If you've at the very least read the title of this blog entry, first off "Welcome to the new secret passion of Nick Carrillo." Hopefully throughout this little entry, you too may come to understand many of the positive elements in adopting a dog, all to which I have experienced first hand and am now passing onto you my readers. For those who may take offense to anything I say, I will apologize now, even though this is my blog and I can say whatever the hell I want...make your own damn blog if you don't agree.
To start, many of you may already know that Jenn and I adopted our little Stella approximately 1 year ago. For anyone who's going into something they have never done before, there was a certain amount of anxiety and worry when we first started thinking about this decision. For myself the anxiety was mostly in the mere fact that, "God, I'm an adult now and if I wanted to I could adopt 50 dogs right now and no one could do a damn thing about it", and really before I just jumped into this decision I had to ask myself:
#1 "Should I really do this, just because I can?".
It kind of reminded me of the day that I turned 18 and literally went to the nearest convenient store and bought a can of tobacco. At the time I thought it was kind of cool to do such a thing, only to later put way to much in my mouth and throw-up in a soiled area of my parents garden that later unexpectedly produced the most beautiful beefsteak tomatoes anyone had ever seen. With this little side story, No, I am not saying that sometimes mistakes turn into beautiful life-giving joys...or am I. My point, really, is to tell you the reader to go into the adoption process first and foremost with a level head and full understanding of the amount of time you and your spouse are able to give to this animal. With few exceptions after having been through what I think is the hardest part of the dog ownership process (the first year), I really do believe that just about anyone can adopt a dog of some sort. Those who really aren't suitable in my opinion, and trust me I wish there were enough people out there to each have 10 dogs, are those who:
A. Travel alot
B. Currently live in an area where dogs aren't allowed.
C. Are the type of person who wouldn't think twice about just giving the dog back up for adoption.
D. Just don't want a dog and really don't like dogs. (kind of like me with cats, this blog isn't about cats...sorry.)
Our favorite mistake Stella at 12 weeks, fresh from the shelter.With these three things being said, this leaves alot of people open to being eligible in my book for adopting some type of dog, and trust me there are many sizes, breeds, and ages out there who literally just need your certain situation to be brought into all to just keep living a dog life. It sounds harsh but I'd say for everytime you "think" you can't adopt a dog for some apparent reason not listed above, I'd say 10 dogs are euthanized. I know it sounds harsh, but it's a sick reality. Now let me back up a little bit and bring you into the life Jenn and I had before we got her. Jenn worked 8am-7pm, Monday thru Friday and sometimes weekends. I was both in school at random hours and also working part time. As many of you know we live in a two bedroom apartment with a balcony and really don't have a typical yard area for a dog to play in. With all of this being said, nothing has really changed in our life , many people may have thought to themselves that we weren't ready for a dog, because we needed a yard, we needed time, and we needed ample resources and experience, all of which we had no idea how to get. Well ladies and gentlemen, you all know where this is going, as you all know Jenn and I have the greatest little 60lb dog ever in our Miss Stella. No, we weren't a typical looking dog owner, we didn't have a huge yard to just stick her when we were gone and ignore her in when we were home, we didn't have 15 hours in the day to devote to this dog only to really pay about 1 hour of attention to her a day, rather we did want a dog and with that being said we made it work with the resources we had and the information available to us. I am very confident that given just about anybodies situation a dog of some sort can truly be fit into any equation, barring some of the exceptions I had noted before.
Puppies and mustaches, what a combo!
She's no longer a puppy and I no longer have a mustache...don't worry.
Puppies and mustaches, what a combo!
She's no longer a puppy and I no longer have a mustache...don't worry.
