A couple of weeks ago, John and I were sitting on one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant’s patio when a woman trotted toward us on the sidewalk with what looked like a small chocolate lab on a leash beside her. I say hello to more dogs than I do humans, so I immediately reached over the patio railing and greeted the dog, who was wearing a vest that said, “Adopt me!” Of course.
Chatting with the woman briefly, we found the dog’s name is Coco, and she’s an energetic little girl. The volunteer was trying to get some of Coco’s excitement out by jogging her around the block. After a minute, they were on their way and John and I looked at each other like, “Uh oh.”
How much harder could a second dog be? We had been talking about getting one for some time, and this seemed like a pretty fateful opportunity. After signing the lunch bill, we set out to search for the adoption event, albeit somewhat hesitantly, and knew it had to be nearby. What would hurt talking and learning a little more about this dog? Just down the road we found it, and found Coco amid a group of four or five other dogs, some volunteers, and lots of passersby stopping to consider the exact thing we were.
They told us some more about Coco; she’s had a pretty rough life. She was found chained up in a backyard last August, and if you know Dallas summers, you know that has to be a pretty miserable life. She was, they think, around six months old at that time when Angie (the owner of Dallas nonprofit animal rescue group Angie’s Friends) convinced Coco’s neglectful owner to let Angie take her.
Now, Coco’s probably just more than a year old, and she’s spunky, smart, and a sweet ball of love. They think she’s a chocolate lab and pitbull terrier mix, which explains her smallish, but stocky, size. She basically looks like a perma-puppy. John and I decided on the spot that we’d like to do a meet and greet with our other dog, Piper, and Coco the following day to see how they’d get along. All our hesitation was washed away when we spent some time with her and realized the happy temperament she possesses.
We spent that evening brainstorming what we’d call her (I don’t think either of us are major fans of naming a dog what they look like) and eventually landed on “Olive.” Coco, or Olive, has a small frame, but she’s thick like an olive and has the prettiest golden, with almost a hint of green, eyes that reminded us of the briny snack.
You might be thinking right now that we were getting a little ahead of ourselves, and you’re right. While John is definitely the more logical, black-and-white thinker in our relationship, it became very clear that when it comes to animals and what seems like idyllic timing, we both act solely on emotion.
Piper and Olive meeted and greeted the next day, and to us, it went swimmingly! They sniffed. They walked next to each other, though, somewhat spastically; they’re each a little hyperactive and distracted. They seemed to get along, so sure! Let’s do the trial week, we decided. The dogs hopped into my backseat and off we went to see just how wonderful it is having two dogs.
Let me be very clear: deciding to do the trial week with Olive was not a mistake. John and I fell so quickly in love with this dog that we felt like we were betraying her when we allowed ourselves to realize that our other dog was the one causing problems. Piper was so jealous the moment Olive entered her space and crawled onto her owners’ laps. Sharing a water bowl was out of the question, too. Feeding them was a whole different, time-consuming, separation-battle ballgame. Taking them out to the bathroom was almost impossible; they’re both very strong and very not used to walking with another dog next to them.
Pretty soon, snarls were exchanged, teeth were bared, lunges were made toward one another (more so Piper at Olive), all in the first afternoon and evening. John and I were beside ourselves with anxiety and guilt. We probably both cut a total of eight years off our lives with the stress we felt. And it was the gut-wrenchingly guilty stress, which ought to be the worst kind.
We were staying at John’s apartment, which is roomy, but not so much with two medium-sized dogs — and one who has an attitude problem (ahem, Piper). I can’t tell you how many times we told each other, “This would be so much easier if we just had a backyard.” And it would’ve been! But, alas, we have no backyard, and we both work full-time jobs, and we have some changes that are coming our way most likely in the next six months or so. Our lives, we realized after the naïveté of our decision hit us, are not in the right place to take in this sweet rescue dog and give her the life she deserves.
She deserves to not be crated eight hours a day while we’re at work after she spent the first six months of her life contained in a hot backyard by a chain. She deserves an easygoing dog companion, or to just be the only dog who gets all the attention. She deserves owners who have the time to walk and play and train and cuddle her every day or, at least, most days. And we can’t give her all of that right now.
So, big world that is the internet. I am asking you a favor. I understand there are thousands of dogs out there who have stories identical to and worse than Olive’s. I know there are people who are struggling immensely, too. But please, I am actually begging y’all, if you know anyone in the North Texas or surrounding area who would be a good fit for this angel dog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Angie’s Friends at 972-690-9260.
If you don’t know anyone, spreading the word by sharing this blog post is a massive help, too. And if you’re on the opposite side of the world and somehow found yourself on my blog (hi, welcome!), get out there and do some good for the animals, and people, in your community. There is so much hurt in this world, but there’s absolutely enough love and generosity to go around and make the bad things just a little bit less so.
And while John and I could not keep Olive, the most playful and simultaneously snuggly animal I have ever been around (and that is not a platitude), I believe her perfect home is out there. Thank you for helping me make sure she finds it.