For no reason at all, the opening scene of The Terminator comes to mind.
You know, the one where Arnold Schwarzenegger is dropped stark naked into the middle of Los Angeles, knowing nothing about his surroundings or the people within, but only that his sole mission is to find and eliminate Sarah Connor?
I can only imagine the transition from the streets of Puerto Rico to rural Massachusetts must have been eerily similar for my dog, with the lone exception of being programmed to eliminate the mother of the eventual leader of human resistance 45 years in the future.
Think about it, most rescue dogs go from constantly searching for their next meal and fighting for their lives on a daily basis in the un-sheltered wild, to a world of overflowing bowls of food, treats in exchange for simple tricks, and comfy beds of cotton in warm houses.
In the blink of an eye, they get scooped up from the only life they know and dropped into a completely foreign world, not knowing that it will eventually become the best thing that ever happens to them. At the time, they are but strangers in a strange land.
I recall the first thing our dog did when we brought her home was to scoot under our outside deck (completely out of our reach), curl up in a ball, and go to sleep. She basically found her safe place and promptly shut down. I can’t imagine what was going through her mind, but from what I remember, I think we were probably just as shell shocked as she was.
What I do know is that this ball of fur and ears changed our lives forever.
The “first born” as she is now known, Brandy to her peers and “guh gur” (good girl) to the baby, is now just as much a part of our family as any of us. But, what I really wanted to talk about was inspired by another article on Patch about one family’s adoption of rescue greyhounds, and the positive impact they had on their family.
In honor of that family’s experience and ours, I would formally like to throw my hat in the ring in support of rescuing a dog over going to a breeder. My intention here isn’t to talk negatively about breeders. I do have many opinions, but talking down someone else’s business is typically not a path I’m going to choose.
What I will do is make a case for rescue efforts, such as Save-A-Sato, and their ability to provide you with a family dog as good as any you will find at a breeder – for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but the going theory is that mixed breed dogs (mutts) have less medical complications than those sometimes associated with pure breeds.
Inexpensive, unconditional love that won’t break your wallet. What more could you ask for? Inspired by the idea? Click here for a list of shelters that support the Save-A-Sato program.
We went to the one in Sterling, Mass., and I have to tell you, it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Talking to my wife the other night about the theme of this article, I blurted out without thinking, “How could I not write an article about where we got Brandy? She essentially started our family.” That really is the point right there.
For under $500 (including free leash and collar), we started our family.
Maybe non dog lovers/owners don’t understand that statement right there, but I’m positive those that do understand exactly what I mean. I will forever remember my first dog, Tyvek, just as I will always remember Brandy.
I also know for a fact that many years down the road my sons will be telling their kids about the special bond they had with their first dog.
Take a starving dog off of the streets, bring them into your home and show them discipline and love, and in return you will be given an experience that you and your children will cherish forever.
Aside from saying, “thank you,” the only words I have for Sterling Animal Shelter are, “I’ll be back.”
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 2/4/12.