I went to the Pasadena Humane Society “just to look” in August of 2009 – my 17-year-old cat had just died and I was bereft. I didn’t think that I would be adopting right away, but I now know that I cannot walk into an animal shelter and not adopt. Lesson learned.
I had always envisioned getting a large dog, but I walked by a small, cream-colored dog jumping up and begging to be pet. There was some sort of “danger” sign on his gate – I found out later that a family had adopted him and returned him saying he had bit the kids – and I couldn’t understand why. Smalls, as he was called at the time, was cute and sweet and desperate for human interaction.
The adoption process turned out to take longer than I anticipated. Because the family who had adopted him said that Smalls had bit the kids (and, for the record, I do not believe this was true) the staff at the PHS had to be extra careful – there were a lot of behavioral checks before they let me even meet him for real. Smalls and I finally met in the meet and greet area. When I said I would take him, the PHS adoption counselor seemed surprised and relieved.
I immediately renamed Smalls and decided to call him Moose. Even though he is only 26 lbs he has a big personality and I thought he deserved something dignified. Driving home with Moose was quite an experience. I was by myself and he was bouncing around the car like a ping pong ball (please don’t try this at home, please bring someone or a crate with you on pick-up day).
But we got home, and more than six years later I can say that Moose and I are completely and totally in love. We had some growing pains – when Moose first got here he chewed up my favorite pair of Via Spiga green crocodile wedges and the side of an antique couch. But I think his stress had a lot to do being dropped at a shelter not once, but twice. Moose still gets anxious when I leave – I left him at a friend’s house once with his best dog friend while I got something from the car and apparently he tried to break down the door to get to me. But again, I get it: if you were returned twice to a shelter, you would keep an eye on your family members, too.
Moose loves the dog park, the dog beach, going on long walks, snuggling while watching television (he is currently very into Homeland). He loves my eighty-year-old father and jumps into his lap every time he sees him. Moose also takes guarding the house very seriously – which surprised me, because he doesn’t seem that guard dog-ish to me – but having him around makes me feel incredibly safe. Moose knows when I am sad and glues himself to me when he senses it. He is joyous and playful and runs around the house like a rodeo pony when he gets a new bone, flinging it in the air. For the life of me, I cannot imagine why anyone would ever not want this dog. As I write this, Moose is sleeping in the unmade bed while he waits for me to finish this update and drink coffee. Soon he will walk in here and tap my leg with his paw to let me know it is walk time.