Monday, January 21, 2013

Meet Professor Lyall

A lot has been going on in my life in the past couple of weeks, it seems. I finished my novel, started querying agents, and now... apparently we've adopted a dog. He wheedled his way into my heart before I even met him. So now I'd better formally introduce you to Professor Lyall, the newest member of the Smitherman/Kalaris family!

A few weeks ago he showed up on Petfinder. If you follow me on twitter or facebook or really... if you know me at all, I've been obsessing about getting a dog basically ever since I moved back to the States. Greg and I made a point to rent an apartment that allowed dogs, we had the time and money, and since I've desperately wanted a dog ever since I moved out of my parents' house, the moment was nigh. Greg and I agreed to wait until after the holidays to get a dog, since we were traveling a lot, and spending a lot of money, etc., blah. So as soon as we got back from Vegas I started checking Petfinder daily, reading all the profiles of the small dogs, falling in love liberally. But when I saw the little wide-eyed face of "Peanut"... I fell hard.

Greg can attest to this. Every few days I'd say, "Greg... Peanut is still available to adopt..." and show him the same picture of his tiny face. Greg didn't like the idea of a chihuahua (I've rarely met a man who did like the idea of tiny dogs), saying they were yappy and rat-like. But we finally decided that we could afford to start meeting dogs and seriously looking for one to join the family. So I emailed CAWS, the shelter that was fostering him, and asked if I could meet Peanut. They replied saying that I had to fill out an application before I could meet him, and then Greg and I were plagued with doubt. How much would the pet deposit cost? How much more per month would we have to pay in rent? How much would dog supplies cost? We took a moment to breathe and try to sort it all out more clearly before jumping into something prematurely. So I tried to forget about Peanut.

But after a week or so of letting Greg consider whether he wanted to spend his money on adopting a dog (after we did the math it all added up to about $700, which is insane), or upgrade his computer, he finally agreed that we could apply to meet Peanut, who was miraculously still available to adopt! So I filled out the application... and waited.

When I wasn't contacted the next day about meeting Peanut, I emailed CAWS and asked if my application had gone through. I was told it hadn't, so I submitted another one... which also didn't go through. I was getting desperate, sure that someone else would adopt Peanut before we could meet him. But it turned out that the next day (this past Saturday), CAWS was holding an adoption event at PetSmart, which they do every two weeks or so. I was told Peanut would be there, so I asked Greg if we could go meet him, and he agreed.

The next morning I got up 2 hours before the event started, determined to get there as early as possible. We showed up right at 11am, when the event started, and Peanut hadn't shown up yet. We wandered around PetSmart, waiting, and I was so nervous -- what if someone else wanted to adopt him too? What if he never showed up? What if he didn't like us, or we didn't like him? Well he finally did show up, and he was wearing a little blue sweater.

When we went to his cage and I put my hand up for him to sniff, he backed away and barked; he was clearly super freaked out. I would be too, after all -- he was in a cage surrounded by other dogs in cages, with strange people looming all over the place. Greg didn't like the cut of his jib -- he said he was yappy. But I needed to meet him before we made any decisions, so one of the CAWS volunteers pulled him -- reluctant -- out of his cage, and we finally met him. He was so sweet. As soon as he was out of his cage he stopped barking, and was happy to be held. Even Greg had to admit he was "pretty chill," and after seeing his folder and talking to one of the CAWS volunteers (the one I'd been emailing), we decided to adopt him. So we filled out some paperwork, gathered up a bunch of dog essentials (bed, toy, treats, food, etc.), and left PetSmart with a new family member.

We agreed in the car to name him Professor Lyall, one of the few names I'd suggested that Greg actually liked. And yes I'm a total geek -- Professor Lyall is from Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series; he's the Woolsey werewolf pack's Beta. And he wears a top hat. Clearly Lyall needs to become a steampunk chihuahua.

Anyway, it all happened so fast, I had a knot in my stomach the whole drive home. Lyall was shedding all over me, and he had shed all over Greg in PetSmart -- did we adopt a dog that was going to cover our apartment in dog hair? Was he going to like us? How would he behave? Would he poop on the floor? Would I be a good dog mom? Did we do the right thing? But he was so calm sitting in my lap, and so alert and sweet when he started exploring our apartment, I fell in love completely, and all second thoughts vanished.

I still can't handle how sweet and cuddly Lyall is. He's the most adorable creature ever, and even Greg seems to be warmed up to him; he let Lyall sit on his lap while he played Civilization yesterday while I was out at a movie. I'm so excited to get to know him even better!

Yayyyy dogs. I think adopting dogs from shelters is the best way to go -- our family dog Pippin, who lives with my mom in Montana, is absolutely the best dog ever, and he's 18 years old and still kicking. Rescue dogs are so happy and healthy, and there are so many of them out there that I can't imagine buying a dog from a breeder, or -- god forbid -- a pet store. There were so many sweet dogs at PetSmart on Saturday, and it breaks my heart that there are countless dogs out there who are perfectly sweet, loving, and amazing animals -- but for whatever reason their family gave them up. I can't imagine getting a dog and not adopting from a shelter. It's the only option in my opinion. I know people who've bought from breeders, and their dogs are amazing, but I couldn't do it myself.

And now everyone has to tell me about their dogs! Did you adopt? Buy from a breeder? Something else? Share pics! Tell me stories! I love dogs and I want to know about everyone else's furry family members. x

Edit: I think it's important to add that our estimate of $700 was just for the initial costs and fees of adopting a dog (adoption fee, basic supplies, and pet deposit). We've basically adopted a child, and what with healthcare, food, toys, additional rent fees, and other costs, adopting a dog is no small decision. So keep that in mind if you are looking into becoming a dog -- or any pet -- owner!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

My ex and i got Tripp from petsmart and petfinder. And yes Tripp is a big turd asshole, but I love him and am happy to know if living in San Francisco ever became a bad situation for the doggy he can always go live with my ex cause we both love him loads. That's the thing, if you know you will take care of the dog and make sure they're always happy you are a good pet owner, I know I have my doubts when Tripp get nippy. (he wasn't adopted till us because he fear bit and growled, which unfortunately he still does sometimes but it comes and goes depending on his and my mood). Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, I'm writing on my iPhone :(