Pound Puppies

I’ve mentioned before that I want a dog.  Mr. S wants a dog too, even more so than me.  On most Saturdays, Mr. S and I will get breakfast then walk over to Carl Schurz Park and watch the dogs in the Big Dog park (we don’t waste our time with that crappy Little Dog park).  We aren’t allowed inside the dog park because we don’t actually have a dog, so we hang on the fence and watch from outside, discussing which one we would like to steal and take home for ourselves.  Mr. S also does great color commentary on the dogs, which is my favorite part of this whole ritual. 
One Sunday, I was looking through PetFinder.com, just for fun, and found a cute little pitbull.  His description noted that he had escaped Death Row once and was desperately looking for his Forever Home.  Ugh, he was so cute.  I showed him to Mr. S and he found out that he was only 20 blocks away from us. 

“Let’s go see him!”
“OK!!!”

On the way, we discussed what we would do if we fell in love with this dog and had to take him home.

Mr. S: We can hide him in the apartment.  Other people have asshole dogs.  Why can’t we have a kickass dog?
Me: Our neighbor will tell on us.  We can tell the landlord that we need to break the lease because I lost my job.
Mr. S: Yeah, yeah let’s do that!!

Nevermind that we might become homeless for an unknown amount of time, or that our rent would certainly increase, or that I am allergic to dogs.  We were determined to save him. 
Midway through our walk, my subconscious must have come to her senses.

Me (stopped walking and hiding behind a bus shed): I don’t think I’m ready.
Mr. S (like I knocked the wind out of his sails): It’s ok.  We don’t have to get him.  We can just go look and decide later.

10 minutes later we arrived at the Manhattan Animal Care & Control.  When we walked in there was a man dropping off his 9 month old Schnauzer mix.  His reason: she was too hyper and he couldn’t train her. Jerk.  
The Manhattan AC&C is basically the city pound.  They cannot refuse any animal that is brought in or found as a stray.  Due to this, and their limited government funding, they are a kill shelter – which means, if an animal doesn’t get adopted, he or she will be put to sleep.  Wah!
We headed upstairs to see the dogs.  It was the saddest sight ever.  As we walked by each cage, the dogs perked up their heads, and put on their most heartbreaking “please take me with you” face.  Some of them were sad, and just stayed lying down in their cage.  Others were so happy to see people walking by that they jumped up and licked to greet us.
 
Each dog is given a series of behavioral tests to see how they interact with people, children, and other animals.  All this information is critical to ensuring the dog gets placed with the right family.  The dog we found online would not have been a good match for us since he has issues being around other dogs.  Although we have both owned dogs previously, Mr. S and I have zero experience with anti-social dogs.  Plus we really, really, really want to be part of the Big Dog park club. 
We kept looking and landed on Arkam.  He was a tan pitbull that seemed very gentle and loving in his cage.  He stood right up when we approached his cage and had a big happy smile.  When it was our turn to talk to the adoption consultant, we said that we were interested in him.  She told us that he aced all his behavioral tests and would do great in any home.  YES!  We got to take him out and play catch with him a little bit.  He walked perfectly on the leash and brought the ball back every time we threw it at him.  In short, he was the best behaved dog we’ve ever come across (even considering the ones we have previously owned).  The consultant told us that they don’t have a lot of history on any of the dogs that come into the center, but she could tell that he was owned by a family since he knew how to “sit” and “lie down” and they don’t teach that kind of stuff at the center.  
Then she asked us if our apartment allows dogs.  I lied, “Yes, but there is a 50lb weight limit.”  And then I lied again, “But we are looking to move next month anyway.”    
After playing with Arkam, we told the consultant that we needed more time to think about it.  It is, after all, a big decision that would have a big impact on our lifestyle.  Mr. S and I headed home disappointed.  We knew we could take care of him, but we didn’t want to have to hide him or live in fear of being kicked out.  Plus, 3 of us in a studio might be too crowded?  Oh and I’m allergic.  However, I should note that I showed no allergic reactions during our visit, and it definitelysmelled like dogs.   All in all, it just isn’t the right time for us to adopt.
Even with that rational realization, we vowed that if he ever got put on Death Row, we would go back to get him.  So far, he hasn’t appeared on the list.  (There is an “At Risk” list put out every night showing which 
dogs are to be put to sleep the next day.  Mr. S checks it religiously.)  If you or anyone you know might be interested in adopting a loveable, perfectly behaved pitbull, check out Arkam or any of his friends at www.nycacc.org.