I lost my beloved rescue dog and constant companion Walter to old age in December, right before Christmas. It cast a very dark cloud over our holidays. A month later, I was still grieving and not handling the loss or the void in my life particularly well. I wasn’t sure I wanted another dog, nor the responsibility and heartbreak that comes with it, but I definitely knew I didn’t want a puppy. It had been 20 years since I’d had a puppy, and I questioned whether I had enough energy for a puppy or if my neglected aging body could even outlive it? My father-in-law adopted his last dog at 94 years old, and three years later, he and his dog are still going strong. I doubt I will be able to take care of a goldfish at 97 years old, much less a dog, but inspired by my father-in-law, I began looking at rescue websites, hoping to find my next little companion.
I saw a few dogs I liked and started submitting applications. Nine, to be exact, but I was only approved by one in Arizona. Believe it or not, the shelters and rescues in Colorado are experiencing a dog shortage. People working from home or unemployed because of COVID are emptying the shelters in search of companionship since human friends aren’t allowed in our houses anymore. Unfortunately, before I could pick up the dog in Arizona, it was adopted by someone else. It seems to be an extremely competitive dog market at the moment, and the rescues are looking like Walmart on Black Friday.
Weeks went by, and I was getting more and more depressed at not finding a dog. My husband was getting more and more desperate to swap out the teary-eyed emotional woman living with him in exchange for his long-lost wife, so he started dog shopping too. It took him five minutes to find a puppy on Craig’s List. Remember, I didn’t even want a puppy, but beggars can’t be choosers, as the saying goes, so we hopped in the car, and off we went to get a puppy. The family who had the litter didn’t request an application. They didn’t care if we had a fenced yard, didn’t ask about other family members or pets living in our household, and didn’t require a home inspection. They didn’t even ask for our names. I handed over the adoption fee, and they handed back a tiny one-pound puppy in a cardboard box and a can of dog food bigger than the dog, and that’s all there was to the adoption process.
I finally had something new to love, but it shrieked the entire hour and a half’s drive home unhappy about being whisked from its whelping box into the hands of a stranger…and it didn’t stop shrieking for three days and nights. I should have trusted my judgment about the “no puppy” rule.