October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and I've invited some of my fellow "ChicagoNow" bloggers to share their adoption stories. Today, Marie Larsen of "There's a Bug in My Coffee" tells the story of how Polly the pug saved her family after the loss of their other dog with her post - Adopt a dog: Our rescue pug rescued us.
By Marie Larsen
Our only boy and all black pug could no longer use his back legs. He no longer had the strength to drag himself to his dish for a cool drink, so I carried him.
He collapsed down to his belly, legs sprawled, and took a drink. My hubby and I looked at each other and knew it was time. We said goodbye the next day.
I'm sitting here with tears running down my face thinking about it.
He was the second pug family member we'd lost, and putting him down nearly broke us emotionally. We'd lost our first puggy to natural causes two years before.
Since pugs are like potato chips - you can never have just one - we still had our Daisy girl. She was and is crazy. (I've written about her a couple of times, and you can find those posts in my Pug Mom category.)
I'm sharing about our first 3 pugs, because they were all pet store, or classified ad purchases, and we got them all as puppies.
I am 100% convinced that they were all a product of puppy mills, now that I'm better educated about where these puppies come from.
I promised myself that I'd never buy another puppy mill puppy again. I cannot financially support a business that treats animals so horribly.
That's important for this story, because our latest pug, our Polly-wolly, is a rescue pug, and she rescued us.
Here's how everything went down:
Within days of sending our little boy on to the Rainbow Bridge, I was sitting in front of my computer searching "pugs" on Petfinder.com.
It's not easy finding pure-bred pugs that aren't seniors, and that are good with young kids and other dogs.
Pugs are such awesome dogs, that people rarely give them up when they are young, healthy and well-cared for. The young ones are usually rescued from abusive or neglectful situations, or from puppy mills.
I really wasn't interested in a puppy. Been there, done that. I was looking for an older dog that could hold it's pee for longer than 20 minutes and slept through the night.
Polly's picture popped up on my screen, and I was instantly in love. She was adorable and 3 years old. Perfect!
Then, I saw where she was located - Dyer, Indiana.
No way is my guy going to want to drive out to Dyer to meet a pug, I thought to myself.
Then, as if the photo of Polly was a lighthouse in our heartbroken darkness, my hubby was standing behind me saying, "Oh my, she's adorable. Where is she?"
Needless to say, within days, we were driving out to Dyer, IN, to the rescue's Sunday event. We begged the rescue manager to wait for us and not adopt her out. We were on our way from Joliet, and we'd be there soon!
Turns out, it was a good thing we made it there that Sunday in August 2010, because there was another woman interested in Polly.
The moment we pulled into the parking lot, I was smitten. She was (and is) the CUTEST. PUG. EVER! She was tiny, too, compared to the whoppers we'd had.
My hubby says that he barely had the car in park when I leapt out the door to get to Polly.
The poor baby looked so sad and pathetic.
I quietly, slowly and gently approached her at her level and let her meet me. I gently loved on her for a few minutes when her foster mom said, "I have a leash. Would you like to take her for a short walk?"
"Oh my, yes!" So, the two of strolled back and forth on the sidewalk together getting to know one another.
I handed our already completed paperwork to the rescue manager and Polly's foster mom. We'd brought Crazy Daisy and our two girls along to meet Polly, too.
In my mind, she was already our pug, but that "other woman" was there and asked to hold the leash and meet Polly.
I grudgingly handed her the leash, turned and started to walk away when someone said, "LOOK!"
When I walked away, Polly stood up and followed me. I turned and found the leash in the "other woman's" hand was taut as Polly pulled to get closer to me.
When the rescue manager and foster mom saw that, they knew Polly had chosen me. She was on her way home with us, her furever family, about half-an-hour later.
Polly's story is important, too.
She had been a puppy mill momma. While pregnant with another litter (no one know exactly how many litters she had), the puppy mill put her up for auction.
The rescue manager believes the puppy mill didn't think Polly would live through either the pregnancy, or the delivery. Either way, they sold her to a total stranger for $50 while pregnant with 7 puppies.
She began to miscarry those puppies 3 weeks early. She was rushed to the vet by the rescue group, an emergency c-section and spay were performed, and she lost all her puppies.
When we brought Polly home, she was still producing a little bit of milk. She was SO sad and depressed. Her spay incision was a little infected and she had a low fever.
With my medical training, I cleaned and dressed her incision, and the minor infection cleared up in a couple of days.
She had rotten teeth, because the puppy mill hadn't cared to take care of them. She had whipworms and ear mites, and she was underweight.
We took care of her and got her healthy. I know now that the rescue should have made sure she was healthy prior to adopting her out - another lesson learned - but we don't mind.
This sad, timid little girl, that wasn't house-trained and didn't know what stairs were turned out to be the sweetest, most gentle, most loving furry family member we've ever had.
In helping Polly heal her physical and emotional wounds, she healed our hearts, too.
She's funny and playful. She moves at a snail's pace for everything, except mealtime. At mealtime, you'd think her tail was on fire for as fast as she can run!
She loves to snuggle and give kisses. She doesn't understand how to play fetch, but loves her soft nylabones to chew. Her tail won't stay curled all the time, but it's up about half the time, and that's significantly more than when she came to us.
Here's what I've learned in the last 17 years of being a pug mom:
1. Don't buy puppies in a pet store, unless the pet store can prove they are rescue pets.
2. Rescues ask a lot of questions; be prepared. Furry family members need love and attention, so the rescue groups need to make sure you are the right family for that pet.
3. There are good and bad breeders, and good and bad rescues. Do your research.
4. Our furry family members are not disposable. When you become their family, it's for life. Be sure you're ready for that.
Even though we brought Polly home as a rescue pug, she rescued us from our broken hearts and filled us up with pugs and kisses.
Romans 12:10 (CEB)
10 Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other.
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Do you have a rescue pet? Tell me about it here in the comments!
Marie Larsen is a married mom and writer for "ChicagoNow" as There's a Bug in My Coffee where she offers her thoughts on life and nearly daily devotions. You can also follow her blog's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter
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