I have always wanted another dog. Ever since Frankie went to his new home before we moved to Iowa, I have had a dog-sized hole in my life. I’ve missed that companionship.
Brian, however, has not.
He wasn’t raised with pets; instead, pets were always seen as extra work. He’s mentioned a few times that he wouldn’t mind having a dog, but he worries about the commitment. I’ve never pushed it, knowing that wouldn’t do either of us any good.
In the past few months we’ve been talking about it more and more. Two weeks ago today, we were planning on going to a local state park for a hike. I knew one of our local shelters has a “Dogs Day Out” program, where you can take an adoptable dog out for the day (they even get to wear a cute little “adopt me” vest). So I carefully suggested to Brian that it might be fun to give a dog a day out in the woods, you know, since it was a beautiful day and all. Surprisingly, he said it sounded like fun.
We got to the shelter and there were three available dogs (they were running an adoption special that weekend, so thankfully many dogs already had new homes). They asked if we had any kids – we said not yet, but we would definitely like to take out a kid-friendly dog. That left one dog: a (approximately) 5 year old pit bull mix. My heart sank a bit. While I LOVE pit bulls, I had always envisioned a young, male dog being our new pup. And while I acted like this was just a simple day out, of course adding a new family member was on the back of my mind.
I decided that at the end of the day, we would at least give this girl a day out of a kennel, and hopefully someone would see her and express interest. We got her leash and headed out. She jumped right into the back of our car and slept the whole 45 minutes to the state park.
We quickly learned that Hilda (the name the shelter gave her) was a trooper. We hiked over two hours around the state park, and she did awesome with every human and dog we came across. We even slightly broke the rules and brought her back to our house afterwards – we had some yard work to do and wanted to se how she did in our yard. She was great, alternating between sleeping on the deck and romping around the yard.
Eventually, it was time to bring her back to the shelter. When we walked in, they asked how it went. We gushed at how great she was, and they asked if we wanted to fill out an application.
We weren’t sure, we said. I mean, we hadn’t come in really looking to take home a dog. They let us know that she had one application on her ahead of us, so chances are she wouldn’t be available anyway. But if we wanted to put in an application, they would simply notify us if something fell through, and we could make our decision at that time. Sure, we thought. There’s no commitment there. We filled out the form, were told we’d maybe hear something Tuesday, and headed home.
Monday was a bit crazy – Brian found out that there would be layoffs at his company and notifications would be sent the following day. We thought about our maybe-dog a bit, but most of the day was spent worrying about our future. Thankfully, we got word late Tuesday morning that his job was spared. We were still sad, since the paper lost 11 positions. Yet grateful since this time around, he was not one of them.
I didn’t bring up the dog after work since I knew Brian was feeling lots of feels about a very stressful day. Then he asked me if I had heard from the shelter. No, I said. I’m guessing she went to the other family. Then Brian pulls out his phone, and I see that the shelter’s website is already pulled up (this was my first hint that he really fell for her). According to the website she was still available. Since it was about 7:30 at this point, right before they close, we decided that I would call in the morning for an update.
15 minutes later, at 7:45 p.m., my phone rang.
“Hi, is this Jordan?” the girl on the line asked.
“This is so-and-so at xyz shelter. Your application for Hilda has come up, are you still interested in adopting her?”
I looked over at Brian, who had a goofy mixed up look of shock, exhaustion, and excitement on his face. That was the moment that she (almost) became ours.
I confirmed our interest, and then the logistics and red tape kicked in. I love our city, but they do still apply to the archaic notion of breed specific legislation. Since her primary breed is American Pit Bull Terrier, we had to go through some additional steps. On the call that night, the shelter let me know that I’d have to stop by when they opened at 11 the next day, take it to the city clerk with our proof of liability insurance (our city requires a $100,000 personal liability policy for any dog of the pit bull breed because they are automatically deemed “vicious”). Once we had her city license, we could go back to the shelter and fill out the final forms to adopt her.
Oh, and we had to get there before 7 p.m., or else she’d be released back to being adoptable.
Thankfully, I had called our insurance company on Monday just in case things went our way, and found out we already had three times the coverage we needed. Thanks to a flexible work schedule, I headed up to the shelter at 11 a.m. Wednesday and got her rabies certificate. They were really excited for us – one employee even admitted that she hoped all along we were the ones to get her.
Unfortunately, the city clerk’s office were much less friendly. I swear, they are the grouchiest people to begin with, but as soon as the lady found out I was registering a pit bull, she became especially cold. Too bad for her – I had all the right paperwork, and after enduring some rude comments from her about how “you never know, a dog can always bite,” I left with her city tag. She was one step closer to being ours. “Vicious” and all…
We got off work (thankfully both on time) and headed up to the shelter. We had all the right documents, and filled out the rest of the paperwork while we were there. They even honored the adoption special they had going the day we went to see her, so our discount dog was a whopping $25. We learned a bit more about her: she was just recently spayed, they are guessing she’s about 5, but we will never really know because she was brought in by animal control. We have no idea (and never will) if she was a stray, or if she was pulled out of a bad home. She’s certainly a bit underweight – her new vet said she’s on “the extreme low end of normal.” Not emaciated, but she needs to gain at least 5-8 pounds.
The last two weeks have been a blur. We are still getting to know her little personality but at the same time, we feel like she’s been a part of our life forever. Oh, and the name had to go. While “Hilda” kind of grew on me (I was jokingly calling her Hildabeest), Brian HATED it. We tossed so many names back and forth. He’d like one, I wouldn’t. I’d love one, he hated it. Until Brian suggested “Corre” which is Italian for “she runs.” And that was it. Corre (Rae, for short) was officially named, and officially ours.