March into My Heart

Today’s Drip: Springtime Brought another Adoption

As my devoted, adoption blog followers have known for over a year now, my posts about our family dog who passed away last May are emotionally charged for me as the writer and for many readers who share the same love for our canine family members. We seem to all understand that losing the perfect pet is very difficult. The memories of our first family dog growing up with my two now-fully-grown sons will forever be cherished, as will the valuable life lessons my children learned because of him. It’s difficult to deny the benefits of raising children with a devoted, trusted pet in the family.

Although the pain of losing our dear yellow Lab, Jasper, has not faded for anyone in my family, especially as TV commercials and YouTube videos seemingly always feature Labradors, we have finally “embarked” on a new adventure with a modified version of our dearly departed canine child. Introducing our newest adopted family member: an apricot-colored Labra-doodle named “Duffy”. His full name is Lord Dufner of Duffington, thanks to my imminently-going-to-college son.

Duffy puppySome may wonder why we would want a new puppy if both “boys” will be away at college by the fall. I myself justified remaining dog-less in Seattle for the rest of my life, figuring we had the perfect family pet (except for the shedding) and no dog could ever fill that void or measure up to Jasper. However, as the months went by and the college acceptances arrived, I realized that it was selfish of me to keep my 11-year old daughter from enjoying a “sibling” when both brothers were away at college.  My husband and I each grew up with dogs, my sons had grown up with a dog and therefore, my daughter deserved a dog to accompany her through her teenage years. She also deserved to learn compassion and nurturing skills that any family pet can teach a child.

As suggested by some of my responsible and encouraging blog followers through posted comments following my two previous blog posts about Jasper, I had taken my daughter to the nearby dog shelter to “interview” prospective adoptees starting in January. Unfortunately, after several visits both in person and online, we couldn’t find a match since many of the dogs weren’t “kid-friendly”. I was impressed that the shelter was so careful about making a good match. We filled out a questionnaire that was almost as rigorous as the one we filled out before adopting our daughter. I was delighted that my daughter learned about shelters, the importance of caring for dogs, and that finding the right home for each dog is important.

My son, who had taken Jasper’s death especially hard and wanted to train our new dog before leaving home for college, took it upon himself to find a reputable, local breeder. He didn’t actually warn me about the impending adoption, calling our outing just a “visit” with a perspective pup. I was grateful that my daughter was away on a sleepover and missed out on the visit, which I had assumed would have made it impossible for me to show any resistance when confronted with those pleading green eyes. However, my husband and son were very effective without her help. What started out as a visit, ended up a full-fledged adoption, complete with crate, food, binder of instructions, and squeaky toys all piled into the back of our car for the drive home. I shouldn’t have been surprised and that was probably their intention from the start.

Duffy has now been a full member of our family for three months and we are all hopelessly hooked. I don’t remember much about Jasper’s puppyhood, now twelve years ago, except for certain early moments when the boys (then ages 6 and 8) screamed about the nipping with sharp teeth. However, this little pup is smart and very endearing and most importantly, has cheered us all up in a very brief amount of time. I had to admit that when my husband announced “I’m no longer in mourning”, I too, felt much better than I had in months. I know I’m not the first dog owner to adopt a new dog after the death of a beloved pet, but the feeling of joy when watching my family interact with this new, fluffy companion is heartwarming. I highly recommend the adoption of a family pet, from a shelter or a reputable breeder, to any responsible, caring family.

Patty Lazarus is the author of a new book about adoption titled “March into My Heart: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption.” Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Y5JNvg

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Comments (5)

  1. Patty P.

    Hi Patty,

    I just read your whole blog on losing your beloved Jasper and adopting a new Labra-doodle — Duffy. I am so happy that Duffy brought back such joy in your family. I was just wondering if you can give me name of breeder of your new Labra-doodle as I am looking to adopt one too.

    Your story was so heartfelt and I enjoyed reading it.

    Good luck with Duffy! And goid luck to your boys in college!

    Patty P.

    • pattyl@jlazarus.com

      Thanks so much for your sweet comments, Patty. I didn’t love our breeder but our pup is great. Shedless in Seattle is her website. I wish you the best!!

  2. Patty-Just yesterday I took our beloved Mochi, a 13 year old Shiba Inu, to be euthanized. He had been blind for 4 years and showed us all such bravery as he romped around our yard and tackled the two flights of stairs just to get to “his domain”, as we called it. Two weeks ago the Vet found a large mass which was spreading fast and we took two weeks to get the family home to bid him farewell. It was a sad day yesterday as I took him in and watched his peaceful death. The hardest, yet best thing I could do for him. He was our “Jasper” and it is my hope that one day we will be able to offer a home to another dog. Knowing how much Jasper meant to your family and hearing how a new puppy has helped you to move forward gives me hope that we will one day be able to share the love with another canine family member. Thank you for sharing. Kris R

    • pattyl@jlazarus.com

      So sorry for your loss, Kris. You’ll never forget a good pet but a new one really helps ease the pain. Thanks for reading.

  3. Jennifer

    As a fellow animal-lover and owner of two precious dogs myself, I’m thrilled that you’ve decided to bring another canine into your fold. WONDERFUL! However, as a dog foster mom also who volunteers with a local animal rescue and is keenly aware of the (often) overwhelming number of dogs in shelters and foster homes needing new homes, it is extremely frustrating and upsetting for animal rescue volunteers to learn about people buying (not adopting) dogs from private breeders.

    While I’m not intending to start any debates about the shelter vs. breeder pros and cons as I feel there *is* a legitimate need for purebred dogs who serve very specific purposes, I DO feel the need to speak out and speak UP for all of the dogs (mixed and purebred) in foster care and other shelters who are desperately looking for and needing a new, forever family. Knowing this, WHY WHY WHY go directly to a breeder after just one unsuccessful visit to an animal shelter and also not even attempting to “interview” local animal rescue organizations?

    Sadly, it’s a principle of supply-and-demand here: Private dog breeders continue breeding dogs because people demand them – generally for no other reason than they don’t think a shelter dog is *good enough* for them/their family and the adopters have a certain “criteria” for a dog that must be met. Instead of investing the time, energy, and effort to find that dog, people have decided to create their own dog – hence the birth of “designer dogs” . And the demand for these (such as Labradoodles, Maltipoos, etc.) is nothing short of ridiculous, not to mention dangerous as it’s significantly altering the genetic make-up of dogs that were perfectly acceptable in their original breed states.

    Those of us in animal rescue are so tired of seeing these man-made “designer dogs” originating from private breeders (which also end up in shelters and foster care) when soooo many wonderful, loving mixed breed dogs are available through at least a 1/2 dozen legitimate, well-known and respectable dog rescue organizations here in Western WA alone!

    Sadly, we live in a society where people buy on impulse without a second thought because they want “it” now and are willing to pay whatever it costs to satisfy their need and get the most perfect “whatever” they can afford. We see this over and over again when shelter and foster dogs go un-adopted and are eventually euthanized (thousands and thousands every single day across the country) because they carry the stigma that there must be something wrong with a shelter dog or else he/she wouldn’t be there. That is just SOOO not true in the vast majority of cases!

    When I look at my dogs and/or the foster dogs I have in my home at any given moment, it warms my heart to know that they’re alive because of me and my ability to overlook the rescue dog “stigma” and still bring them into my home. I just can’t imagine how one could experience that same sense of appreciation for an animal that was nothing more than a financial transaction through a breeder.

    Best wishes to you and your family’s new pet :-)