You guys. I am stressed out and sad. Stressed out and sad in that way that runs like a reel in the back of your head and keeps you from sleeping. In the way that sits in the bottom of your stomach and leaves a metallic, hungover taste in the back of your mouth. The way that ‘helpless’ feels when a situation is out of your hands and entirely depends on the whims of a stranger.
There is a dog that we’ve applied to adopt; the perfect dog, I might dare say. He’s a dog that “checks our boxes” such as that goes, but more than that, FEELS to me like the perfect guy. But the rescue, as is its right, does not look like it’s going to give our application any consideration.
For about 8 months now, I’ve scoured the internet, looking for the dog to fill our lives in the space that Matilda left behind. Adoption is the only avenue I am considering. I’m willing to pay a foster fee to a rescue, but absolutely not to a breeder. But the process, here in the PNW, borders very nearly on absurd.
To be fair, there are a number of considerations that narrow our field. I don’t want another dog-aggressive dog; 10+ years of that was difficult with Miss M and I’m not up for that challenge again. We have a cat now, and children, and though both are respectful of dogs (the children and the cat), we need a dog who has patience with them as well. We live in an apartment, so exercise will be of the family play, leashed walk and dog park variety…we need a dog with energy, but maybe not that agility dog energy.
We want a snuggler, a couch-companion, a road-trip buddy. This dog will share our space, all of it, even the bed. We want a family member more than just a pet.
Up until now, I have responded to all dog posts that look promising. I’ve asked myriad questions and I’ve accepted being turned away for one small reason or another over and over again in the belief that THE dog is out there. I’ve labored at maintaining a zen mindset about it to offset the disappointment at one near-miss after another, choosing to live in a space that says “The Perfect Dog Will Find Me”.
I’ve been truthful on all applications. There are many ways to lie to get around the process. I know lots of good people who have done so and have ended up with beautiful dogs for their families…but I’ve refused to do the same. Because the perfect dog will find me.
We walked away from a gorgeous pointer mix not long ago because she just didn’t feel quite perfect. And I didn’t look back. Because the perfect dog will find me.
And about 3 weeks ago, I was grateful to all the other rescues for being as annoyingly strict as they were. I was glad to have said “no way” to ridiculous dog visitation clauses. In debt to the rescue rep who questioned how I could afford a dog if “[you] can’t even afford [your] own home?” Happy to be turned away for having children, for not having a fenced yard, for not living in state, for not living in state even though that state was a 40 minute drive away, for not being willing to adopt certain breeds even though the dog we were interested in was not that breed. I was happy because a dog popped up at a local rescue that immediately felt like HOME.
With every update the rescue posted, this guy got more perfect. Every new picture melted my heart. I waited for the other shoe, the. “Oh man, I guess I’ll keep looking” deal-breaker. It didn’t come. The opposite happened. It was like our lifestyle and needs wrote a want-ad and this guy was created to reply to it.
I counted the days until he was ready for adoption. I put in my application within hours. I supplied references. We went to meet him at an adoption event. Being able to pet him and look into his eyes and cuddle him did nothing for opposition research. He is perfect and walking away was torturous.
But our application went in on Tuesday and we’ve heard nothing. All subsequent phone calls have gone unreturned. Follow up emails have been ignored. FB messages unanswered.
The writing is on the wall. This is the dog rescue equivalent of He’s Just Not That Into You.
And thus, the system that I, for a split second, lauded (Because The Perfect Dog Will Find Me), I am now cursing because it is breaking my heart.
Every new post about this dog that says Ready For Adoption!! makes me want to scream “MEEEEEE!!!! Meeee!!!!! Look at my application!!!!! PLEASE PICK MY HOME!!!!!”
I spent last night dreaming of hugging this dog. Loving this dog. Welcoming this dog.
And even though I am holding on to a glimmer of hope (she was busy, it was a big weekend, all the other applicants are self-avowed puppy-murderers), in my mind, I know we aren’t going to hear from the rescue.
It’s an awful feeling. An awful, awful feeling.