By Ruth Topper
Fletcher is the furry “man’s best friend” in our household. He recently (March 28) celebrated his 6th birthday and in mid-April we will be celebrating 4 years of Fletcher in our lives. For many, getting a pet or having multiple pets is a very easy, painless decision. It was not like that at all for our family. My husband Gary and I never had any desire to have a dog. It was enough for me to keep three kids, one husband and one plant going!
Of course, as the kids got older and most of their friends had pets, the requests for a dog became more frequent. In the summer of 2008 after returning from our annual week at the beach we started looking at Petfinder.com and even visited our local SPCA. We didn’t find any dogs with real potential and held the kids at bay. As we got into late summer and the begging continued we finally had to tell the kids that we just couldn’t do it. We had one child playing travel soccer and another had just joined the midget football team. We were going to be on the go most evenings and weekends. It just wasn’t fair to a dog.
Our “stand” crumbled at Christmas that year. We went to visit my sister, who at one time did have a dog and cat but both had passed away. She had a firm stance that there would be no more pets in her house. Well, she lost her battle over the Thanksgiving Holiday when she realized how much her younger daughter missed her sister who was at college and desperately wanted a cat to keep her company. They adopted Jasmin by the end of the weekend! On Christmas Eve, my family arrives at their house and all three kids are immediately “smitten” by Jasmin, the kitten.
So by early January Gary & I broke down. Who were we to deprive our children of the childhood pleasure of a dog! We both had dogs as kids. However, in both instances the dogs were never allowed in the house. This was one of our big hang-ups – having a dog that might damage furniture, make “messes” on our carpet, get sick, etc. We very quickly came to the conclusion that we needed an adult dog that was already trained and mild mannered. I also had concerns because I had quite a few people come and go in my house with my Creative Memories business. I didn’t want a dog that would be barking and jumping all over people and be over active. We were back on Petfinder.com again!
We made several calls and inquiries that led nowhere …. until we found Jesse. Jesse was a 9 month old chocolate lab and corgi mix. He had been rescued from Kentucky and was being fostered in the Harrisburg area. We were able to have Jesse visit our house for a few hours in early March and we liked what we saw. Jesse came to live with us the following Friday. Things were going well until a friend who came to visit said that he looked “bloated”. I “blew” her off since he had just been to the vet a few weeks earlier. That Thursday we went to a dog trainer since I had no idea what I was doing with a dog! She immediately made the same comment as my friend. I called the vet and got an appointment the next day. We were told that our dog was very sick. Jesse’s heart wasn’t working properly and he was filling up with fluid. Her recommendation was that we should return him to the rescue group and get a healthy dog. It was heart wrenching to take away within a week the dog that we had waited for so long. We did learn the following day that Jesse was born with a heart defect and would be on medication the rest of his life.
So – the search began again on Petfinder.com. Fletcher was being fostered at a home in the Lancaster area. We found that Fletcher’s mother, Sasha, and her litter of puppies had been rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia. Several of Fletcher’s siblings had already been adopted and they were looking for a good home for him. After two visits to see Fletcher we decided that he was the dog for us! Fletcher arrived at our house on Easter Monday 2009. I can’t say that it was easy in the beginning. We certainly had some ups and downs. However that is all a distant memory! Stay tuned for Part II of this story – Life with Fletcher!
Do you have a pet that is special to you? Tell us how you came to adopt your pet.