk in the door; habits will need to be broken in order to save shoe leather.

Adopting a dog will change your life in ways that you wouldn't even have predicted. You adopt a dog for the companionship, perhaps as a walking buddy, or for the company around a too quiet house. And then you start to notice the other non-tangible ways your life has changed. Owning a dog relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and wards off depression, among other health benefits.

My sister thought long and hard about adopting the first dog from the Humane Society. She wanted to make an informed decision. My brother-in-law, however, was smitten with her cuteness from the get-go. After two trips to the Humane Society, Hana came home to my sister's.

What would owning a second be like, my sister was asking me? Two dogs really are not that much more work. The key is that they need to be introduced to each other so the first one, Hana, doesn't respond in an aggressive or fearful manner. We have owned dogs as long as I can remember in our family--and as the youngest, my sister missed out on the raising of some of them. She has never had a dog in her adult life until now. It's a whole new ball game for her.

And the end of dinner that night, the decision was made to foster the runaway pup. The next decision was what to call her in the meantime while searching for her owners. The little Yorkie mix was found in the Little Italy section of San Diego on the corner of Second and Madison. My brother-in-law thought that Madison, or Maddy for short, would be a good name. I threw out, Why not Second? It'll be the Second dog, it works. I got the eye roll from my sister.

All this happened the first weekend in June, the last weekend I was employed. There was a feeling of light hearted-ness in the kidding about the names to call the new pup. Laughter around the table, carefree conversation, life was good.

I am writing this now a couple weeks later and the puppy has settled in. No owners came forward. No one to claim Maddy and take her away from my sister's arms. My sister who was not keen to have the second dog in the first place. Maddy has singled my sister out as her own and has melted her heart. There is no going back. Maddy is here to stay.

© pranaknits


  1. A very cute story, a very cute photo, a very cute ewok, er doggie.

  2. Yes, she does look like an Ewok! I agree!