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What Adoption Means to Me

Our Adventures with the Dog Who Chose Us

Photo by Woldai Wagner

Adoption Means Giving a Chance

Walking into the kennels at the shelter, this is the first sight we caught of Cosmo (then Sweetie). I recall thinking that she was the cutest dog I had seen in a long time, but she also broke my heart the moment I saw her. When her cage was approached, her first instinct wasn’t to bark, to run away, or even growl. Her first instinct was to sit there. To watch you meticulously, wondering, “Is this someone I can trust?” “Will these people get me out of this cage?” “Will they love me?”

After spotting her, I immediately asked my husband to go grab someone who could help us get her into the meet and greet room. I was sure that if I didn’t stand by her, someone else would’ve snagged her up before we even had the chance to say hello. Now looking back at pictures of her compared to now, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. She was covered with scratches, was losing her fur, and her head was at least three sizes too big for her body. I think it was her loving eyes that helped me see past all of that.

When we got her to the meet and greet room, Cosmo still stared at us. She looked up with her large, brown eyes and rarely blinked. She seemed confused, but also seemed desperate for someone to love her. To accept her into their home.

We quickly learned that Cosmo had been moved from a kill shelter in Alabama to a shelter in Michigan. This was her chance to thrive. She was here for a reason. So, we took the leap and brought her home with us. This was not only her chance to find love, but our chance as well.

Adoption Means Experiencing Sadness

Many people believe that sadness shouldn’t be felt, that avoiding sadness means having a successful life. To me, if sadness has been avoided, then you have not truly lived. To experience true greatness, to achieve true happiness, you have to experience the sadness to help you get there, to help you truly appreciate the happy times.

The image above is Cosmo about a week after we got her home. At the humane society, she was 17 pounds at seven months old. Because of her size at that time, they estimated she would be no bigger than 25 pounds and guided us on how much to feed her. 

We took her to the vet, and during our first visit they agreed with the humane society. So, we followed the guidelines but quickly started to realize no true weight gain was occurring. We saw her ribs, we saw her weakness, and quickly made another appointment with the vet. Soon, they came to the conclusion that she was not supposed to be a small dog, but instead was extremely underweight. 

My husband, the king of Google, researched the best pet food that money could buy. We began feeding her supplements and took her to weekly vet appointments to keep close track of her weight gain. Slowly but surely she was becoming a dog again. She still had to battle ear infections and worms but she started to seem happy. She started to feel love.

Cosmo also didn’t know how to play when we first brought her home. She didn’t know what her toys were. She tried biting anything from our fingers, our phones, and anything else within her reach but with the help of the replacement game, she learned quickly. Now she has mountains of toys to choose from and never lets us forget to play with her each day.

Adoption Means a New Best Friend

Since day one, Cosmo has been my ride or die. She’s consistently followed me around. At first, she would stop and stare from a distance. She wanted to make sure we were okay people, that we weren’t going to hurt her. Then, she would inch a little closer, but still staring. She didn’t want to miss a moment of our movement. She didn’t want to let her guard down too much. Eventually she would sit on the same couch as us, but even then, if we moved one inch closer than she was comfortable with, she would get up and move. Fast forward to now and I can’t even use the bathroom without her following me. She jumps on my lap every chance she gets, and she takes up an entire half of the couch, sometimes with her head, legs or tail draped over my lap.

Cosmo is living a dog’s dream. And that’s what she deserves. Dogs want love, but even more than that they want to give love, and I’m so blessed that we get to experience her love and give her ours.

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What Adoption Means to Me
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