For 11 days this month, it appeared I had entered an alternate world where some higher force was interacting in my life. Do I believe in fate? Prayer? Karma? No for all three.
Coincidence? Yes. Well, this event seemed to be slightly more “spooky” than coincidental. See what you think.
I have been searching for a dog for my family for 4 months. My acceptable criteria were rather specific: young (but at least 1 year old since a puppy would be more than I could manage right now), must be friendly with kids, intelligent and trainable and preferably under 20 pounds in weight. I was very partial to Papillons because they were imminently suitable to my conditions. However, they are popular and expensive dogs, quickly snapped up from rescues and newspaper ads. I would visit the local shelter occasionally where I had absolutely no luck with small dogs there at all. (It was chock full of pit bulls abandoned by their city owners.)
I was scouring Petfinder.com and the Papillon breed rescue sites. The following is my take on these rescue organizations. Most of the dogs listed were outside my state. I quickly learned that rescue organizations are highly prejudiced toward adoptions near to the dog’s current location. Since they do a home visit and check references, I was unlikely to be acceptable as a candidate. Honestly, for the small breed rescues in particular, the current foster keepers ideally want the dogs to go to homes without children, but with a fenced yard, and experienced dog owners who were home all the time. Retired persons were preferred.
OK. How could I, without the fence, who works full-time during the day, with two young children, manage to obtain one of these dogs? Now, I do have dog experience. Our last pet was a rescued racing greyhound that did fine with us until he passed on from kidney disease. Purchasing a dog from a pet store was completely distasteful to me and promotes careless breeding. Plus, I don’t trust them. However, with the options I had after 4 months of fruitless searches, and some positive stories from pet buyers around me, it was beginning to look like the only viable option. I wanted a dog and no one was willing to give me a chance on adoption.
So, I decided to limit my search to Papillons and resigned to a long wait if necessary until we would be ready to commit to a puppy.
On March 10, I found a local adult Papillon up for adoption that seemed perfect. I responded to the notice on Petfinder immediately with an application and followed up with the rescue organization. The administrator was very nice and we had a good chat. She forwarded my application to the dog’s foster Mom. It seemed very promising.
The dog’s name was “Jake”, a name that didn’t suit us. Lots of adopted dogs have their name changed by new owners. I thought he looked like a “Jackson” and thought I would suggest that to the kids. I had my hopes up too high, already renaming him in my head. On March 12, after Jake’s current keeper never followed up on a promised home visit, she called and said she didn’t think he would be suitable for our smaller daughter since she was apprehensive about active dogs and he was too jumpy. I was angry. Shouldn’t I make that decision? I didn’t plan to allow my dog to continue jumping and display unwanted behaviors that I could reasonably adjust. My hopes were dashed and I was miserable all week.
On Friday, March 16, Petfinder delivered another set of search results to me. On the top of the short list of newly adoptable Papillons (and Pap mixes) was a bundle of black fur listed as approximately 2 years old, fostering in my town. His name was “Jackson”.
I checked out his webpage. From the little picture and description, he looked to be a good fit. I was momentarily stunned by this coincidence! I quick did another application. I already had the details for my three local references. I emailed the foster Mom letting her know directly we were interested.
It snowed heavily that weekend. I heard nothing in response. I wanted to visit the scheduled meet and greet at a local pet shop but I suspected it would be postponed due to the weather. I followed up again via email on Monday. No response at all but Jackson had 4 watchers (including me) for his website. Since the information suggested he would be good for a “retired couple”, I was expecting I’d be ignored again.
On Wednesday, my husband came home for lunch to wait for a contractor to come by to give us a job estimate. Soon after he arrived home, the phone rings and it is Jackson’s foster Mom. She liked our application and would like to bring Jackson over that night! There were formalities left like a home safety check and references but it seemed certain. I dared not get too excited just in case. (By the way, the contractor never showed up.)
Jackson arrived 15 minutes late that evening – I was plenty nervous by then. The dog was so BEAUTIFUL and friendly. He was a stray picked up in West Virginia. How could someone leave him behind? He definitely has Papillon in him but could be a mix with Pomeranian. He has the Pap temperament (“Look at me! Love me! Play with me!”) and is of very portable size.
The foster Mom had already decided he was ours. It didn’t seem to matter that my youngest was dramatically afraid of him. She assured us that Jackson would settle down. On Wednesday night, we were dog owners and off to PetSmart to buy supplies.
Three days later, Jackson is adjusting well. My youngest daughter has fallen in love with him after her initial fear and his excitation wore off. He is awesome and will be a terrific dog to excel in obedience class and possibly agility training.
So, what do I think of the odd way things worked out? It certainly was spooky. But, “Jackson” is not an uncommon name. And, I live near a city that has a whole slew of rescue organizations.
Did I connect with a psychic energy that hinted to me of the future? You could see how some would say it’s fate or heavenly reward but I doubt it. (Of course, cause that’s what I do.) No one dropped him at my door unannounced, I worked for him. It simply pays to be persistent, prepared, and patient. Dogs are abandoned every day, the perfect one might be just around the corner. And, strange as it sounds, some people will give up absolutely fabulous dogs for poor or unknown reasons. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough, like us, to have things just work out in your favor. I think you make your own luck. Sometimes, a big ole coincidence helps too.