It’s been awhile since I’ve done a furball post, I thought I needed to get back to it! So, as I’ve mentioned before, both of our dogs are rescue dogs. Today, I’m going to talk about my experience adopting Myles through Aussie Rescue Placement Helpline (ARPH). I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I’m just looking to raise awareness about adoption rather than buying through breeders.
I knew that the minute I graduated I wanted a dog. My family’s first Aussie was Zip and I knew since we had her, I wanted an Australian Shepherd of my own. All of the dogs I had as a child were from breeders. They were great dogs. I had never considered adopting a dog until I made the decision that I didn’t have the time or patience to raise a puppy. Enter Myles. I knew the second I laid my eyes on Myles’ picture on the ARPH website that he was destined to join my family.
Within 24 hours of first finding Myles, I had emailed the state representative, Jeff, about Myles and their adoption process. I had to fill out an application, they had to come visit the home in which Myles would be living, and there was a small donation “required” to help cover the costs of Myles living with a foster family.
We arranged for a home visit the day I returned from Texas, where I was spending Christmas with my family. On New Year’s Day, Jeff and Sherri (another rep) came to my home with Myles. He was NUTS. He was so anxious, but knowing the breed, I just assumed it was because he was nervous. I mean, he had been shuffled from his home, to a foster family, and was now driving around with more strange people to another strange home. I think I was a little blinded by the fact I just wanted a dog. My boyfriend at the time suggested I take time to think it over, but I knew I wanted him. I needed this dog.
Then and there, I wrote the check and Myles became mine. And my life changed forever. Seriously.
Myles and I struggled to fit together. The home in which I was living had another dog and Myles and he did NOT get along. Not even a little. He was a horrible walker, sounding like he was going to eat any person that walked by. And just forget about another dog. His aggression got so bad, that my family even suggested I give him back. I was in no position to handle a dog like this. I had guilt, because I knew that I was giving him love and stability and wasn’t sure someone else would have the same tolerance. So, I emailed Jeff and he offered to come back with Sherri and 2 other Aussies to show me some techniques in handling his aggression. I sincerely appreciated that they took my concerns seriously and spent the time and money to come back to my home to help. Lesson learned: ASK FOR HELP. The answer is always no if you don’t ask. They had no obligation to me, but typically rescue places want to keep rescued pups in forever homes, so they will help you if they are able.
I learned a lot from their visit, but unfortunately I wasn’t overly successful in applying their teachings. It was so time-consuming. And frustrating.
Two years passed and we pretty much coexisted. I fed him and walked him, but we didn’t have much to do with one another. He’d cuddle when I was sad (I think he felt obligated), but mostly, he kept to himself. Regardless, he made me feel less alone and that alone made me love him more each day. Then I graduated from grad school and moved to Colorado.
He wasn’t the same dog. Not at all. He walked beautifully. He played with Allie’s bischon famously. He played with my aunt’s golden doodle puppy so sweetly. He was okay with strangers. What? I have no idea what changed, but the mountain air did Myles huge favors.
Enter Craig. Craig was only more positive reinforcement for Myles. Enter Rudy. The gentleness Myles showed this tiny puppy was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Myles is still neurotic and incredibly nervous and anxious, but I think that’s just who he is. I’ve accepted it and so has Craig. Now, he loves to cuddle. And play. And walk. And just be a dog.
So that’s my adoption story. Despite the fact my story started a little nightmare-ish it hasn’t deterred me. I will always find a way to adopt. Myles has proven I have the patience and unconditional love to handle more than I thought I could. It’s amazing what we can learn from our pets. Myles turned 8 years old on May 5th and looking back over the 4 years we’ve had together I can honestly say I see a huge change in both of us. My tolerance has grown because of him and his trust has grown because of me. We don’t just coexist anymore. I love this furball more than what I will admit. I will admit that I am well on my way to being a crazy-dog lady. And I’m not ashamed.
My hope is that next time you consider adding a new furbaby to your family, that you consider adoption. There are many breed-specific rescues, which for me, helped in my search of Myles. So, whether it be from a shelter or rescue, just consider it. It might not be for everyone. My family always had puppies from breeders, but now, after my 2 adoption experiences, I think I’ve found my best way to grow my pack.