Stars of the week
Why I Decided to Adopt Moose
In July of 2009, my cat Chester passed away. I was completely devastated and I told myself that I would wait awhile before getting a new pet (or what my friends and I like to call our four-legged friends, “greeter”). Despite deciding to wait, I was drawn to adoption fairs at PetCo, Petfinder.com and the like. In August of 2009 I found myself, along with my friend Nancy, wandering the aisles at the Pasadena Humane Society. I had a vision of the type of dog I might adopt, some sort of shepherd or retriever. Something large and dignified, like you would see in an L.L. Bean catalog… then I came across Moose. Moose, who was called “Smalls” by the shelter staff, was a small cream-colored little squirt of a dog who threw himself up against the cage and just begged me to come over. My friends and I now joke that when he saw me, he thought “Aha! A single thirty-something year old woman! I have to go home with her!” Who knows what Smalls was really thinking – all I know is I found myself sitting on the floor in front of his cage until closing time, just petting him. There was a sign above his cage that indicated he required caution; I thought that had to be a mistake. This was the most love-hungry dog I had ever met! I was sitting there petting Smalls and thinking about whether I was ready for another dog, when a very large, heavily tattooed man, wearing loads of leather and silver crucifixes came up to us and bellowed, “I am getting this dog! I have a small condo, and this is a small dog, and I am getting him!” I can’t write what exactly went through my mind at that point, but it went something like “Oh no, it is ON! I am adopting this dog.”
How I Adopted Moose
That intervention launched me on an adoption odyssey that I still laugh about today. I immediately inquired about adopting Smalls but it was Saturday and after hours so I couldn’t put myself on the list. The very next day I got to PHS before it opened and stood in line, keeping an eye out for the loud guy who had declared that he was adopting him. I put my name on the list, but I couldn’t do a meet-and-greet with Smalls because of that “caution” designation! I found out that Smalls was previously adopted from PHS to a family and they had returned him, claiming he had bit the kids (I can tell you right now, unequivocally, that’s impossible). However, because Smalls had this strike against him, PHS had to do a behavior evaluation before we could do a “meet and greet.” I called Tuesday, I called Wednesday, then finally, I got a call on Thursday telling me that they had tested Smalls and the results were that he didn’t like to have his tail or paws pulled. PHS wanted to know if I could live with Smalls without pulling his tail and paws. Uh, yes. Yes, I can! I arrived at PHS for my adoption interview. I had dressed in a suit and was nervous. The adoption counselor slowly went through my application. Halfway through I interrupted her and said, “Listen, I have an 8 foot wall around my house. I have a small backyard, Moose will be walked by me in the morning and at night. I have no kids and don’t plan on having any soon.” This worked for her, so we went to the meet-and-greet, which in my mind was just a formality – I knew I wanted him. I renamed Smalls “Moose” because I wanted to give him a clean slate. Driving home was quite an adventure! Let’s just say it seemed like he had never been in a car before (although I know he must have) and next time I am bringing a friend. But we got home alive, and we’ve settled into a great routine.
Our Life Together
Moose was a little anxious at first and chewed everything. I just basically ignored it – I knew it was because of anxiety and it would get better, and it did. Moose and I have a great routine, and he has really come into his own. He loves playing ball, going to the dog park, hanging out with his friend Josie who was also adopted from PHS by a friend of mine, burying his bones in my oregano plants (this is big lately), going to brunch and dinner at dog friendly restaurants, rolling in grass and cuddling. We have a routine worked out in which we go to sleep together, but sometime in the middle of the night he moves to the living room and guards the house. When he hears me wake up in the morning, he comes back to bed and sleeps in the warm spot – I think he sees this as the changing of the guard. I do let him sleep in, which has made me late to work more than once since we’re always late for his walk, but I don’t have the heart to wake him up.