No home is complete without the pitter patter of dog feet.
Baxter and Jasper came into our lives three months ago. It took three days to learn their personalities, three weeks to adjust, and three months to become part of the family.
After tragically losing Kayla, our beloved Irish terrier, I initially resisted any adoption. But Carol insisted that we needed the pitter-patter of dog feet in our home, as well as the energy and love. Then she selected Baxter and Jasper at an adoption event – and she was right.
As best we can tell, Baxter is a small and cute terrier mix. Jasper appears to have Australian shepherd and cattle herder in his breeding, and both are around one year young. No one will ever know where they came from, how they were treated, or why they were abandoned.
After many decades of breeding, training, judging and hunting bird dogs, I learned to value their genetic instincts and evolutionary bond with humans honed over hundreds of years. Dogs were essential for human survival as trackers, hunters, herders and guardians.
Over thousands of years, evolution has developed hundreds of breeds and varieties in size, confirmation and temperament. As societies changed, so did the use of dogs for a variety of purposes as valuable companions, loyal family members and protectors.
Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters each year, and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized annually. About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the numbers relinquished by owners.
These are cold numbers. Only by visiting a shelter can the depressing truth of these numbers be realized. The sometimes cruel abuse of pets must not be ignored for positive change of awareness and action to take place.
Many laudable organizations and dedicated individuals have made it their mission to find homes for these neglected creatures through adoption services which include veterinary needs, food, shelter and efforts to find and carefully select homes – at their own expense. Compassion – and their love for animals – is their motive.
The reality is that adopting a pet without any knowledge of the breeding, background, personality, exact age and habits can be a challenge. It requires compassion and patience, but the rewards are gratifying with a deep sense of giving and receiving love.
Jasper and Baxter are buddies now. They play, wrestle and enjoy their companionship. Every day they become closer to us with tails wagging and endless joy when we come home to be with them. The gratitude we sense – and see in their eyes – for having a loving, caring home is an immeasurable reward.
George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org