Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where to Start...

We started this summer with two dogs. We have a Yorkie, Skittles (a female) who will be 11 on Halloween. We also have a Black Lab mix, Kobe (a female) who will be 2 on October 9. Both dogs were rescues (of sorts). Skittles was adopted at age 2 from one of my best friends who was ready to take her to the animal shelter. Kobe was adopted directly from the Animal Welfare League when she was 11 weeks old. Skittles has always hated Kobe and won't associate with her. I decided it was time to get Kobe a companion dog friend.

I looked for months on the shelter websites. All of the stories about the dogs broke my heart. One evening when my sons went to a White Sox game with their father, I decided to stop by the Animal Welfare League just to "look" at the dogs. I really had no intention of actually adopting one that night. Then, I met Jordan. Jordan is the name we gave her. The sign on her cage said Cocoa.

The noise level in the "big dog" portion of the shelter was in overdrive. There had to be 100 dogs in rows of cages. When I would walk by a cage, the dogs in it would bark as loud as they could at me. I also made the mistake of visiting at feeding time. The noise level, which was already unbelievably loud, increased tremendously. She was huddled in a ball in the back of her cage. I stopped at her cage and talked to her. She just raised her head for a second, gave me a quick glance, and then hid it again in her paws. She had only been in the shelter for 11 days and was still in shutdown mode, trying to cope with all of the noise and confusion. My heart went out to her.

I asked the front desk if I could meet her in a room. The poor thing didn't even want to come out of her cage and make the walk to the private room to meet me. She reluctantly followed the attendant, dogs on either side of her going into a barking frenzy as she passed their cages. Her sign said she was a German Shepherd mix, but I didn't and still don't see much German Shepherd in her. Her coat was dirty and matted, the undercoat shedding and sticking out all over the place from lack of grooming. I could feel her ribs when I ran my hands over her sides. She wanted to be friendly but was scared. She came and hid her face on my thigh. Of course, she won me over that very minute.

I proceeded to complete the steps needed to adopt her. As I was talking to the woman at the front desk, I learned that Jordan had been someone's pet. The family who owned her moved out of their house and just left her behind as a stray to fend for herself. I don't know how long she had to survive like that before one of the neighbors brought her to the shelter.

I drove 25 minutes home to get Skittles and Kobe. They had to meet Jordan and they all had to get along in order for the adoption to be approved. I held my breath as Skittles met Jordan. Knowing that Skittles hates Kobe, I wasn't sure how she would react to another big dog. Miraculously, Skittles didn't snap, growl, or bark at Jordan. Skits must have known that Jordan needed us. :) Two days later, after Jordan was spayed, I picked her up and brought her to her "forever" home. :)


  1. Jordan is so beautiful! How could her people just abandon her like that?! It just grinds my gut. But I'm so glad you found her, and know she's far happier and much better off now with you!

    We adopted our Willow under similar circumstances - with 3 rescued dogs at home, we just went to check out the new animal shelter since we were in the neighborhood (my husband, usually such a sweet-natured soul, growling at me as we went in that we were "just LOOKING, and NOT bringing ANYONE HOME WITH US!" Yes, dear.) ;-) I fell in love with Willow (original name "Perdy") immediately ~ a still, frightened little island of resignation among the frenzied cacophony of jumping and barking. I'm very noise sensitive myself, and can't imagine how horrible it must have been for Jordan and Willow to have to deal with that on top of their fear and confusion! Willow had been adopted from the shelter as a puppy by a family with 12 kids who tormented her, they didn't spay her and she got pregnant, and after she had her puppies they kept one and brought Willow and the rest of the pups to the shelter. The pups had all been adopted, and Willow had been there 18 days, which boggles the mind. I admit I felt terribly lucky that she was still there, because she is an absolute treasure and a blessing!

    Oh, and my husband took zero convincing that Willow needed to come home with us that day, and I'm glad it was the same with Skittles! :-)

  2. Jordan has been a treasured family member for over a year and a half now. She is a "people" dog and loves people and all of the attention she can get out of them. It took her months to feel comfortable. She didn't know how to ride in cars (the windshield wipers startled her into the backseat the first time she saw them), and to this day, she isn't flashlights make her uneasy. If she is scared outside, she runs and tries to hide. I think she had a rough time before she joined our family, and I suspect it was rough with her first family. It's become clear that she was not a treasured pet, just from her behaviors during the first year with us.

    I will never understand people who abuse others, including people and animals. Your response to me on your blog is so right ... it would be a glorious day if no animals had to be "rescued" and there was no more abuse.

    How you described your hubby made me smile. You two are true angels.