We fell so hard in love with our adopted dog that within months of bringing her home, it felt like she had been with us forever. I remember staring at her wishing I had known her as a puppy. I dreamed up scenarios of her life before us. We exhaled in her presence, as if we’d been holding our breaths expecting her to disappear, as if she was too good to be true. She was about five years old and perfect. It took no time before it was clear she was the missing piece to our family puzzle. She plugged herself into our life and home completely and seamlessly. I pinched myself every time she walked into a room, or I walked in the front door and saw her big fluffy face.
Adoptable dogs become adoptable for a bunch of reasons. They are often picked up as strays. Sometimes their person passes away, or their family is moving somewhere and can’t take them and the dog is taken to a shelter or rescue. Many of the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue dogs were strays or surrendered for some reason.
I find the word ‘surrendered’ more appealing than the phrase ‘give up’ when describing why a dog is available for adoption. When you give up something that action sounds negative to me. Associating that negativity with dogs is not something I want to have in a dog’s narrative. I’m sure my waffling over the semantics of these two terms may seem lame to some people but I will be the first to admit I am a romantic when it comes to dogs.
We embraced the word ‘surrender’ for the reason why our dog was available for adoption.
When we first met our dog at the SF SPCA, they said she had been owner surrendered at a shelter before they brought her to the city. I developed the belief that she was surrendered to the shelter up north not because she was bad or broken, but because the people knew that she didn’t really belong to them. They knew and finally realized the truth of her needing to be with her real family. The family that had been waiting months for her. I believed once they accepted this reality it was only a matter of time for them to surrender her to their local shelter, and then for that shelter to call the SF SPCA.
I believe there are dogs perfectly made for every person or family looking for a dog to have in their life. Sometimes that perfect dog needs to be surrendered in order to be with their forever person or family. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
What do you think? How does the dog adoption term ‘owner surrender’ or ‘give up’ influence you?