You can call me Al: Manatee's Adoption Story Pt. 1

You can call me Al: Manatee's Adoption Story Pt. 1
 We are very lucky to live in a place that looks like this. 

We are very lucky to live in a place that looks like this. 

It has been a few months, my friends. I have things to say about the move and DAPL, but those things are for another day. My husband, the cat, and I made it to Hawaii in one piece. This place is great. The best thing about life these days is that we've added a furry creature to the family. After months of watching all the dog videos on the internet (and I do mean ALL of them), stalking adoptable dogs at the Hawaiian Humane Society, and fixating on any dog that passed, we finally decided to do something about the dog obsession. 

Cold Feet

When asked if I wanted a dog, I always got cold feet. I didn't know how to train one, I was worried about the cat, I wasn't sure how I'd be able to stomach living and dying by something else's bowel movements, etc. My heart wanted the dog. The Spock-hemisphere (a real scientific designation) of my brain had calculated a high probability for discomfort involved in this decision to get a dog. Nick was on board with the decision (no pun intended, Navy friends), but we knew that the military was going to demand a lot of his time for the foreseeable future. If we wanted a dog, then I was going to be the one taking care of it.

Shopping for cat food gets me in trouble

Like most interesting things that happen in our lives, it usually starts with getting Summer a new bag of cat food. I am picky about what I will feed the little critter, and since we left San Diego, we've had to go to some extreme lengths to get her the food that we want.

We ventured into a pet store that carried her brand, and we saw a few adorable roly-poly puppies in the back of the store. The puppies were too young to be adopted, and we weren't keen on adopting from a pet store, but when Nick saw my face light up, he asked me if I wanted a dog again. This time, I said, "Yes," and then I told him exactly where I wanted to go to get one. 

The Hawaiian Humane Society

I had never been to an animal shelter when we ventured to the Hawaiian Humane Society. We always had animals growing up, but these were often strays that had wandered up to one of the four kids in our household. My poor parents endured many years of, "Can we keep it?" I was wholly unprepared for the experience of being in the shelter. The facility was way nicer than many of the places I had seen when scouring the internet, but on the day we went, there were lots of people and lots of barking dogs. It was all a bit overwhelming, but it was also awesome to know that so many people were looking for a pet.

 I didn't realize how terrible her skin was until I looked back at these photos. She'd clearly need a little more rehabilitation. I couldn't get beyond the eyes. 

I didn't realize how terrible her skin was until I looked back at these photos. She'd clearly need a little more rehabilitation. I couldn't get beyond the eyes. 

We wandered up and down the rows of kennels. Some dogs barked out of excitement or fear. Others cowered in their cages. We looked for puppies because we thought that it might be easier for Summer to adapt to a small animal. (I now realize how crazy that idea was.)  There were no puppies because they were wildly popular, and none of the small dogs struck us as the type that would get along with our cat. 

When looking at the medium to large-sized dogs, we had an additional condition. Unfortunately, housing will not allow us to have anything labeled as a pit bull. First of all, that is sad. Pit bulls have gained a terrible reputation because of asinine humans. Second, it eliminated a lot of really great candidates from being considered for our home.  We didn't want to take the chance of having to move or get rid of the dog over some kind of technicality.

The One

In the center of the large dog building, we paused to visit two dogs. They were both Shar-pei mixes. One of them looked up at me with beautiful golden eyes. She scooted up to the fence so that we could pet her. She was so calm and quiet compared to the other dogs. I was reluctant to say anything to Nick at first because we wanted to give all the dogs a chance, but that dog and I - we just went together. She was bigger than we had anticipated our dog would be, but I could tell that she was a gentle spirit. Her name was Manatee.

When I finally got around to telling Nick that I'd like to meet Manatee, we went to the front to connect with a volunteer. At that moment, a friendly hippie-looking couple had already signed up to take her. We figured there was no way she wasn't getting adopted by those people. After all the stress of getting there and fighting the crowd, we didn't want to make things worse by sticking around. You don't always find the perfect dog on your first visit to the shelter, but I was pretty sure that she was it. 

Thus began several days of moodiness on my part. Disappointment is not a good look for me. I couldn't stop thinking about Manatee. 

To see what happened next, check out part 2, which is available here.