October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and I've invited some of my fellow ChicagoNow bloggers to share their adoption stories. Today, Bill Mayeroff of Where the Beer and Whiskey Flow tells the story of his dog Chester.
By Bill Mayeroff
Just over three years ago, I walked into the Rock Island County (Illinois) animal shelter. Less than an hour later, I had signed some papers, paid a fee and adopted a dog.
I know that sounds like a very short time to go from entering a shelter to adoption. And it was. But while the actual adoption action happened quickly, the decision to adopt was not an easy one.
I knew I wanted to adopt a dog and I knew I wanted to adopt one from a shelter. But wanting it wasn’t enough. I had to be sure it was the right decision. I knew it was the right decision for me, but that wasn’t important. What I was not sure of is if it would be the right decision for the dog.
If you’re doing it right, the decision to adopt a dog is one that should take a lot of time and thinking and contemplating and agonizing. From the first time I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I might be in a position to adopt a dog,” it was six months of figuring out whether I actually was in that position. It was six months of sleeping very little while I tried to figure out if I – a single guy who lived in a small apartment by himself and worked erratic hours – would be a suitable adopter for a shelter dog.
Ultimately, I decided I would be, but I still wonder from time to time. When you adopt a dog – especially a dog from a rescue or shelter – you make that dog a promise. You make that dog a promise that you’re going to take it in, care for it, love it, feed it, clean up after it, take it to the vet, sacrifice things for it and give it everything it never had before.
It’s a responsibility that too many people don’t take seriously. That’s why there are so many dogs in shelters. Too many people think that a dog is a thing you can just get rid of when you get tired of it or it becomes inconvenient. It’s not. But so many wonderful, loving dogs are euthanized because people don’t understand that.
Adopting my dog was the best decision I’ve ever made. There’s never any doubt in my mind about that. But it was also the hardest one I’ve ever made.
Thinking of adding a dog to the family? Please read Think again before you adopt a shelter dog on what to think about before adopting a dog.
Bill Mayeroff is the founder, editor and writer of Where the Beer and Whiskey Flow. He tweets under the handle @billymax and on Facebook at Where the Beer and Whiskey Flow. He drinks way too much coffee and takes more pictures of his dog than any healthy, well-adjusted human should. But his dog, Chester, is freaking adorable, so it’s ok.
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