Photo by Geoff Tischman
By Dave and Yvette Goldman
They say that dogs choose their owners. We couldn’t agree more. As soon as my husband and I finished renovating our one bedroom Rye cottage into a family home, we knew it was time to adopt a dog! We drove out to Long Island to the North Shore Animal League. There was never any question about <not> going to a shelter. Never even crossed our minds.
Abby was the first puppy they put in our arms. Room after room of puppies, and older dogs too, and yes, we wanted to take them all. We held her, this 12-week-old Black lab mix, she looked at us, we looked at her, and then...we put her back in the crate to explore the other rooms, to see the other puppies. Another dog captured our interest, we played, we cuddled, we considered, we almost had a match. But something tugged at us, something made us go back to the first room of puppies for another look…
We can still see her face, her little body, the way she sat in that crate and stared at us when we entered, and no lie, we both felt her tell us without words, “I am your dog. (It’s about time you got done messing around with that other one!) I am yours.” The connection was so strong, so real, so unexpected. Here we are, many years later, and our bond with her is strong, true, and deep. The joy she brings to our lives, our home, our daughter, is difficult to put into words. But you know. If you are reading this, chances are you love or have loved a dog of your own, so you know.
When Abby was 6 she started looking lonely. Our daily trips to Rye Town Park to play with other dogs had tapered down, (new rules and a new child). We decided it was time to give her a brother. We saw online through Petfinder that the New Rochelle Humane Society (now the Humane Society of Westchester) had a litter of puggle/lab/shepherds up for adoption. We went there because they allowed us to bring Abby, so she could meet and choose her brother, (our girl loves all humans but is selective with other dogs). There were two boys in the litter, the first one came out and quaked with fear when faced with Abby! He was terrified; he’s not the one. Then the second boy came out. A little tough guy. He stood right up and tried to stare her down. It was almost comical as he was so small and skinny and she was most definitely not.
There he was, so young, so fierce, like a little bully. And in my mind I’m already planning dinner and looking on Petfinder and deciding upon the next day’s errands...when I hear my husband say, “That’s the one! We’ll take him.” And I hear the shelter volunteer agree. <What?? Wait! Him? But he challenges her!> And my husband knew...that’s a good thing. So, Grady became ours. They frolic and rough house like two boys...and he brought a sweet chaos to our home. We love him just as much, and just as sweetly. He found us, he chose us. (Though I’ve never been able to tell what he’s thinking the way I can with Abby, those puggle eyes are a mystery to me…)
And the years roll on, we all have our ups and downs. Abby is now 12, Grady is 6, and sometimes, he jumps on her to play, and her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be...Perhaps a new pup for Grady to play with?
There are so many wonderful rescue groups in this area. They do the most amazing work, finding homes for the thousands of dogs in need; beautiful, loving, pure-breed, half-breed, designer breed, mixed breed, mystery breed, dogs that might languish in shelters for years, or lose their precious lives. The people that do this work are true angels.
So we looked on Petfinder, filled out applications, looked some more...sometimes the cute pup in the pic that you fell in love with goes home with someone else. And that’s okay, because they are the lucky ones, they found a home. And then, a few weeks ago, we saw a litter of “small breed” pups that came up from the south by Happy Life Animal Rescue. Our application approved, we drove to Brewster for the adoption event. Four of the seven littermates were there, all boys, all playing, a rolling ball of puppy joy. We fell in love with a little brown fellow. Our daughter held him for a long time, and we were smitten. Sadly, we then learned that he had been promised to another. (Can I brag about a 9-year-old child that didn’t cry or carry on even though the disappointment was so real that her Mom was about to burst into tears!) Meanwhile, all the other littermates were gone. All of them.
Silently we drove the hour home, and as we turned onto Playland Parkway, the phone rang. One of the boys was indeed available, could we come back? We turned around and went back, and there he was, a little white dog with brown spots and the sweetest disposition of all. Scoopy. Our new boy. Meant for us.
And the sweet chaos continues.