Hello, friends! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? We recently returned from a vacation (our last one before the baby arrives!) to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve got few posts planned about our time in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle.
But, first, please allow me to introduce you to the newest member of our family:
Friends, this is Tracy.
Chester and I both grew up in homes with pets and we want our kids to love animals and learn about the responsibilities that come with them as early as possible. If you have been following along for awhile, you already know that we had a cat, Taylor, but began to seriously consider adopting a dog shortly after we learned we were expecting a baby.
Sadly, Taylor passed away in March. Without her to greet us at the door every night and lounge on the couch with us on the weekends, our little family has definitely been feeling incomplete. So, as soon as we got back from vacation, we started making inquiries with area shelters and rescues through Petfinder. When we found ourselves with nothing to do on Saturday afternoon, we decided to visit a couple of the shelters in the city. “Just to see,” we said, even though I think we both knew in the back of our minds how the day would end.
Our first stop at Morris Animal Refuge was a bust. They had only had four dogs to choose from and none of them stood out to us. So, we headed over to the Pennsylvania SPCA, where there were easily 80 dogs and puppies to choose from. If I had the money and the space to rescue all of them, I would have (Well, except maybe the mastiff at the back of the room that wheezed like a 300-pound old man and the scary beast that claimed to be a German Shepard, but looked more like a black bear).
In the end, we kept coming back to Tracy, with her sweet brown eyes and crooked ears. We asked one of the attendants take her out of her kennel and bring her into the backyard so we could meet her properly. As she splashed around in a plastic wading pool and chased pigeons, it didn’t take long for us to decide that she would be coming home with us.
Tracy is an American Pitbull mix, a breed whose reputation for viciousness is undeserved. Yes, pitbulls can be trained for fighting, but by nature they are extremely affectionate, eager to please, and have been noted as good companions for families and children (in fact, they used to be known as “America’s Nanny Dog”).
Tracy is no exception. She loves curling into our laps (even if she doesn’t quite fit) and covering our faces with kisses. At just over a year old, she is already pretty strong and is a bundle of energy about her, but we’re confident that she will be a model citizen after a little bit of training.
I know you all have probably heard this many times before, but if you are considering adopting a pet, I hope you will visit your local animal shelter before heading to a breeder or pet store. Across the country, many shelters are filled to capacity with dogs and cats that need loving homes. It is heartbreaking to see, especially because life in a noisy, overcrowded shelter seems so stressful on the animals. Our experience at the SPCA was wonderful. We worked with a knowledgeable adoption coordinator, who took the time to understand what we were looking for in a pet and gave us plenty of tips about easing her transition from the shelter to our home.
It might seem kind of crazy to bring both an animal and a baby into our home at almost the same time, but we plan to spend a large part of the summer getting Tracy acclimated to her new home and ready for the baby’s arrival. We will be starting a six-week obedience class with her on Friday and there’s been a lot of learning to anticipate her needs, worrying about her when she cries in her crate at night and dealing with messes on the carpet over the past two days. You know, just the sort of things that you might also expect from a tiny human.
Oh, and as for which one of us is her favorite? Well, she’s already made that pretty clear.