I went to the Oakland County Animal Control adoption center a number of times, as well as the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit and Rochester. In the middle of all of it, I made the trek up to Flint to the Humane Society of Genesee County. I had looked at so many dogs, OCAC had quite a number coming in and going out every day (FYI: if you find a dog you like, get it that day, because it will not be there the next day. Regardless of how much someone insists it will be. *coughandrewcough*), and MHS Rochester, Detroit and Westland all have pictures up online. As well, Petfinder.com has an extensive list of local shelters and foster networks, and I went through most within a reasonable distance. So, when I finally decided to go up to Flint, I wasn’t hoping for much. I looked at all the dogs, and (dramatically enough) the very last one I saw was him. The way their shelter is setup, there are two rows of kennels and three walkways. The fronts of the two rows point in opposite directions, so the middle of the three walkways goes along the back of both rows of kennels. Picture this? There’s access to all three walk ways, but the information sheets for the dogs are hanging on the front of each kennel, so if you want to know anything about them, you walk around the outer walkways. When I got to his kennel, there were people looking at him from behind, who seemed interested. But, since I was standing in front of his kennel, I was able to grab his info sheet before them.
I had devised a sneaky plan for the adoption process. When you adopt, you have to disclose where you live and, if you rent, whether or not pets are allowed. If you have a different address than your home on your driver’s license, they just ask that you bring in a bill or something with your address on it as proof. My parent’s address is still on my driver’s license. If you rent and pets are allowed, they call to verify. This isn’t the first time I’ve adopted. I adopted a cat for my roommate last christmas and the center called my apartment complex. When Andrew adopted his cat, they called his complex as well. I don’t know what they actually ask over the phone. I would assume that they give the address, asking if so-and-so lives there and that they are planning to adopt a pet. They always come back and inform you that there’s an extra fee for owning a pet. So you’re always waiting for the complex to call you or leave a note on your door: “When are you going to tell us about your pet?” So… I had this ingenious idea. I would just use the address on my driver’s license and tell them that I still lived with my parents. As I was filling out the application, I noticed a question in the middle, something to the effect of: “The Humane Society of Genesee County does not verify whether or not you are allowed to have pets. It is your responsibility, please initial here.” So, already on a roll with my ingenious plan, I initialed there and circled “Live with parents” under the “Living arrangements” question. Two things about this. One, I could have used my home address and brought in a bill or whatnot and they wouldn’t have called anyway. Two, I could have said I owned the house. The only problem with that could arise when they put the address in the system and it comes up with my mom’s name from when we adopted the house cat at my parent’s house. So, given that I had my whole plan figured out anyway, I didn’t give much thought to either of these options.
So, they put the address in their system. And up comes my mom’s name, with two cats adopted in 1999. (Damn good thing I didn’t say I owned the house…) Why had I only listed the cat living at my apartment on the application? Where were the two cats that were adopted 6 years ago? Uhm… One died of old age, the other died of cardiomyopathy. (The youngest cat is still fat and happy at my parent’s house. The older one did die of cardiomyopathy. Sad story really… For another day.) So I had to muddle through mumbling about that story and how it was sad and whatnot, since why else had I not listed any of them on the application, and so on and so forth… Then came the kicker. “Before we can continue with the application, we need to speak with one of your parents.”
So, I called my dad, hoping he’d be around. My mom wouldn’t have been quite as responsive to lying on the spot. “Hey dad… I’ve got a favour to ask you. I’m getting a dog..” (mind you I hadn’t really mentioned this to my parents, I think I’d said it to my mom as a sidenote at some point…) ..”And since the address on my driver’s license is your house, I told them I was still living with you. And evidently they need to talk to you.” “Ok, so…” “So tell them I still live with you.” “Oh. Ok…” So they have to call him back themselves, and she starts in: “Hello, I believe I have your daughter here… Before we can continue with the application, I have to get parent permission. She is looking at a lab mix, he’s blonde, he’s…” And she proceeds to read his entire information sheet. At this point I’m picturing my dad with a slightly amused look on his face, waiting for her to uselessly run through the info on the dog he’d only see when I came to visit, and finally she asked whether this was ok (or something like that) and thanked him and hung up.
And, so it was, that I , at 23 years old, was allowed to have my dog. I mean, they don’t call your roommates to ask if it’s ok with them if you get a dog, how, at 23 years of age, is it any different with your parents? Oh well.
Anyway, he was a stray with a collar, so they had to hold him for 12 business days. That meant one week from the day I filled out the application. That worked out great anyway, since it gave me time to take Andrew up there to see him, and more time to look. (Especially since I definitely wasn’t going to assume that he’d be there later and wait to fill out the application…) So, look I did. Online, at the shelters, etc. The day before I would have been able to pick him up, I went down to MHS Detroit, and then back up to Flint. I had intended on going over to MHS Rochester as well, but I spent some time looking at a dog in Detroit, and it was longer than I had planned to stay. The dog down there was a bit like the other dog I had. She was a black lab mix, sleek body and face, with some white on her. But she was just eh. I asked if they could hold her, and they said yes, but only until the following morning. I said that was fine, since I just wanted to have the possibility in case I decided she was what I wanted. But, when I got back to Flint and took him out to play, I knew for sure he was what I wanted.
When I got there, I had to ask if I could take him out to one of the fenced-in runs, because they all said “Unavailable for use,” but she said it was likely someone just forgot to flip the sign to “Available.” “Are you the one who has a hold on Buddy?” she asked (his name was Buddy there.) “Ya.” “Oh, let me go unlock him.” “He’s locked?” I had gone back to see him and hadn’t noticed that they’d padlocked his kennel. “Yes, we had an… incident. Nothing wrong with the dog…” I didn’t ask about it, and they unlocked him and I took him outside. Since I could come get him early the next morning and it was already 6pm (they close at 6:30pm), I asked if I could take him home that night. “I already asked for you,” the girl said, “But they can’t let you.” Turns out, they probably would have, if it weren’t for the incident.
I had asked when I filled out the app, what the likelihood of someone coming to claim him was. The lady said it was 50/50, that it happens sometimes and doesn’t others. She said there wasn’t much she could tell me, but that they would call if someone came. They have to fill out a loss report and some such thing. Evidently, some guy had come in and claimed Rhys was his dog. They asked him for a description and such, for some kind of proof. He started getting angry. They asked for pictures; “I don’t take pictures of my pets.” Vet records; “I never took it to the vet.” When asked about “his dog”, he evidently said it was female at first, and kept changing his story. All in all, he had a fit. So, since the whole thing seemed quite shady, they sent the guy packing and locked up the kennel. And, since it was quite a show, and since they had, I guess anyway, explained to the guy that the dog would be held until the 20th, they couldn’t let me take the dog early, even right as they closed, because it could have turned into another fiasco. They told me I could come as early as 9am, which is when they open for people surrendering animals, and that I didn’t have to wait until 11am, which is when they open for adoption.
I made an attempt to get up that early, but it wasn’t exactly successful. Then I managed to forget some things that I wanted to take, and so we had to turn around (not far from home). It was about 10:15am, or so, when we got there. The lady at the counter spend 10 minutes on the phone for every 2 she talked to me, so we didn’t get out of there until after 11:30am. We went to Petsmart to get the last couple of things that I wanted for him, and headed home.
And so ends the adventure of getting the best puppy ever, and so begins the adventure of HAVING the best puppy ever!!