Love at First Bark

People say you’re a cat person or a dog person. Well, I’m calling b.s. on that. Because I’m not either. I’m both. And when my cat 9-0 passed away three weeks ago, every time I walked into my bedroom I felt a hole in my heart. And I wanted a new fur baby to hold and love right away. No wait, I didn’t want one, I NEEDED one. Like within a week I was ready for a new kitty. I know what you’re thinking. It’s way too soon. That’s what my hubby said.

HUBBY: It’s too soon. We can’t replace him, honey.

I tried to explain that I knew we could never replace him, but that I was ready for a new furry little guy to hug. But my hubby wasn’t ready, and that’s okay. Everyone grieves in different ways, and I knew he needed some time. So I did what any good wife would do. I said I understood… and then I started texting him pictures of adorable pets all day long.

TEXT: Look at this one, honey!!


TEXT: OMG, how sweet is this guy?!!!


TEXT: I meannnnn, how can you not fall in LOVE with these faces?!


And then, it happened. I went to one of the shelters and I fell in love. Instantly.


She was friendly and cuddly and sweet and even let me hold her right away, and she looked a lot like my kitty who had passed away. So I texted my hubby.

ME: Look at her!!!!! She is soooooo cute.

HUBBY: She looks just like 9-0.

ME: She looks way different in person.

HUBBY: We can’t replace 9-0.

ME: I’m not trying to replace him! I just know this breed is really nice.

HUBBY: It’s too soon.

ME: But she might not be here when it’s time.

After begging him over and over and over again until his ears were bleeding and he finally realized I wasn’t going to stop, he agreed to go meet 9-0 Junior. Just kidding. Her name is Cactus.

So as soon as we picked the kids up from school, we jumped in the car to go see her. And we all went into the kitty room to play with Cactus and pretty much every kitty in there, and the woman who was working there told me I should go ahead and fill out an adoption application so we could adopt as soon as we’re ready.

HUBBY: We’re not ready yet.

ME: It’s just so they have it on file and can check our references.

But there it was. Right there on the first line of the application. Which animal would you like to adopt? So I wrote down Cactus. 

HUBBY: It was just a generic application, right?

ME: It made me write down a name, but don’t worry. We don’t have to decide until later.

Inside I was cheering because I KNEW we were going to get Cactus. But there was something I didn’t know. We weren’t.

As we were walking out of the shelter it was closing time and we were literally the last ones in the lobby. Well, except for this little guy. 


I had seen his picture on their website and ignored it. I had walked right past him on the way in. I had made a beeline for the cats. But as I was leaving, there he was staring at me through the glass, and our eyes locked, and I instantly felt a connection.

No way, we are NOT ready for a dog. We came for a cat. Cats are easy. They don’t wake you up at night, they pee in a box, you can leave them for a couple of nights if you go away. And we had our paperwork in to get Cactus. So I kept on walking out the front door. 

But right before the door closed and locked behind me, I stopped it with my hand…

ME: Wait a sec, honey. Come back in and look at this little guy.

And I brought my hubby back in to see him. Raulfie.


HUBBY: Awww, he’s cute.

ME: Isn’t he? 

But like I said, they were closing so we left and went home. And as we were sitting there watching TV, we started to talk.

ME: So whatta you think? Should we get Cactus? 

HUBBY: Hmmmm, the idea is growing on me. 

ME: Maybe we should get Raulfie too.

HUBBY: Which one was Raulfie? The tabby cat?

ME: Noooo, the dog.

Was this crazy? I mean lots of people in our area have dogs but most of them get them from breeders and they know what they are. Goldendoodles and Bernedoodles and Labradoodles and Black Labs and Chocolate labs and they’re all sooooo adorable. We don’t know WTF this dog is. Or how big he’ll get. Or what his temperament will be. Or where he came from. Or really anything. No wait, that’s not true, I knew something. Actually, I knew two things:

  1. I knew he was sitting there right now in a cage all alone.

  2. And I knew that I felt a connection the second I looked into his eyes. 

So the second the shelter opened the next day we went back to meet Raulfie.


OMG was he was sweet. Ridiculously sweet. 

We still didn’t know what he was or who he’d be or how big he’d grow, but we didn’t care. We immediately knew we couldn’t leave Raulfie there. He was going home with us.

We thought about getting Cactus too, we realllllllly thought about it and went back and forth and back and forth, but we finally decided it wouldn’t be right. We’d have our hands full with a puppy and after we got a handle on that, we could come back and get Cactus in a few weeks if he was still there. But he won’t be. By the time we came back to pick up Raulfie, Cactus had gone home with another family. Yayyyy! Two happily ever afters!!

