PetSmart is a trap that I have no desire to escape from. The journey is inevitable. I have two miniature schnauzer, Sadie and Oliver, and in the nature of living things, my dogs require food. Hunting said food down is rather simple, but the dangers of my hunt are quite different from the cave people of old. No, my dangers are cute and fluffy because when we have time to go get their kibble (which by the way is a huge bag of a specific brand to aid in small dog digestion) is invariably on the weekends. And what happens on the weekends at PetSmart? Adoption days.
It never fails. I go to that back, right wall of the PetSmart and there is a group from some organization or another with adorable dogs and cats. Ever since I was a child, I fall hopelessly in love with one of these small animals with the full knowledge that I cannot take them home. I mope for days after. Part of me still wants a life that entails the end scene of 101 Dalmatians (the live version) where Roger and Anita have a huge manse on the hill and their countryside is covered in darling, adorable dogs. I told my boyfriend that plan this afternoon and he said no as kindly as possible. It’s funny, but my mother did the same thing when I proposed the idea at the age of six. I simply think their logic is flawed. But I digress.
Today was certainly no different. I fell in love. Absolutely in love with a puppy named Spirit. She was in a small cage stacked on top of another cage, curled up on her red fleece blanket. She looked so unbelievably shy and fragile. I stuck my fingers into the cage and let her sniff, gaining her approval with a nuzzle. Her coat was mostly black with tan paws and cheeks–clearly some German Shepard in her blood. One of the volunteers, Melinda, approached and simply unlocked the cage. “Go on, pet her. You know you want to,”she said. Spirit’s tail wagged cautiously. A small part of my brain screamed IT’S A TRAP, but I can’t resist.
I gently stroked that soft puppy fur but was alarmed at how thin Spirit was. I could feel the ridges of her spine as I stroked her back,so so small as she glanced up at me timidly with her brown eyes. Melinda told me Spirit was positively fat compared to when she first took her in. Melinda was fostering Spirit and told me this was her first adoption outing. She’d been feeding Spirit with a bottle, trying to put more weight on. Spirit was the runt of the litter and lost food opportunities to siblings that would push her out-of-the-way or attack. [I cannot even try to resist a runt. My dog Oliver is a runt. My dog before him, Zeke, was a runt. You want to talk about a soft spot in my heart, there it is.] I stood there petting Spirit, falling more in love by the second, my eyes welling up with tears as I listened to Melinda tell me about this little dog.
Melinda works for an amazing group called the Dent County Animal Welfare Society (DCAWS). She told me she fosters mostly small medical needs cases like Spirit, but that’s not all that the group specializes in.DCAWS takes in homeless cats and dogs as well as rescues animals. They come to the Brentwood PetSmart in St. Louis, MO once or twice a month for adoption drives but also have a thriving online adoption program. They’ve placed animals out of state and have even found homes as far as Canada, so don’t be shy! I’m posting several links below.
Spirit completely won me over with her, well, spirit. She was so calm and loving, her tail wagging as I continued to pet her. Melinda asked if I would like to take her outside. She said Spirit hadn’t really been out in the grass and the sunshine since being fostered. At this point I was so mushy over this little dog that saying no wasn’t even a vocabulary word. Melinda warned me that I’d have to carry Spirit (oh, the hardship) because they didn’t want to overextend her. So I cuddled little Spirit close to my chest and got a leash on her. The noises of passing cars made Spirit nervous, but once I got her on the grass the noise didn’t seem to matter. She stood up for a moment, took a few steps, laid back down, and luxuriated in the feel of grass.
I could not get over how thin Spirit was. It broke my heart knowing how much care this dog needed, nay, deserved, and that I couldn’t afford to give it to her. I just kept stroking her soft fur and cooing to her about how much I would love to take her home and make her fat and happy. Spirit’s response was to roll on her back and let me rub her tummy. This is yes in the dog language if my translation is correct.
Much as I would have liked to head for the hills with this little dog in my arms, I had to return her to her proper home. I’d like to think Spirit’s time in the grass did her some good though. She was already more alert and wagged her tail more readily. It pained me to put that puppy back in her cage. I have been sighing ever since. But the true point of this post is to find someone who can take care of Spirit as I cannot. Someone needs to adopt this dog and love her until she is properly pudgy. If you can’t tell, she’s incredibly lovable. I showed pictures to my boyfriend and my grandmother and both fell instantly in love. If we could take her it would be a done deal. But DCAWS has so many sweet and truly darling animals that are begging for a good home. I asked Melinda if I might take some pictures to post here just to spread the word.
DCAWS is based out of Salem, MO but again they have placed animals across state lines and even in Canada, so don’t let that stop you from checking them out. The best part is DCAWS is a nearly no kill shelter. They placed 906 animals last year and only euthanized one. Those statistics are pretty fabulous if you ask me. DCAWS does a lot of good in their community, and I told Melinda I would love to volunteer the next time they did a PetSmart adoption drive. So next time I’ll be part of the trap, but I won’t feel guilty if I help snare you.
Check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DCAWS
And here is the link to their official site: http://www.dcaws.org/