With Christmas rapidly closing in, you’re probably wondering what present to get for yourself. A new car? An exotic vacation? How about that pony you never got as a kid?
Here’s a better idea. Go to a local shelter and adopt a dog. Better yet, adopt a dog that has been waiting far too long for someone to come along and discover their innate beauty and natural ability to love and be loyal. There are several such dogs waiting for you, and here are a few to be considered.
First, there’s Rogan. Rogan is a Rottweiler/Shepard mix and, according to his handlers at Pound Buddies, he’s a “sweet, mild-mannered guy that takes on the characteristics of the Sheperd, however, he has the Rottweiler’s black and tan colors. His fur is medium-length, ears are floppy and has a feather-like tail. He is on the shy side, but is very food-driven. Where there’s food, he follows. He doesn’t mind his ears, teeth, and feet being checked and happily sniffs around not minding he is being petted. He is non-food aggressive and passed the hug test.”
Or, also at Pound Buddies, there’s Bunny, a female Labrador Retriever. According to Bunny, “My name is Bunny and my kennel caretaker says I am a great dog. I do have some skin issues right now that are being treated with a special diet. I got a bath the other day and I couldn’t have been happier the rest of the day or the next day. That bath just felt so good!!! I am pretty laid back and I sleep the day away until it’s time to go out. When I do get out I just LOVE to be petted – if you don’t pet me I will shove your hand and wiggle until you do. I do shed so I will need to be loved by someone who has the time to groom me. I LOVE people and baths and would love to have a home with you!!!”
Yet, there Rogan and Bunny sit as, one-by-one, people pass them by.
Over at Muskegon Humane, there is a dog named BluAnna. Blu is a young, female American Staffordshire terrier. She can also be a bit of a “wild child”, because she has not had any training. According to the good people at the shelter, “Blu is a sweet 2 year old Staffy Mix. She loves people and loves to be a part of what is going on. She loves to be outside running around or taking a walk. She loves the water and would love to swim. Blu is crate trained and potty trained. She is ok with cats. She can be ok with dogs, if it is the right canine. She is good with older kids. She is looking for a home with training experience. She is afraid of new things and needs help building her confidence.”
Sadly, Blu has been “looking” for that home for several months.
At Noah Project, there’s a beagle named Bingo, and he’s been waiting patiently for over two years. According to Bingo, “I’m a young dog who needs some obedience training, but I am a very cute little guy. I am a Beagle, so of course I need a fenced yard! I am looking for a quiet home, no children and maybe only one adult – I tend to bond with one person and get protective. I like some dogs, but not all – and I can be a little shy. Please I want to be wherever you are, not left outside by myself….. Beagles tend to ‘dig’ their way out when left outside!!!”
Imagine that. Two years of living life in a 4’x8’ cell, with relatively little time spent outdoors. All but the most hardened criminals have a better life than most dogs in shelters. Yet, that’s been Bingo’s life.
None of this is intended to extract pity, because shelter dogs don’t need or want pity. They want homes and compassionate people to share life with, so they can love and care for their people in return.
So, forget the new car. After all, within months the showroom look and smell are gone and you’re left with three or four years of car payments.
That exotic vacation? Before long it’s just a memory of credit card debt and luggage that showed up twelve hours before your return flight home.
That pony? Maybe it’s time to let that one go.
Christmas is a time of good will and good intentions. You’ve purchased the jewelry, electronics and designer clothes for the people on your gift list, so now you can further celebrate the season by giving yourself a gift: a shelter dog. And, not just any shelter dog. Find the one that everyone else seems to ignore. The one that’s a little too jolly, or not quite as cute, or is a little bit older or needs help making the transition from shelter dog to family member.
Find that “diamond in the rough” that no else wants and you’ll have given yourself the gift that keeps on giving year after year after year.
If that doesn’t make for a Merry Christmas, what else could?
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