June 27: Find a New Best Friend

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As I sat on the train to NYC with my nephew, I started to reflect on the 31 days, 31 ways to Get Busy Livin’ series that I had undertaken just a few days prior.  Besides the thought of “what the hell did I get myself into”, I started writing down possible topics for the month of posts.

Sure, I could blog for ages about traveling to exotic destinations, traveling for free, epic road trips and other great adventures (which I probably will), but the one recurring theme that really resonated with me was the fact of contributing to or giving back to something greater than just us.  Making a difference.

I have written about charity walks and volunteering your time, both of which are very noble endeavors and I encourage everyone to participate as much as they can in any related activity, as their actions truly are making a difference in the world.  Another tangent of that same discussions hits a chord very close to my heart.

Living in Southern California for pretty much my entire life, I was always surrounded with high-end shopping malls, big box stores and luxury everywhere.  Mixed in amongst all of the high end shoe stores and chocolatier shops were designer puppy stores where they hawked puppies from all corners of the country for prices ranging from $800 and up.  Most “purebred” puppies would sell for upwards of $2500.  The smaller, the most expensive.

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

Yet no more than 10 miles away in any direction was a minimum of 3-4 pet shelters or rescue organizations that were overflowing with animals.  Some were so packed that if a dog was in their facility for more than a few weeks, they were euthanized.  Who would want a 5 year old mutt when you lived in Southern California where money grows on trees and dogs were made to fit in purses.

The problem is that this doesn’t exist just in Southern California, it is across the country.  So many dogs, cats and other animals are being abandoned or picked up by animal control and placed in these humane society shelters, most to wait out their final days.  Why? Because they grew up to be to big? Because they misbehaved?

There are so many wonderful people who donate their time and energy to saving animals from euthanizing by bring them into foster care, cleaning them up and doing their best to adopt them out to loving homes.

It was just a few years ago when I was looking to adopt a new best friend.  After months of searching on Craigslist, Petfinder, and other adoption websites, I came across Theo.  Theo was a wonderful, shaggy little Yorkshire Terrier/Wire Haired Terrier mix.  He was turned into the shelter by animal control that picked him up on the side of the road.  The day before he was sent to be put down, he was saved by a rescue organization who cleaned him up, microchipped him and got all of his shots current.

It was about a month after they fostered him, that I found and adopted Theo.  Because Theo was an adopted name only a few weeks old, I renamed him Rusty.

What spoke to me the most was the ability to give a dog like Rusty a second chance at a good life.  A life of not running the streets. A life of not having to search for his next meal. A life with a warm bed and the occasional road trip.  A second chance at what he deserved.

And he has rewarded me with a great friendship, unmatched loyalty and adoring love.

My story is not unique. There are hundreds and thousands of stories out there, just like mine.

So I ask you, if you are looking for somewhere to donate your time, or even looking to adopt a dog, please look into rescue organizations in your area.  Give a dog a second chance.

Day 27. Way 27. Give a dog a 2nd chance. Adopt a new best friend.

Pleas share your stories and photos of your adopted babies with us in the comments!

Pick Me Photo Credit / Stuffed Animal Photo Credit / Header Photo Credit

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  • Nicki

    I don’t know how to post pictures on here, but I can relate to your story. In our years of dog and cat ownership, we have adopted and saved Max, Sam, Frankie, Boris, and the cats, Harley and Thomas.

    Max was about 10 when we took him in. He was a yorkie that his owners were going to take to the pound since they’re new apartment wasn’t going to let him go with them. We had to put him down after he lost his quality of life at 18.

    Next Sammy. He was a pit puppy whose home was burned down during a wildfire and they had to get rid of the pups quick before sending to the pound. He was our faithful friend until 11 when he got cancer.

    Our current boys Frankiepants and Bobo, we took in at 7-8 weeks old were as a result of some drongo that left them and 10 of their siblings in a box outside a Walmart mid winter. They were the last two and Max had been put down just 2 months prior. From Yorkie and pitbull, to pit and 2 Akita/Malamute mixes. Ha! They are now 8 1/2.

