I volunteer at a no-kill shelter, North Beach PAWS, located near Ocean Shores, WA, and even though we don’t put to sleep adoptable animals, we sometimes have animals that languish at our shelter for lack of an adopter. Cats generally fare quite well in the shelter environment, but dogs don’t for long periods. Shortly after meeting Ginger she placed a dog for us that had been with us for a long time. I wondered how I could thank her for her help over and above forwarding her flyers and asking my friends to pass them on to their friends. – The answer came when she sent me a flyer of an adorable dog named Opal. I showed the flyer to my husband, and he immediately agreed that we should adopt her as a companion for our Sparky. What a wonderful way to thank Ginger for her generosity!
Even though we had been in rescue for awhile and had fostered several dogs, we were not prepared for the challenge of Opal. She had bad habits that drove us up the wall, and we asked Ginger to take her back several times, each time Ginger graciously agreeing to take her back, and us changing our minds and deciding that we couldn’t give her back. Over time we learned to cope with her bad habits, and change them to the best of our ability.
We re-learned some important lessons about adoption. Adoption doesn’t always work smoothly in the beginning. The pet that you get is seldom perfect. They come with their own baggage and scars, just like people do. You sometimes have to work hard to integrate the adoptee into your family. You have got to be committed to making it work.
Why do I say that we re-learned important lessons about adoption? — When we adopted our Sparky five years before Opal, he suffered so badly from separation anxiety that over time he destroyed a sleeper sofa down to the bare wood and box springs! Nothing was safe from his fangs. Now he would never do such naughty things, and even stuffed animals are safe in his presence. There were several times during the first year that we had him that I wanted to return him to the shelter that we adopted from, but my conscience wouldn’t let me. Now I wouldn’t give my boy up for the world! And Opal? Even though she still has some bad habits, I wouldn’t give her up for the world either!