For Valentine's Day this year, my wife, Kim, and I decided to do something special. Rather than getting all dressed up, going out for a fancy dinner, and celebrating our love for one another, we elected to share our love with someone in need instead. Since both of us are avid dog lovers, we chose to spend Valentine's Day fostering a dog from the county shelter!
Despite the best efforts of staff and volunteers alike, shelter dogs spend far too much time in their kennels, which is detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. Just getting them out for a few hours to walk, site see, socialize, snack, and feel loved can make a world of difference in their lives!
So instead of flowers, candy hearts, and Hallmark Cards, Kim and I headed to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to foster an orphaned dog for the day. They brought us a sweet Chinese Shar-Pei/Pit Bull mix named Miles. He was very excited to get out of his kennel and couldn't stop wiggling and dancing all around as the staff member walked him over to our car. Despite his high level of energy, he had soft and inviting eyes and immediately greeted us with high-paws and kisses.
Photo by Good Vibes Photography
After a quick hello, we loaded Miles into the car and began our day's adventure. As we drove away from the shelter, he was curious about us, the car, and all of his new surroundings. Miles bounced from window to window to see what was happening, certain that he might be missing out on something if he was facing the wrong way.
Our first stop was at a local park. We figured that after being cooped up for so long, Miles definitely needed to burn some energy. Once out of the car, he was rearing to go, so I took him for a run to the other side of the park and back. Though I was pretty winded, Miles still had plenty left in his gas tank, so we proceeded to walk him around the park 2 or 3 more times before sitting down to enjoy some snacks.
Photo by Good Vibes Photography
After spending an hour or so at the park, we packed up and headed over to Pet Planet for a special surprise...a Happy Tails Barkery cupcake! Miles couldn't contain himself and devoured the whole thing before we could even get a picture, but he sure did show his appreciation afterwards with hugs and kisses.
As it started to get later in the afternoon, it was almost time to return Miles to the shelter. The mere thought of him having to go back to his kennel at the county shelter broke my heart. He was so happy spending the day with us that I just couldn't tease him like that. Kim and I talked it over and decided that we'd like to adopt him. Obviously, we could not make this decision without first doing a meet and greet with our own dogs, Mia and Nogi, so we asked the shelter if we could do an overnight foster and they gave us permission to bring Miles home for the night.
Despite some anxiousness from all of the dogs, the initial introduction went very well. Our dogs were excited to have a new playmate and Miles was respectful of their domain. After they all spent some quality time in the yard, it was obvious to Kim and I that Miles would fit right in with our pack!
We made the decision right then and there that Miles would be joining our family. The next morning, we called the shelter to let them know that the dog introduction went well and that Miles had found his forever home. After completing the adoption paperwork, we renamed Miles (the name given to him at the shelter) to Ringo...a new name to signify his new life with us!
In just a few weeks time, Ringo has settled in nicely, making himself right at home, and bonding with the whole family. He is now living his best life and fully embracing the opportunity to be himself and know that he is loved. Though we were not planning on adopting a new family member when we broke from the traditional Valentine's Day hoopla, we are so glad that we did! And now Ringo (and all of his wrinkles) will be our forever Valentine!