After Austin died I knew I would get a new dog eventually. I feel like Rosa would be happier with another dog around, but we had a couple of weeks of great quality time. She hadn’t been going for walks as much and has slowed down some in the meantime. I figured I would start looking soon and Eric’s girlfriend even asked if she could tag along and help out when I visited shelters. Austin came from Paws, so I planned to go there first. I could also go to Lifeline here in Avondale which is where Rosa came from. Also, a person on Nextdoor posts about graduates of the Canine Cellmates program where prisoners work with dogs rescued from the pound before the dogs are made available for adoption. Adult dogs are a little harder to place, so that would be fine with me. Usually if they have lived at a shelter for any amount of time they are pretty much housebroken.
Then on Nextdoor someone posted about a dog named Bella at the Fulton County Animal Shelter, which is run by Lifeline. A female pit bull had been there for 200 days and was about to be put down as unadoptable. The volunteers from the shelter were horrified because they loved this dog and had been working to get her adopted. When she was admitted last August she was with a litter of puppies and all of her puppies had been adopted already. The volunteers made videos of her and even did a glamour makeover to get her some attention. Nothing worked and while she had people show interest from time to time, nothing happened, so the shelter said Friday was her last day. This was Thursday. I told the person on Nextdoor that I was going to be looking and she said I should contact the adoptions coordinator at the shelter. They said I could come by and that I should bring my dog to see if they get along. So I left work around 4, stopped at the house to let Rosa out and then got in the car and drove back past downtown to the Fulton animal shelter on Marietta Street. It is kind of chaotic there. First there are a ton of dogs all barking in the back, but the volunteers and staff are pretty busy working on stuff. I sat at a table and started filling out an adoption form until someone would help me. Eventually a volunteer coordinator talked to me and said I should put Rosa in my car and she would put Bella in a pen by herself so I could meet her. Then I could go get Rosa and they would meet in a fenced area outside. So I put Rosa in the car and came back. The coordinator was gone, but I found the pen and Bella. A lady with a baby and a young girl was there to see Bella as well. Since I got there first, I went in the pen and Bella seemed like a real sweetheart, loving getting some attention. Even though I was squatting down, she still wanted to get in my lap.
One of the workers walked up and offered to take Bella outside to meet Rosa. They were mostly indifferent, though Bella was more interested in Rosa than Rosa was in her. Anyway, they didn’t fight, though the coordinator came back and was petting Rosa which made Bella come over and try to bother Rosa, which made Rosa growl. So the coordinator said that was probably because of her and she would leave. I figured that was good enough. Austin and Rosa never played a lot either. Then there was a lot more paperwork to do. The adoption fee is usually $85, but they have so many dogs they need to find homes for that they have dropped it to $14. And the volunteers who were trying to help Bella had offered to pay her fees, buy food and supplies, and even pay for dog training, just to encourage someone to take her. So I didn’t have to pay anything for Bella and she is already spayed, up to date on her shots, and has a microchip. They took a picture of me with Bella before we left:
The lady who had come for Bella wound up finding another momma dog pit bull like Bella but black. While that dog wasn’t an urgent adoption yet, black dogs are hard to adopt out, so she saved a life too.
Then we all got in the car. Rosa likes to be up front and Bella would try to get up there too sometimes. The shelter says Bella weighs 60 pounds and came to the shelter at 49 pounds. She is pretty fat right now, probably from eating her penmates’ food in addition to her own. I drove down North Avenue past Georgia Tech and past my office and then down Ponce when Bella whimpered. So we stopped at the Publix near David’s apartment to let everyone out relieve themselves. Bella did pretty well and even got back in the car with only a little encouragement.
I really wasn’t ready for another dog yet. The shelter recommended I crate train Bella and that shelter dogs do well with crates since they are locked up all the time at the shelter and can use some safe alone time to decompress. I have a crate, but at 36 inches it was smaller than they recommended (42 inches). I got an email from one of the volunteers thanking me for adopting Bella and she asked if I needed anything. I asked if I could borrow a crate from someone, and one of the volunteers dropped a crate off at my house on Friday morning! I wound up missing half a day of work, but put Bella in the crate and got four hours of work in anyway. I think two big problems with new dogs is they can be destructive and they may not be housebroken and the crate prevents both problems. Bella doesn’t mind the crate, but she definitely does not like me leaving her. I tried leaving without putting her in the crate and she yelped and scratched at the door. So I put her in the crate. We’ll work on her getting used to me leaving and realizing I will be back.
I took her for a walk with Rosa Thursday night and she did fine, but she pulls pretty hard. At the house she was like Goldilocks, testing the sofa, chair, and all the beds she could find. They were all just right, but she slept on my bed next to me with enough room for Rosa (Rosa wasn’t happy with the company, but wasn’t going to sleep on the floor either). Friday morning we went for a walk and Bella is loving that, trying to chase squirrels, sniffing everything. Later we were in the backyard and she got to meet the nextdoor neighbor’s dog, Trixie, and run around some with her. She also found a rabbit in my backyard and chased it (it got away) and has been trying to catch chipmunks too. She is chunky, but active. And she eats very daintily, taking her time. I can give her a treat and she just opens her mouth and lets me put it in, whereas Austin would almost take your fingers off (not on purpose). I think she will lose weight as long as I don’t leave food for her to graze on all day (which I can’t do anyway because Rosa would make quick work of it).
Bella had a couple of Facebook entries (January 14, February 7, and February 8) on the urgent adoptions page and lots of people were ecstatic that she was saved. One of the volunteers said I was a superstar and a few said I was a hero. Bella seems to think so too.