Stella at about 5 months loving her long walks
So many of you are probably wondering, "How do we do it?" As I had said before, first and foremost we wanted a dog and were the kind of people who would research our situation and be honest with ourselves about the type of dog we could handle. There were many resources online of the types of dogs suitable for apartment living, all to which needed to kind of fit within the framework of what Jenn and I could deal with on a day to day basis. For Jenn and I we kind of categorized our favorable breed as having a medium-large build and some athletic ability (since we wanted a dog who could fetch, run with me, and be intimidating enough if Jenn ever had to walk it at night all alone.) With all of this being said we wondered is this type of dog even capable of living in an apartment as often times many people just associate people who live in apartments as only being able to have "little dogs". While this probably is true in some cases, in large part it is a myth, as many large breeds like being indoors as long as they get there 1-2 hours of exercise every day. Even smaller dogs when they don't get their exercise will make it very known to their owners, "OK, I am feeling cooped up, I need to go and play". I don't want to offend anyone who has a little dog, as I for many years had my dog "Leo" a Westhighland (Westie) Terrier, who was awesome. Back to Stella though, in the beginning we decided to go with a medium sized breed puppy, only because we had heard that "crating" puppies early on and throughout their early years was completely humane, assuming the crate was big enough and wasn't left in the crate for longer then 6 hours on a regular basis. We had decided to go the puppy route only because we figured it would be a little easier to control her digestive process and develop good habits early on, later hoping that we could leave her in the apartment with our balcony door open when we weren't home, something we've already tried and is going very well even as she is just over a year old. Looking back however, after talking to a lot of people, Jenn and I could have gone with an older dog with our situation and have been just as content. Older dogs are great for apartments also, assuming they are over the chewing process, understand where they're allowed to go to the restroom, and don't have separation anxiety and bark non-stop while you are gone. Alot of times though for someone adopting an older dog (big or small) who lives in an apartment, typically the shelter knows their behavior and whether or not they'll be suitable for apartment living, but seriously an older dog can be awesome and it's sick to know the amount of people who just give up great dogs after 5-8 years of having them, only because their just sick of it, have to move, or couldn't afford them. Their are alot of beautiful hidden gems out there who really aren't asking for much more then a good bed to sleep on, a couple meals a day, fresh water, a couple nice walks, and a little love. Simply assuming a dog who is in a shelter or with a rescue group is a "problem" dog just isn't fair. Dog's are fairly simple creatures, who really only need attention, routine, and a couple meals a day to feel that they've lived. People who think all dogs need a rigorous hunting schedule, followed by constant stimulation mentally, and high protein diets to survive are doing an injustice to many of the dogs who die each and every day who seriously only need to be wanted and loved.
Stella in her favorite chair at 6 months (She has since grown out of this chair)At this point in our Stella's young life she has grown accustomed to going on two long walks every day. Sometimes those walks are at 6am and sometimes they are at 10pm, however it is Jenn and I's dedication to doing this that I truly believe Stella realizes and respects. Now, even though I've had a couple glasses of wine already, I do get the sense that Stella just knows she's going to get to walk twice a day and understands that sometimes their early and sometimes their later in the evening. The point is that Stella knows for at least 2 hours a day she gets to walk and for her some days that's all she needs. After a walk she instantly eats her food and much like any of us, after we exercise and eat, the next thing she wants to do is sleep. It's at this point lately that I've been letting her nap on her blanket in the apartment, with all the doors to the bathrooms shut, when I'm not home and I sware to you when I've been getting home 6-8 hours later, everything is FINE and sometimes I even catch her just getting up from a nap, content as can be. Just think what the poor dogs who are in a shelter or pound are thinking on a day to day basis, they have no idea what tomorrow brings, for Stella at the very least she knows Jenn or I are going to be home with a few hours and no one else is going to walk in that door except for one of us. If I came home to a dog who has torn the front room apart and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of furniture, I would seriously wonder, "What the Hell did I do to make her do that?" That's the mentality that dog owners have to assume, as every action by them results in their dogs reaction, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize what they have or haven't done to warrant such behaviors.
Ladies and Gentlemen, owning a dog is such a rewarding experience to which I would hope all of my family and friends could some day experience. It is my hope that in reading my blog today and in the future, that you realize in the most miniscule way you too can alter a dog's life who is close to be euthanized. Jenn and I have developed such a bond with our dog Stella, that we can only wish at this point that each of our blog readers and their friends can some day experience on their own. In addition, Jenn and I support heavily the shelter we adopted Stella from and are more then willing to introduce anyone to when they are ready. The name of the shelter is "Sparky and the Gang" and they truly are comprised of some of the most passionate and loving people who live on this earth. They are very knowledgable of all shapes, sizes, and ages of dogs and are more then willing to accomodate you in any way. If you told them you only wanted a certain breed, they would literally look day and night to find a deserving dog for you and your family. I'll be honest their website is somewhat limited, however it's only because they move a lot of dogs throughout the Southern California Area. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email me and I can certainly put you into contact with the right people. They're all volunteers so they do have limited time, however I know some of them personally and would love to put you into contact with one of them for a visit to their shelter or recommendation on your individual situation. Please remember their are dogs out their dying every day because people don't realize they're worthy of owning a dog. Take it from Jenn and I, with a little bit of time, alot of love, and a passion for dogs, there are millions of dogs out there waiting to be adopted. Please don't buy from a puppy mill, there are so many beautiful pure bred and mixed breed puppies just waiting to be adopted for a fraction of the cost and all of their shots. If you want my real take on a purebred dog, as beautiful as some of them are, call me some time, I'll give you my thoughts as they pertain to you. I love all dogs, young and old, mixed and purebred, however I am pretty confident I know when certain dogs are suitable for certain people more then others.
If you are interested in checking out the shelter where Jenn and I got Stella, click the link below, they literally bring in new rescues every day.