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September 16, 2022

Why Not Me? Adopt Simone


I am Simone. I am here. I am waiting. I’m still young into life. I am sad, and I’m withdrawing. I am giving up on finding you. I am living in a world too noisy. Every day I watch another puppy or dog being walked to a car outside this shelter. They get in, and they never come back.

No one is showing up for me, and now I just want to lie here in my space and sleep…

She didn’t even want to walk with me on Monday afternoon. So, we spent time in the small fenced enclosure by the shelter pond. She lowered her head, pushing it gently into my chest. I massaged her sleek, soft body, cooed and hummed, and told her how much love there was for her.

It was true. Simone has been waiting so long for her forever home that staff is all coming to know her. When I was walking toward the door for her walk, she recognized the kennel supervisor.

She stopped, turned toward her, pulling at her leash. I yielded, and followed her over.

I just love her, the kennel supervisor smiled and hugged her.

Simone is a seven-year-old smallish black-and-white female mix. She has some American Staffordshire Terrier in her, and a handful of other fabulous qualities from other breeds, for just the right amount of intelligence. Her energy is calm and quiet, her demeanor, gentle and soft, an energy intensely welcoming in an angry world.

Soothing, even. It’s what made me want her, but our alpha female won’t accept another female into our three-dog-pack.

I’m sorry, the shelter trainer said as I led Smudges away.

He was right, and I knew without him saying so. I walked back to my husband waiting under the tree with our other two dogs, for a meet-and-greet that wasn’t going to happen.

Since then, I’ve been watching to see her adoption status, taking her for walks she doesn’t seem to want to go on, and feeling torn with anguish and longing unsatisfied. Each time we prepare for a walk in the woods behind the shelter, she strains at the lead towards the parked cars in the lot. Frequently, when she witnesses a person walking their dog and she sees them jumping into the car, she strains even harder, standing her ground, watching until they drive away.

Why not me? Her brown eyes plead. Why do I have to STAY here?

I can no more alleviate her longing than I can expose her to a lifetime of Smudges’ alpha female, steroid-infused demeanor.

I knew when I signed up to volunteer at my local shelter, that there would be opportunities for emotional attachment to certain dogs. Particularly, the sensitive females, who suffer the harms of abandonment, confusion, sadness and longing. I signed up also feeling the need to adopt a friend for our own disabled dog, Willie Grommit, who suffers his own longing for a friend. Smudges and Charlie, our Southern rescues, freeze him out of their reindeer games and bonded cliques, and his playful needs go unmet.

Running into my very real limitations with the boundless abundance of emotions is one of the most challenging experiences of trying to help homeless dogs. In a time when American citizens are routinely dumping their beloved pets at the shelter for the challenges of life uncertain, I’m bound to meet even more. I have to find a way to resolve the longing to alleviate their very real suffering, with my own very real limitations.

I’m just not there, yet.

Maybe when Simone gets to jump into her new person’s car, and I get to stand and watch her disappear into the horizon, mouth open and tongue hanging out, I will get to feel the relief for which I long.

Until the next long-term canine guest, that is.

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Denise Boehler  |  Contribution: 17,490