Introducing the (blogging) world our newest family member, Mac! My husband and I picked up Mac from the rescue shelter this past Saturday but the road to finally get there was not an easy one. For those of you interested in adopting the next furry member of your family, I wanted to share with you all our story to help provide guidance but also avoid some of the mistakes we made on our adoption journey.
Having a dog was never a question. I’m pretty sure it was one of the first “serious” conversations we had back in college when we just started dating. I figured out early on that if I told my husband that I didn’t see a dog in my future that it would have been grounds to end the relationship. I’m kidding, but also not kidding…
So I did what any love stuck 20-something would do and told him that I also wanted to have a dog one day.
Backstory, I never had an animal growing up. Living in a household with a dad that is allergic to cats and a brother who is severely allergic to dogs, you were left with very few pet options. My only interactions growing up with a dog was my best friends boxer that would go crazy every time I came to the house. I so vividly remember that her mother would have to hold him back as I sprinted up the stairs and behind the safety of her bedroom door. I’m not going to say this dog scarred me from ever wanting a dog but he definitely left me feeling some type of way about dogs.
Back to my husband, he grew up with a black lab at home that he loved to pieces. It was always part of his plan to have another lab as part of our family. After we got married he kept asking if we could start the adoption process but I kept coming up with reasons to wait.
- We just got married, let’s enjoy this time as just the two of us.
- Our building doesn’t allow pets.
- We have so much travel coming up.
After one year of marriage and moving into a new pet friendly building, I had run out of excuses. It was time to put my money where my mouth is and start actively looking for a dog.
Where to Adopt?
We started the process by getting a better understanding of the adoption/rescue landscape in the Chicago land area. With the recommendations of family members and friends, we quickly identified a few shelters we were going to pursue.
- Paws Up 4 Rescue
- Anti-Cruelty Society
- Wright Way Rescue
First thing I did was follow all these organizations on Facebook to stay current on their available animals. We then spent more time learning about each organization’s application and adoption process. For many of these organizations the process was to schedule an on-site visit at one of their shelters and meet the available animals. After showing up to a few of these shelters and not having many options, if any, to picks from we kept researching to see if there was a better way.
Reservation & Adoption Process
With Wright Way Rescue, the shelter we ultimately got Mac from, we learned that there was a reservation and adoption process that we could follow that would save us from taking trips back and forth to Morton Grove each weekend in the hopes of finding the right dog to adopt.
Each week, Wright Way will post pictures of the new puppies available for adoption. You have the ability as an approved adopter to call their hotline and make a reservation to meet with the animal of you choice. A reservation means that you are the first family to meet the animal, and if all goes well you have the ability to adopt.
Once we understood the process, my husband and I spent hours on their website checking hourly to see what new puppies were available. We knew we were looking for a puppy and that our preference was a lab mix. Once we agreed on what type of dog we wanted to adopt, it became a game to check their website and call in as quickly as possible to make a reservation.
The Waiting Game
It took a few weeks before we got our first reservation. Here is the part where you can learn from our mistake. We found out later that the first puppy we had a reservation for had Parvo. At the time when we made the reservation it was unknown to us and Wright Way that the puppy had Parvo. They called us a week later to share the news but were optimistic that the puppy would be okay after intensive care down in their in-take facility.
We got periodic updates from the shelter that this dog was making progress, we even got updated pictures which gave us hope that in a matter of week we would be puppy owners. We started sharing the good news with our family, friends and co-workers and picking out names for her.
But then the call came, we were notified by Wright Way that this puppy died the week before we were scheduled to meet her and potentially take her home. We were devastated, sadden by the loss of a beautiful animal that would no longer be part of our family and sadden by the fact that we were no closer to adopting a dog. Back to the square one.
Lesson Learned: Things are subject to change. Don’t tell your family, friends and co-workers about your new family member until it actually happens.
My husband and I gave ourselves some time before we started scouring the Wright Way website again. We were in the middle of a big travel month and were still shaken by the sudden death of what could have been our puppy.
One day we were on the website and saw the most beautiful blonde lab mix and called in immediately to see if he had a reservation. We were told that he was already spoken for but they told us they would be in touch if anything changed. This was the same worker that delivered the bad news on our first dog and took down our information and our preference for a blonde lab mix puppy.
As my husband tells it, we got a call from her 5 minutes later to let us know that the reservation for “Paddy” had fallen through and we were next in line. We couldn’t believe how perfect the timing worked out.
We learned from our first go around and kept the prospect of meeting Paddy hush hush. Out of superstition, we didn’t prep our apartment for a puppy or start buying food and toys.
The Meet & Greet
The day finally came and we head up to Morton Grove for our reservation with Paddy. Wright Way has a room in the back of their shelter with play pens set-up for potential adopters to have a meet and greet with the dogs. It only took two minutes for my husband an I to look at each other and decide he was coming home with us. Truthfully, I was holding back tears of joy.
What made the process even more special is that we had the opportunity to meet with the foster mom that was caring for Paddy’s mom and her litter of 13 pups(!). We got to hear about Paddy as a newborn and get some suggestions from her on how acclimate Paddy to his new home.
Before we could take home Paddy, we watched a 15 minute video on how to care for puppies and picked up the essentials needed to bring him home from their retail store. A couple hundred dollars later, and we were en route back to the city.
Meet Mac Wright
We decided to change his name from Paddy to Mac. One because Paddy is too close to my husband’s name and two because we really wanted to have a Chicago Bears inspired name. We ultimately landed in Mac after Kahlil Mack and after a back and forth discussion decided to drop the “k” as a nod to his original Irish name.
We are in love with this pup and as so excited to have him in our family. Everyone meet Mac!