There hadn’t been a dog in our family for some time. In fact, if anything, we’d decided we were pretty content with just a cat. With two teenagers in the house, we tended to prefer pets that were low-maintenance and understanding of the hustle and bustle that went on in our house. My daughter was the proud owner of a tarantula, my son had a Cuban Knight anole and we had a Ragdoll cat with a severe Princess complex. Who needed a dog, right?
Ever Felt That Little Tingle?
We were driving home late one afternoon and, when I should have made that turn onto the street that led home, I continued going straight. My children asked where we were going and I answered, “Crazy,” which is a place we often visit. I like it there… it’s cozy. As usual, both kids fell into silent acceptance and I continued on my way, eventually pulling into the parking lot at the Pinellas County Animals Service, located in Largo, Florida. I hadn’t intended to go there and yet, oddly enough, I felt compelled to.
Mind you, I don’t believe that bringing a pet into your life should ever be an impulse decision, don’t get me wrong. In retrospect, I believe that I had been thinking about it and considering it for some time, even though I came up with numerous excuses until I was ready. But for whatever reason, something suddenly felt right. I wasn’t sure if we were there to find a dog or a cat. I just told myself that we’d go in there and simply look around. That was all. Just looking.
And There He Was
The shelter at the Pinellas County Animal Services is always immaculate and the staff has always been very courteous, whenever I’ve been in there. While there are numerous Tampa Bay shelters, I am very fond of this particular one and I usually like to check here first, knowing these pets are on borrowed time. It was 4:45 p.m. when we walked in – too late for an adoption, but we were still permitted to look. My feet carried me into the dog section as if I had traveled this path before. Past the first line of cages and then back around to the second… right in the middle. And there he was.
While most of the other dogs jumped up and down, barking wildly, this thin Boston Terrier eyed me sadly from the back of his cage. As I knelt down, he came up and licked my fingers then squished in against the wire, begging for human touch. “I really like him,” I remember telling my kids and they agreed. He seemed like a nice dog.
I went back out to the front desk and inquired about the Boston Terrier, taking his card with me. Needless to say, I had missed normal adoption hours, so I figured I would have to suffice with asking questions. I learned he was an unfixed male that had been brought in as a stray, and I said we were considering adopting him. The clerk was excited about this but informed me that he’d have to be fixed before he could be adopted out. Unfortunately, we wanted to meet him outside of his cage before agreeing to anything but, if he couldn’t be sent out for neutering first thing in the morning, he would have to wait until the next week. And it was after hours. Drat. Call me sentimental, but I hated the idea of him having to be in there for several more days – I’ve always thought shelters had to be very psychologically traumatizing to pets.
Despite being near closing time now, the clerk opted to go the extra distance and let us visit with our new four-legged friend (even though it was after hours), heading into the back to get a leash and bringing him out to meet us. Wiggling with happiness, he eagerly greeted both myself and my children. I called for a vote and it was a unanimous decision – We had a new family member!
Rube has been with us for five years now and we couldn’t have asked for a better friend. He is loving, sweet and we’ve never had a regret about adopting a dog from the Pinellas County Animal Services. Not only did the staff go the extra distance to help us adopt the perfect pet, they also provided us with a great starter gift pack and excellent follow-up care for Rube, after his surgery. If you’re looking for a great place to adopt a pet in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend that you check out Pinellas County Animal Services. Your new best friend may be waiting there for you!