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Have you ever wanted a dog? Like really bad? Like right now? I have. I’ve even said, “I want a dog right freakin’ now!’ I know that sounds like something a child should be saying but those words came from the mouth of a grown ass woman. Here’s my story.

Backstory A few months back my husband finally started talking about getting a second dog. For backstory, we got our first dog Rebel in February of 1997. In November of 1997 we brought Wrigley into the mix. Both dogs were chocolate labs from breeders.

We didn’t need breeder bred dogs. We didn’t hunt them or show them. But really, that is pretty much all we knew was dogs that were from breeders. You didn’t hear much about rescue organizations back then. Or I didn’t. Maybe I was living under a rock.

When Wrigley died unexpectedly in May of 2006 we waited a whole month before Carter decided we needed to go back to being a two dog family. I wasn’t convinced but I trusted him. So we turned to PetFinder to find a rescue dog. And we got Caesar, a lab mix. But only after a bad experience with the Humane Society.

We had found Thomas, a two year old Chocolate Lab, on the Humane Society website. We called to see if we could look at him and were told yes. We drove over and hour to see him only to be told he wasn’t at that location. He was actually at one near our house. We were instructed to go there and we could see him.

When we got to the second Humane Society location we were told that Thomas was quarantined and that we couldn’t see him. End of story. No come back in a few days. No sorry for all the running around you’ve done to meet this dog that we told you you could meet. Just a better luck next time.

We both soured on the Humane Society after that. I’m sure we caught people at their worst. I’m sure it’s not how they normally deal with people. But we moved on from wanting to adopt from the Humane Society. So we turned to Petfinder. And we found Caesar, who was four months old. And we was just what we needed.

We filled out the application online. Carter had to go meet him because I was in a class that Saturday. And he had to beat out a single mom and her six year old son for Caesar. As Carter tells it, the mom appeared to be buying a toy for her kid, not adopting a beloved member of the family. The Humane Society did us a huge favor that weekend. Because of them we got to bring Caesar into our family.

a dog is the only thing

Okay, I think you’re mostly caught up. So a few months back my husband was investigating a particularly awful sex trafficking case. I was doing my best to not learn too many details about it. We usually talk about most of his cases so he can decompress but there are times when I just can’t hear too much because it’s so sad.

He tracked down and arrested this man for trafficking a 14 year old. A 14 year old child! It was awesome on his part because this guy really needed to be brought to justice. His parents were harboring him, too. I was doing a really good job of not knowing too many details. I just knew he was getting a lot of praise for his arrest and for that I was proud of him.

Then I read an article in the newspaper without realizing it was about his arrest. I was overcome with sadness. Sadness for this poor girl and sadness for the world we’ve become. How is this a thing that happens in our society now?!

I decided to go to Petco to look at dogs because I knew a rescue organization had an adoption there. And who doesn’t feel better being around dogs. I knew this because I had been looking at the Petfinder app on my phone. I know I shouldn’t have it on my phone because, well, I just ended up looking for dogs to adopt. It’s like Tinder but for people and pets.

But ever since my husband mentioned getting a second dog I’ve had it back on my phone. Okay, maybe a little before then since I knew he’d eventually come around. Carter and I were going to meet for dinner so he met me at Petco.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from Teen Mom it’s that when the going gets tough, get a dog. Already got one? Get another one. There is no heartbreak that another dog can’t fix according to Teen Mom.

We looked at a few different dogs: Sherlock, Bonzie, and Andy. Sherlock was a 3 year old chocolate lab. Bonzie was a 4 year old Pit Bull mix. Andy was a 1 year old Lab Shephard mix. We took each one outside to get son one on one time with them. Carter wasn’t sold on any of them because he felt like they weren’t connecting with us. I of course was heartbroken because I wanted a dog.

So I cried. And I cried some more. Than I self medicated with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I knew my emotions weren’t because we didn’t get a dog that night. But it still didn’t  make me want one any less.

Adopting a dog is a big decision. It’s not something you should enter into lightly. And it definitely shouldn’t be a reaction to some extreme feelings you’re having. But for whatever this was how I was feeling: another dog will make things better.

Getting a dog isn’t like getting a pair of shoes or a new set of clubs. A dog is a living, breathing thing. It’s not something you can return if you get home and find you have buyer’s remorse. I mean you can, but you shouldn’t. It’s not a toy. It’s a valued member of the family and should be treated as such. So before you invite a dog into your family, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.

A dog can’t solve all the wrongs of the world. No matter what they say on Teen Mom. Seriously, watch that show. Those girls get a lot of dogs.

Step back and evaluate your feelings. What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish by adopting a dog? For me, I’ve never had a deep sadness like I did learning about that case. I’ve never wrestled with depression so this was maybe the closest I’ve ever come. And I don’t even know that it was a depression. I just wanted to do something to make a difference and this seemed like the best option.

Instead of rushing into getting a dog, consider some other things you could do. Things such as…

Offer to pet sit. Get your dog fix by offering to look after someone else’s dog. Dog owners always need reliable people to take care of their dogs when they’re away from home. Whether it’s taking a dog for a walk or petsitting, pup parents always need reliable, friendly people to take care of their pooches.

Volunteer. Shelters and dog oriented organizations can always use help. They generally run on very little funds so much of the work that gets done is because of volunteers. Duties will vary as will time commitments. Do your research before jumping in. Some require a long term commitment.

Foster. I don’t know much about fostering dogs. I do know that if I did, I’d want to keep every dog. Or I’d have a hard time letting them go with their new family. For that reason, I’ve never looked into fostering too much. But I’ve met some amazing people at the dog park who foster dogs. It sounds like each rescue organization has their own requirements. Do your homework to find an organization that fits your lifestyle.

A dog can’t fix the sick feeling in my stomach I get learning about another sex trafficking victim. If it could, we’d have dozens of dogs by now. Sherlock and Bonzie were adopted within a few weeks. I wasn’t surprised. But I also wasn’t bummed. I’m glad my husband recognized that my desire for a dog “right freakin’ now” was the result of something else, not me really wanting a dog. I mean, yeah I want a dog. But I don’t want to get a dog in reaction to something. I want a dog because it will complete our family.

When you start thinking about bringing a dog into the family, remember that it’s not something that will happen right away. It can take time to find one that feels like it belongs in your family. Enjoy the process! Trust the process. You’ll find the right furry addition to your family in due time..

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