Sunday, February 22, 2015

Adopting Honey

I've been wanting to adopt a dog, but the timing hasn't been right — my knee surgery, the weather (unusually cold!), and my parents' kitchen remodel felt like a perfect storm of obstacles. So I mostly looked online, for medium-sized mutts.

I received a listing for a border collie mix, a blonde girl named Mercy. She cocked her head just so; worth an application, I decided.

A day later, Anna from Chicago Canine Rescue asked about my approach to dog training and when I could visit the shelter. Wednesday, it turned out. Why wait until the weekend?

I drove to Chicago to meet Mercy, who was first on my introduction list. "You could name her Marcy," Kelsey had said. (Adorable!) But after a few awkward minutes it was clear Mercy wasn't comfortable around me.

Yet Anna and Hannah encouraged me to meet whoever I wanted. They were super knowledgeable and open to answering my many questions. So I met eight dogs.

Esperanza, a sato, was on the short list. (By the way, I learned a lot about satos from my many talks with Meryl from The Sato Project. She's their adoption and foster coordinator, and she not only knows a lot about the dogs, but she'll figure out your personality as well.) In Puerto Rico, Esperanza had stayed by the side of an injured dog, and I liked her loyalty.

But after almost three hours at the shelter, I also felt like I couldn't bear to leave Cinder, a gentle 40-pound black lab mix who rested her chin on my knee whenever I stopped petting her. She must have been practicing her soulful gazing.

It was hard to choose only one dog. But the first dog I'd had a connection with that day was Honey. In her profile, it said she "greets strangers with confidence." Indeed, she did: kissing, licking, waiting for belly rubs. "Pouring it on," as Hannah said. Honey seemed to love people, dogs, and toys, and I couldn't resist her playful spirit.

I never realized that adopting a dog comes down to not adopting other dogs. But Honey, who looks like a miniature German shepherd, was incredibly sweet. She was the one, my little Honeybun.

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