June is National Adopt a Pet Month and as I was researching information for our monthly newsletter I remembered back to my first days at Northeast Animal Hospital. I was working as a Pet Care Coordinator and my favorite part of my job was welcoming all the adorable new puppies that came in! One Saturday a client came in with a beagle puppy that had come over with Hurricane Katrina rescues. We were looking to adopt a dog, so after work I beat a path over to the rescue center. They had one puppy left! I took her into a meet and greet room and quickly fell in love!
I started all the preliminary paperwork as “Grace,” as I had already named her, fell asleep in my arms. Her long silky ears draped into my lap and couldn’t believe how things had just seemed to fall into place that day. Then the shelter worker asked me if I was familiar with the breed. Well, no, actually I wasn’t. She handed me a book on the breed and went off to help another family.
“Sweet, loving, and gentle…” so far so good, “beagles do have a mind of their own and need firm, consistent, and patient training.” Hmmm… I’m not so good with dog training. “Prone to separation anxiety, they can be destructive and bark excessively when left alone for long periods of time.” Well surely this can be said of any breed, I argued with myself. “Beagles have a howling bark and are natural diggers. Make sure you have an inescapable fenced-in yard.” I sighed and looked down at Grace. Ours was a wooden fence that would be all too easy to dig under. And we worked all day. I just pictured this poor pup howling for us for hours, annoying our neighbors. We weren’t a good fit for her. My heart sank. A lump formed in my throat.
The worker came back and sat across from me. “Well, are you ready for some more paperwork?” I closed the book and stroked Grace’s ear. I told her I was very sorry, but that I didn’t think that we were beagle people after all. She assured me that there was no reason to apologize, that she was glad I had come to that conclusion now, instead of in 3 months from now and having to bring her back. I said my goodbyes to Grace and left empty handed. On my drive back home I was a little sad, but mostly proud of myself. I was glad that I didn’t make an emotional decision, but one that was best for everyone, especially the puppy. We did eventually adopt. Chloe, our little Chihuahua mix is absolutely the best little dog for us, and we for her.