I always hoped I could find a shelter dog. And I did. Kind of. Because really if you think about it, I didn’t just find him. He found me. Us. 


And I figured something out. Rescue dogs aren’t called that because we rescue them. They’re called that because when you bring them home, you rescue each other. 

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There are 13 comments for this article
  1. Rachael at 9:30 am

    Yep, I had the same concerns. Then I broke down and we got Frankie and wondered what I was worried about. And then, my husbands co-worker found a litter abandoned on the side of the road, so now we have two. I adore my mutts and they help keep me sane some days!

  2. Gloria Elacqua at 9:48 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for rescuing and not going to a breeder!! You saved not only one, but two because the shelter now has room to take in another. Please spread the word about rescue (much like you did in this blog!). Best of luck with the new family member!

  3. Lynn at 9:49 am

    So very true. All of my dogs when I was growing up were rescues of some sort. When we get a dog (hopefully when my girls turn 7 next year), that one will be a rescue, too.

  4. amy at 10:02 am

    SO happy for you!!! There’s nothing like puppy love with an actual puppy. And I’m a firm believer that if you actually meet the animal and love him, you’re good. Not that he won’t be a giant pain the a*s and you won’t ask him why he can’t pee in a box when he gets you up at some ungodly hour but you will love him more than you ever dreamed possible. And there is nothing like the love between kids and their dogs! It’s beautiful and such a gift to them.

    And here’s my one practical tip — if you require your kids to walk the dog, whoever complains about walking the dog has to walk it next time. 🙂


  5. Nicole at 10:02 am

    i couldn’t live without any of my rescues. I have a dog (second one) and two cats now. One passed back on May 11th of this year. I understand completely how you feel. I wanted a new fur baby within days. knowing my old man could never be replaced but… my husband is and probably never will be ready for another cat in the house. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. Enjoy the puppy days, they go quick just like the baby days. My baby is 5 now and it does not seem possible.

  6. Jen Mierisch at 10:44 am

    Congratulations. He is adorable. We have a shelter dog too, and while she drives me up a wall sometimes (I am not a dog person), she is one of the sweetest and most loyal animals I have ever known. We have a shelter cat also (who looks a lot like Cactus actually) and he is also amazing. Best of luck with your new fur baby!

  7. Dana at 3:59 pm

    So I’m going to go ahead and say it…now there is a stigma for getting dogs from breeders. It’s so maddening. We happened to know someone having puppies of the exact kind of dog we needed/wanted as my husband has allergies. He is the first dog I have owned myself and I fell in love with him from the moment we picked him up. I have always been a dog person…not a cat person at all. But I never realized how much of a dog person I am. I adore my dog to pieces (maybe more than my kids…haha) but he has been so good for my kids too. It’s a win all around. I’m calmer and happier and they are too. Congrats on the new puppy! So glad you found him!

    • Karen at 5:24 pm

      Dana, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a dog from a GOOD breeder. One that does the appropriate health testing for their breed, supports their breed rescue, and will take your pup back at any time should your situation require it. It is the ‘back yard’ breeders you want to avoid. The ones that do no health or temperament testing, and are just in it to make some money.

    • BabySideburns at 9:08 am

      Dana, I think any pet is such a HUGE decision, that you have to get what’s right for your family. If that’s a rescue, it’s a rescue. If that’s a hypoallergenic dog from a breeder, then that’s fine too. I did what is right for me, and you did what is right for you. It’s like parenting. We need to do what’s right for ourselves. Someone’s always gonna judge.

  8. Dana at 3:34 pm

    Agreed. And I’m not saying you are giving a stigma. In general there is now. I actually sometimes feel bad saying that my dog is from someone who bred her own dog although I don’t really consider her a breeder because she only did it twice and isn’t going to do it anymore because it’s not in the best interest of a dog to do so more than two times. I just mean in the general world. So you get it with your kids whether you do certain things or not and then you get an animal and it’s the same thing. I’m really happy that your family found a forever friend that makes everyone happy. And is so stinking cute. I would not of been able to leave the shelter without him

  9. trowenaSuzanne at 6:31 am

    He looks like a beagle spaniel mix (we’ve got beagles and a beagle x cocker) – the spots on Moony’s nose make me think spaniel, otherwise he’s very hound-like.

    I enjoyed your blog post and scrolling through your facebook page nodding in agreement about house rules not lasting (it is so much cuddlier having them on the couch, and the sand, leaves, pebbles and dead frogs can be shaken off the throw cover quite easily!).

  10. Ann B. at 12:41 pm

    Springer mix! I have 2 springers and a springer mix, I adore the breed. I admit, the middle dog I got from a breeder, but the other 2 are shelter dogs. One of my shelter dogs even came with her papers though, so she was from a breed originally.

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