I’m happy to announce the arrival of: MAUDE!
Roughly 7 years old. 50 pounds. She’s a mastiff/bulldog mix. She’s smart and attractive and friendly and routinely expels toxic farts – and those are just a few of the things we have in common.
I adopted Maude from a local rescue organization (she already had that name, and I love it), and it was a long, involved process that I’ve been keeping under my hat with everyone except close family and friends. I love dogs and have wanted one for a long time, but I’ve never acted on it. Every once in a while I’d go online and look at available dogs that need homes, but I’d get overwhelmed because they’re all so adorable and I want them all.
I did my research. I live in a condo without any outdoor space of my own, and I wanted a bigger dog, and mastiffs kept popping up in articles about good breeds for apartment dwellers. They’re mellow and lazy. So I started looking at area mastiffs on Petfinder.com (a huge adoption database), and that’s where I first saw Maude.
My first email to the rescue was sent between Christmas and New Years. I filled out their adoption application and, after the holidays, went to the rescue for a meet-and-greet. It was a rainy day, so we just hung out in a smallish indoor room, but I quickly knew she was the girl for me.
Over the next six weeks, we did a series of at-home visits. They would bring the dog over to my house to hang out for a little while. There were a couple reasons why: The rescue wanted to make sure it was a good fit for both the dog and human; they wanted Maude to become familiar with me and my home before turning her over to me; and Maude had been trained, and all parties wanted me to get trained on their system, so I could continue to work with her and provide her with structure and routine.
The length of the at-home visits grew as they progressed. Eventually, she was left with me for a half-hour, and, the next time, the whole afternoon. Sometimes the rescue even does a trial sleepover, but they didn’t do that step with me.
It took me from the beginning of the year until the end of February to get my dog. It was the longest adoption process I’ve ever heard of, but I was fine with it. Maude is my first dog (excluding a family dog we got when I was 9 or 10, and that, unfortunately, we only had for about 5 years), and I too wanted it to be a good fit, and for Maude to get acclimated to my home before she became a permanent resident.
She arrived late Monday afternoon. The first 24 hours went really well. The second 24 hours were… a challenge. Maude developed a nasty bout of diarrhea, which led to a late-night crate, dog, and bathroom cleaning, and a middle-of-the night poop explosion that left a platter-sized puddle on my carpet. Thanks for the housewarming gift, Maude! (Please share your feces-on-carpet cleaning tips in the comments section!) There was also an unpleasant walk where I had to wrestle a chicken wing bone out of Maude’s mouth after she had eaten it off the sidewalk. Ah, the joys of dog ownership!
It’s worth it, though. Look at her! Such a charmer. She loves meeting people and is always wagging her tail. She snores and snorts and can’t get a drink of water without splashing it everywhere – all of which I find impossibly adorable. We have our issues to work on – namely, on-leash aggression towards other dogs – but she already knows how to sit and lie down (and will stay until released), comes when I call her, and won’t enter or exit her crate or doorway until I give permission. This rescue doesn’t mess around!
Meanwhile, I’m certain having a dog will enrich my life. I’m looking forward to a doggie companion to goof around and play with. She’ll keep me active, even when I don’t feel like it, with her daily walks and the occasional hike. Most of all, I know I can provide a good, safe, loving home for a good dog that spent years in the rescue system.
Welcome home, Maude! And…
…keep it up, David!