This is Macon. We met him a little over a week ago at the PetFiesta here in Reston and brought him home the same day. It was amazing, Macon was the first dog we saw as we walked into Reston Town Center. It was something like a RomCom of the pet variety - family walks into Pet Festival, dog looks up at them with soft brown eyes, family meets dog and finds out he is for adoption, family takes dog to his forever home.
Of course, if dogs could talk, there would have been more information passing back and forth between us (the family) and Macon (the dog). A little bit of "Where are you from?" "What do you like?" "What type of food do you eat?" "Where have you been living for the past two years?" Unfortunately, all we knew was what we were told by the shelter, K-9 Lifesavers, and that wasn't much to be honest. Between the literally hundreds of dogs around Town Center (maybe close to 1000 animals including cats, dogs, ferrets, birds and humans) and all the humans looking at adopting them things were a bit chaotic to say the least. So all we knew was that he was from Georgia, between 1 and 2 years old and a mix of a chow, lab and something else.
So for the past week we've spent a great deal of time getting to know Macon. We figured out that he doesn't like stairs, is fine with cats, other dogs and children, and LOVES walking in the woods. He loves it so much he and I take 1-2 walks a day on top of the other 3 walks he gets with my husband and my son. Today, in fact, we took an hour long walk. I was pretty much toast afterward, and it wasn't my idea, but I am still thrilled.
It wasn't until a phone call with the shelter, K-9 Lifesavers, yesterday that we were able to find out more information about Macon. While they didn't have much background, they did have some.
Macon was a stray.
This is so surprising to us and to the shelter purely based on his behavior. He enters the house after we do, he sits calmly when we ask him to, he wags his tail, doesn't pull at the leash, well unless there are 5 deer within scent and visual distance as we found out yesterday. He doesn't bark, he plays well with all the other dogs on the street...it's pretty much a dream come true for a new dog owner.
Today he and I even walked for an hour!
The thing that just really doesn't compute is the stray. Macon doesn't have a lot of flea bites, has all his fur and is a beautiful dog. While not trying to judge a book by it's cover - there are also his behaviors. He is gentle, a little afraid of cars, sliding glass doors and stairs, doesn't bark, lays comfortably in the house, has gotten comfortable enough to find my big fluffly recliner and jump in when I am not at home. He also sits when asked, crosses the street when I say "Cross", eats calmly, and shows us his tummy to rub more than a few times a day. In other words - at some point in his young life, this dog was well loved. Someone took Macon into his house, trained him, loved him, fed him - did everything right. But then, for some reason, decided that they could no longer take care of the dog who had come to love them. They either drove a ways from home and dropped him off on the side of the road, or took him into a vet and said he was a stray or called a shelter saying they had found a stray in the neighborhood before taking of his collar and all the information about him.
I could get on a soapbox here, but honestly I won't. These days the simple pleasures of owning a pet have become exponentially expensive. And when it is not a financial cost, it can be a family expense. First of course there is money. That is always an issue. Then there could be an allergy in the family, or a forced move to a location that does not allow you to bring your pets. What I will say is this - people who bring dogs and cats into their lives do so for the most part because they believe they can care for those animals. When you do find out that you cannot - please find a no-kill shelter. And for those who wonder why a dog as beautiful and well behaved as our Macon could have been found by the shelter as a stray - know that there are so many reasons why, but they all come down to hope, and finances.
Maybe if there was a way to help keep dogs and cats in the families who already own them. Would it be possible that there would be fewer animals who need new homes? Who knows.
We are just lucky we found Macon and that he found us.