I've been meaning to post this since I started blogging over three months ago. Today I'm going to talk about our journey adopting our first pup, Flora!
My sister-in-law lived in Thailand for a year and volunteered at a dog rescue there. She and my brother adopted a Thai street dog named Anubis (affectionately referred to as Nubi) from that rescue and he became one of my very favorite dogs. This is me and him a few years ago.
My family and I all started following the Soi Dog Foundation on Facebook. They post pictures of their adoptable dogs as well as dogs they find in critical condition and updates on how their progress is. They also post updates on Thailand's illegal dog meat trade. In case you didn't know, Thailand is pretty rampant with stray dogs, and most people there don't bat an eye at them. They often are illegally captured and smuggled across borders, crammed together in tiny cages on the back of big trucks to be killed and sold as meat. It's heartbreaking.
Anyway, Michael and I liked to look at the cute dogs they posted. We knew we wanted to get a dog once we were in a dog friendly apartment. Despite thinking the dogs were cute and being appalled by the dog meat trade and the treatment of street dogs in Thailand, we figured we'd adopt a dog here. But...one day Michael was perusing the Soi Dog website and laid eyes on this beauty.
We immediately fell in love with her coloring, her amber eyes, her lopsided ears, her waggy tail and her doggy smile. We put in an application to adopt her and were so excited to be accepted! Then came the waiting.
There were other pictures on the Soi Dog website. We looked at them constantly. One day, we found the above picture of her on a Soi Dog volunteer's blog and we were so excited to get another glimpse of our girl!
Dogs can be flown here as cargo, but it's a lot more expensive than if there's a flight volunteer to travel with them. So people who go on business trips or vacations to Thailand or who go to volunteer at the shelter often volunteer to take the dogs back with them. It costs them nothing, flight costs are covered by the adopter. The adopter then meets the volunteer at the airport and picks up their new companion.
We were approved to adopt her in August...we hadn't even moved into our dog-friendly apartment yet! But we moved in in October and secured a flight volunteer for November 8th. Our flight volunteers were with a nonprofit called Greater Good, which is based in Tucson and Seattle.
When the day came, we anxiously waited at the airport. When the dogs arrived, two of them came right out of the crate and got some pets and cuddles. Flora was huddled in the back of her gigantic crate looking so tiny. She didn't want to move. Not for food, not for water, not for anything. We ended up having to wheel her in her crate to the parking garage. Well, the giant crate wouldn't fit in my little Honda Civic assembled. So we spent probably an hour trying to calm her and coax her out. We got her in the car, took the crate apart, and got it in the trunk.
She was so nervous! She hid between the couch and the trunk, slinking back farther whenever you approached her. We spent most of that evening alternating between trying everything we could to get her to warm up to us and just ignoring her and trying to let her take it all in. Eventually, we picked her up and put her on the couch with us. You can tell she's nervous in the below picture, but she's also fascinated--she had never seen a TV before.
After we put her on the couch, she didn't move an inch. When it was time for bed, we decided we should just leave her and make sure to have the bedroom door open. (The bedroom door is right across from the couch, so she could see where we were.) The next morning when we woke up, she was exactly where we left her the night before. We felt so bad that she was so scared!
She ended up warming up to us pretty quickly. Definitely quicker than she did to the apartment. Eventually we picked her up and put her on our bed. (Yes, our dogs are unbelievably spoiled and we let them sleep with us.) For a while, she wouldn't go anywhere but back and forth between the couch and the bed. It was like she was pretending the floor was lava. She still doesn't like to go into the kitchen (I don't blame her, it's teeny and cramped!) but other than that she goes everywhere in the apartment now.
It melted my heart to see her learn what dog toys were so quickly! She fell asleep with a toy a few times within her first week with us.
We took her to my brother's house so he and his wife and their dogs could meet her. She wasn't a huge fan of the other dogs. She warmed up to Jen pretty easily. Jen is a major dog lover though, and she's really patient with them and knows how to act around all sorts of dogs. She took this picture of Flora leaning in to get a treat and it's one of my favorite pictures of her! (It's really hard to get the right lighting for a good picture of her.)
These next few pictures are from our first big outing with her. We went to Discovery Park in Seattle (if you watched The Killing, that's the park where they found Rosie's body...except the place they filmed it in Vancouver looks nothing like the actual park). We also had a mini heart attack moment because Michael slipped and dropped the leash and she kept walking. Thankfully, she came back to our calling and treat-bribing. We weren't sure if she would since we hadn't had her very long yet!
Flora's first snow! This happened to be on the first anniversary of our engagement, February 8th, 2014! Before we went out to dinner, we took Flora out to experience it. (And let me tell you, walking to dinner in heels this night, up a fairly steep city block, was no picnic!) This is one block from our apartment and we were probably outside for five minutes total, in case you were feeling bad for her. (A couple walked by in the short amount of time we were outside and made a very loud remark about how cold she looked in an accusatory tone, so I just wanted to assure you we are not horrible dog parents if you were thinking the same thing!)
And now for a photo dump because I'm sure my commentary is getting tiring or if you made it this far maybe you just skimmed and only looked at the pictures anyway!
I have no idea why someone left this little eight week old pup outside of the shelter riddled with fleas and ticks, and how she then lived in the shelter for two years before being adopted, but I'm so glad she's ours! She's still pretty terrified of other people and dogs. We can't walk her down the street and have strangers stop to pet her. It's not what you immediately think of when you think of a dog, and sometimes it's tiring. I honestly always pictured having a dog who loved to run around at the dog park and let strangers stop and pet her. Flora does not fit those criteria, but I wouldn't trade her for anything!
I'm linking up with Holly for Waiting on Wednesday! Make sure to come back tomorrow for the story of our second dog, Tully! (Or if you hated this post then maybe stay away until Friday. Ha!)