Adopting a dog has proven to be the very best thing I have done this decade. By orders of magnitude. Because I am new at writing this column, and this being a slow week over at the shelter, perhaps now is a good time for a little background information on your new correspondent.
I was raised in a very lively household, with seven brothers and sisters, and no less than two dogs and at least one cat at all times. The most memorable of the canines was a husky malamute mix named Zodiac (Zodi for short). While I would like to claim that we adopted her, it was more the other way around, there being no shortage of treats, activity and love available for her at our house. I would argue that you have not truly lived until you have gone tobogganing with such a dog: she would not only ride down the hill with us on the toboggan, but she would drag it back up the hill, as well. She missed her calling as a musher.
Zodi had an excellent sense of direction and frequently was seen miles away from our house, exploring the far reaches of my town and searching for some sort of present to bring home. Frequently that was a raccoon or a possum, but occasionally it was a skunk. She gently and deliberately placed the carcasses in the crawlspace underneath my parents’ bedroom. It fell to me to retrieve the deceased before the unpleasant decay set in.
From 1970 to 1976 Plymouth produced a fast little sports car called a Duster. Around that time, my teen-age brothers acquired a bright orange one that still serves as my ultimate dream vehicle. Around the same time, we acquired the last in a long series of cocker spaniels. Anyone who has ever owned one knows that the hair on their feet frequently grows long enough to serve well as a duster. So, of course, we named our new pup Dusty. Being a cocker spaniel, he was lovable, gentle and remarkably gifted in the art and science of retrieving any rock I would throw from the driveway into the woods.
I tell you all of that to tell you this: Both dogs had the bad habit of rooting through and spreading around the garbage that I had frequently failed to take out as part of my daily chores. In that way, I acquired another daily chore, namely that of picking up the garbage first thing in the morning. And, of course, because I had also failed to take the dogs for a proper walk prior to going to bed, they would relieve themselves on the floor in front of my bedroom door. Cleaning it up became another one of my morning chores. So I entered adulthood not particularly enthused about the prospect of ever owning a dog.
I acquired my golden retriever, Samantha, from my landlord in Chatham, who could not handle owning a puppy. I enjoyed taking her for walks, training her to go out when she needed to, swim and fetch, and to behave properly around us humans. When it came time for me to move out, I guess I had grown attached to her and I was sorry to say goodbye. Happily, about a week later, my landlord called me and asked me if I wanted a dog. My response? “Let me think about it: Yes.”
All of which is a long-winded way of encouraging anyone who thinks they might not enjoy every single aspect of owning a dog to consider doing so anyway. I got very lucky in the process, but I would encourage anyone who has half a mind to do so to think about it carefully beforehand.
And then, go ahead and take the plunge. The positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to adopting a dog. And all that applies to our newest dog, Angel. Angel is a sweet, senior Maltese mix that is a little on the shy side. She takes a while to warm up to you, but once she does, she’ll follow you everywhere. Even better, she loves to go for car rides, so you can take her everywhere. Angel is a great walker, and although she may not go at a fast pace, we promise the walk will be just as enjoyable. Angel is getting some necessary attention at the veterinarian early next week and then will be available for adoption. Because of her small size and her age, families with older, dog-savvy children would be best. We may be placing her in a foster home soon, so please call us to arrange a good time to see her.
FFD still has beautiful 2020 calendars for sale ($10 each) featuring alumni from the past couple of years. These make great gifts for your dog-loving friends and support the efforts of FFD to provide much-needed health care for Falmouth dogs.
FFD is at 150 Blacksmith Shop Road, Falmouth. We are open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 AM to noon and Monday, Thursday, and Sunday from 3 to 5 PM. We can be reached at 508-548-7742. Visit friendsoffalmouthdogs.org.