May 19, 2011

My daughter Gabi has always wanted a little dog. And I always said “no” because, well, guess who would have to walk it? Ha. But three weeks ago, Rosebud adopted us at the local animal shelter. Now we’re becoming a cozy household of two humans, three cats and one adorable canine.

Gabs and I weren’t looking for more critters. We were only at Pets Alive Westchester to volunteer as dog walkers. But that Saturday, we spotted Rosebud in the lobby of this Elmsford, N.Y. shelter. She was in a playpen, hoping to share her story…

She had been flown up from a kill shelter down South. That means a facility where animals are put to sleep if they’re not adopted within a certain time frame. This three-year-old, 11-pound poodle mix came already named “Rosebud.” She has a scruffy coat, bulging eyeballs and crooked front legs. Her long neck, nose and body are oddly proportioned. And where did she get that barrel chest?

We carried her over to a nearby couch. As we plopped ourselves down, Gabi unhooked Rosebud’s leash. With that, this little soul wriggled her tiny butt and sat down between us like she belonged there. My daughter and I looked at each other and said, “Awwwwwwwww!”

The shelter takes its mission seriously. We were questioned about our home (did we rent or own?) and daily routine (how often would the dog be left alone?). We had to promise to return Rosebud if we didn’t want her anymore; the shelter provides a lifetime commitment to its charges. To adopt required making a $300 donation. The cost covered vaccinations, dog tags — and sent a message: we had to behave responsibly.

With that, we drove our new family member to her “forever home,” as rescue folks call it…

Check out this first photo of our short car ride to the house. The dear girl knew just how to flap her ears in the breeze. In this shot, she’s still wearing her shelter identification collar and a too-big harness that the shelter folks lent us.

These days, she loves running errands in the car. Last weekend, we picked up Gabi from her friend’s party. Doesn’t Rosebud look self-assured in this next photo? She’s also wearing a new, more dainty pink harness that says, “sassy diva.”

On our way home, we passed a tag sale and scored this old tote bag for $2. It’s a nice, breathable, lightweight carrier. I swear, no matter what these photos look like, Rosebud is quite comfortable peering at the world through the sturdy mesh.

Of course, you’re wondering about, um, the cats. Well, they’re not thrilled about The New Situation. But no one has eaten Rosebud yet. At 13, Lucky is the oldest (photo below, top left). We found him at a shelter recovering from a wound — someone had taken a razor and sliced through his right Achilles tendon. Isabelle (the right photo) is 10 and came to us by way of a feline rescue group. Both of these cats are 11 pounds, just like Rosebud.

And then, there’s our big boy. Minty’s about six. I’m embarrassed to reveal that he weighs 20 pounds. He’s named after the Thin Mint, Gabi’s favorite Girl Scout cookie. He was from a litter that a friend had. When Rosebud first arrived, Minty went into hiding. But now he’s back to lounging on my desk while I blog.

Thankfully, the cats are returning to their routines. Although, the mood is a bit tense.

Poor Rosebud. She has no critters to play with. At least, not yet.

For now, no matter how much she wags her tail, the cats just glare back. But I’m sure things will change.

Still, they do spend time together. Whenever I’m in the kitchen, all the animals run over. You can’t imagine the stress of having the four of them swarming by your feet, begging for handouts. Oh, well. I’m getting used to it.

We’re also getting the hang of walking the dog. My daughter and I split the duties. Although, no one likes going out in the rain. The good news, though? I’m once again cuddling Someone Small in my daughter’s baby hoodie bath towel. Awwwwww!

Rosebud’s a very patient teacher. The morning after she moved in, I went to the gym. When I returned, she was waiting by the front door. Without thinking, I scooped her up to be with us in our bedrooms. While I was in the shower, she peed and pooped on the floor.

Obviously, she was thinking: “You idiots. It’s 7 a.m. — can’t you figure out why I’m sitting by the front door?”

Rosebud is also quite cat-compatible. She’s not yappy. Plus, she curls up and sleeps all day. But unlike our feline family, she’s not good with the stairs. We’ll see if that changes. Expect updates!

Until then, ciao, meow and, bow-wow.

P.S. — Before you go, please click on this link to our blog contest. The $300 we donated to adopt Rosebud got me thinking about what a difference $300 could make in our lives. So on June 2, this blog is giving away a $300 American Express gift card. To compete for it, all you have to do is write about one of your dreams. Maybe we can help make it come true; we could all use a little more fun. Arf.