    Cats. My daughter has had two. First past away just a year and half after we got him and it killed her to lose him. We think he passed from a stroke or such. Harley was a pound kitty. She went the day after, to the pound, and Thomas chose her. He’s completely different than Harley and she’s developed another kinship to him.

    So new friends? We have had a number of them and I suppose we will continue to go adopt our future family members. When the lights go out, essentially they are still our beloved pets and friends, regardless of their roots.

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      I love hearing stories of rescued animals, seriously makes me so happy to see people giving these guys a 2nd chance.

  • http://twitter.com/cherszy Cherszy

    Awww… Rusty looks adorable! :) I would really like to adopt a pet dog someday, you know, when I’m older. And seriously, inhumane treatment of dogs should stop. Poor creatures and such cruel people!  

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      Thanks! Rusty is adorable, he is a little lover, but we call him our Napoleon, our special child.  He is kind of a big goof.  At 4 years old, he is just now learning how to chase/play with other dogs, he never knew how.  He also didn’t know how to bark until he was about 3.

      • http://twitter.com/cherszy Cherszy

        Aww… that’s so cute! You guys must be some real trainers! 

        • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

          LOL, Thanks! Not real trainers, but all 3 of ours are pretty well behaved, so we like to think we are doing something right!

  • http://elleswim.net/ Elle

    Rusty is freaking adorable but Theo was a way cooler name.  You should have stuck with Theo.  I have had several friends who have adopted a dog from an animal shelter, although I must admit I have not done so.  I have a cat, Cricket, who is the coolest cat in the world but unfortunately, I can’t have a pet where my life is taking me.  If she’s still around in 2 years time when I plan on leaving for my epic adventure, she will be going to live with my bestfriend and her pet family.

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      Well, admittedly you are not a huge dog lover, so that is understandable.

      I guess with this post my point was that even if you can’t adopt a shelter pet, there are shelter organizations that would love volunteer help just to run adoption drives, help with feeding and giving attention to the pets, etc.  Just another corner of society we like to forget about, but really shouldn’t. 

  • http://www.insearchofmermaids.com Patricia GW

    How wonderful you found Rusty and gave him a new home! He’s a very lucky pup. Every time those abused animals come on the commercials, it breaks my heart. What do you suggest for people who are on the road, and can’t commit to the responsibility of a pet?

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      Patricia -

      Depending on where you go, there are plenty of rescue organizations (at least here in the US) that could use the help of volunteers to do as little as help run an adoption drive or as much as foster a pet for a few weeks/months until that pet is adopted.  That way you dont have the responsibility of an animal while travelling, but are helping the cause.

      • http://www.insearchofmermaids.com Patricia GW

        Ah, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for the good idea!

  • http://twitter.com/eriksmithdotcom Erik Smith

    Love this post. This is a subject near and dear to my wife and I. We aren’t going to have any kids (our choice) but we have 2 dogs and 2 cats right now who are all rescues. They enrich our lives everyday. We encourage people to always consider shelter animals when finding a pet. We don’t donate to a lot of human causes but always give to our favorite animal ones. Each Christmas, my wife requests her family and friends not give her gifts, but instead donate the money to our favorite causes in the name of our 3 furry kids who have passed on.

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      Erik - 

      Thanks so much for the comment.  So glad to see how you guys are doing your part.  These rescue animals really do know that they are getting a 2nd chance, I believe, and have always been the most loving animals I have had.

      Thanks to you and your wife for doing your part.  It is very admirable.

  • http://twitter.com/zongrik Bat-Ami Gordin

    You express what so many of us dog lover mean to say so very perfectly…

    • http://www.justinhamlin.com Justin Hamlin

      Glad to hear it touched home. It has been a very close topic for both my wife and I. Thanks for the visit and comment!