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Growing up I knew that one day I would own a dog. But if you had told me that I would wind up adopting not one, but two of them from rescues, I probably would have thought you were crazy.
It started in August when my girlfriend and I decided to get a four-legged companion. I wanted to go to a breeder and seek out a purebred like Max, the German shepherd I grew up with. Cydnee, on the other hand, wanted to adopt a rescue dog.
After much debate, Cydnee convinced me to visit a shelter. “After that,” she said, “we’ll see how you feel.”
Indeed, after just 15 minutes of walking among the rows of adoptable dogs at the Animal Orphanage in Voorhees, my mind had changed. Dogs of all ages and sizes—many of them abandoned by impatient or careless owners—gazed up at us with pleading eyes, wordlessly begging to be taken home.
After two weeks of web surfing and phone calling to various animal rescues, we found the dog for us. Her name was Sophia, a 12-week-old border collie/German shepherd/hound mix that was being fostered by a rescue organization called Puppies and More. Sophia and her littler mates were all rescued from a kill shelter in North Carolina just 24 hours before they were scheduled for euthanasia.
We visited her foster home in Lumberton and immediately fell in love. So we scooped her up, drove her back to Medford, renamed her Scully, and began a journey that’s now going on six amazing months.
After the holidays Cydnee and I decided that we were ready to expand our furry family. So once again I scoured PetFinder.com and stumbled upon an unbelievable post. In Monmouth County a rescue called Mostly Shepherds had just posted photos of a seven-puppy litter that was up for adoption—all purebred German shepherds. The mother was pregnant when she was found wandering through town, untagged and unclaimed.
Cydnee, Scully and I hopped in the Jeep and drove up to meet the little guys on January 14. And we fell in love once again, this time with an 11-week-old pup named Rudy. He came to our home one week later (where he was dubbed Frisco). The experience has been remarkable.
I certainly don’t begrudge anyone’s choice to go to a reputable and humane breeder. But I am now astounded by the power of the rescue option. I’m living proof that if you wait long enough and open up your heart to the possibility, you will eventually find the pet that’s right for you. And there are so, so many of them out there.
If you’ve got a pet adoption success story, or care to recommend reputable rescues in the area, please let us know in the comment section below.
Nick DiUlio is New Jersey Monthly’s South Jersey Bureau Chief. In addition to regularly contributing to the magazine, he has written for Slate.com, Miller McCune, Paste magazine, and numerous regional and lifestyle publications. He is also an adjunct teacher of magazine writing at Rowan University. Email Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org