Monday, May 17, 2010

On going the distance

There is a frost warning for tonight ... but really its no big deal here. This isn't my first dance, so I have learned not be seduced by the first tempting bits of warm weather into planting the garden too early.
I'm not sure if we get wiser as we get older or if its more a matter of having already learned life's lessons the hard way. The real freedom in being fifty five comes from the confidence of not being an apprentice anymore, eh?
Twelve years ago, when I bought my first computer, I had no idea how computers would bring the world to my doorstep. While I'm not much for chit chat or games and would never have enough time to lead an alternate life in a virtual world, I am delighted to have unlimited information at my fingertips.
When I adopted Ben, for instance, I knew that I was going need a whole new skill set. He had lived his entire life in an outdoor pen and brought more baggage with him than a model on a photo shoot. Between, and of course the kind folks at Maritime Golden Retriever Rescue, I was able to learn how to set him up for success.
If a person wants to start from scratch with a puppy or work with adopting an adult pet, there are wonderful guides available .... one of the best resources around is the free download section of The Best Friends site is chock full of great info. Our own has assembled a pretty comprehensive collection as well.
Anyone who adopts from a reputable rescue can also depend on the group for advice and support. But the one thing a rescue cannot do is force someone to keep their new best friend when they realize that there is more to pet ownership than simply adding the love.
When that happens ... reputable rescues always take the pet back in their care. There is no time limit on that with the really good ones ... very recently, ARC ( ) took a dog named Mollie back into their care ... eleven years after adopting her out. Her owner had passed away and noone in the family was willing or able to keep the little dog. So she came back to ARC, who will find someone who IS willing to offer this sweet girl a safe and loving retirement home.
Sometimes its a shorter interval than that. A few months ago, Elsie called me about a little fellow who had bounced back to ARC before the ink was even dry on the adoption contract. His new Mom had thrown him into every new possible situation immediately and then couldn't understand why the little fellow was a bit overwhelmed.
Of course Max was welcomed right back and settled back in with his Foster Mom to wait for a more committed and/or experienced adopter. Finally in January, I was delighted to remove Max from the homeless pet site when he was adopted.
One of the great satisfactions of adopting, imho, isn't simply knowing that one has saved a life.... it is the journey that one makes with each pet as their confidence and trust grows along the way.
There is no substitute or shortcut for that. I would like to be able to feel sorry for people who are unwilling to wait for that ... but in truth I have much more sympathy for the pets that are left in the lurch by those humans who are either too inexperienced or too impatient to go the distance. Pets have no say in the matter and it just confuses them more when yet another person decides to set them aside.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was saddened to have to list Max back on the site. He's just a great little guy .... he's friendly and well behaved and socialized and still young enough to have ever so many years of love and loyalty left to offer. Why did a great little guy like him wind up bouncing back? Was it his quirky little bark? Did his new home not realize that little dogs need as much work as the big boys?
I could almost envy the person who DOES adopt this great little guy ... because after everything that has happened this little lad really would have more love than anyone possibly could imagine for someone who really would love him furever.
When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably. Walt Disney.

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