Editors Note: We recently received an update from Mary-Margaret Whitten about the two dogs she has adopted from the Richmond SPCA. We are thrilled to hear that both Andy and Doc are doing so well with their new family. The following was contributed by Andy and Doc's adopter, Mary-Margaret Whitten.
I grew up with dogs. There has been only one eight-month period in my 30 years of life when I didn't have or live with a dog. I was a freshman at JMU, and I remember missing my dogs and longing for a dog of my own so badly it almost hurt. I grew up with labs mostly and one Dalmatian.
I got my first dog, Emma, immediately after my freshman year of college, and she has been my best friend ever since. She just turned 12 last week, and I cannot imagine life without her. She has taught me more about love and living than I ever imagined possible from a dog. She is my best friend and constant companion.
Three years ago I met my boyfriend Grant. He had just put down his 13-year-old dog who he got the summer after his freshman year in college. He missed her like crazy and always talked about adopting a new dog. About two and a half years ago he expressed his need to adopt a dog but worried it wasn't the right time for it. He feared he wouldn't have enough time for a new dog. I remember telling him that there's never a good time to get a dog. A person just has to do it and adapt their life to fit the new dog.
The next day I was at work and I got a text message that read "look what I got!" with a picture of "Watson" (now "Doc Watson;" we call him "Doc") in his kennel. He was a 6-month-old Walker Hound mix. His birthday happened to be the day Grant and I met. I took this to be a good sign. I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to get off work to meet my new friend.
Recently Grant and I bought a bigger house with a bigger yard that Doc adores. He spends as much time as possible exploring the wooded area back there. He's extremely playful and constantly begging Emma, whose mobility is declining due to advanced hip dysplasia, to play with him. Because we love Doc so much, and we now have the room, we decided it was time to get Doc a friend.
One Friday night my sister texted me the picture of a homeless dog her friend had rescued asking me (somewhat jokingly) did we want to adopt him. The dog looked like Doc to a tee. I was surprised when Grant entertained my thoughts on adopting him. Unfortunately the dog ended up being too sick for us to properly care for him, and we were unable to adopt. However, this started the ball rolling. I woke up Saturday and looked at the Richmond SPCA website, and we decided to go take a look. As we were walking out the door I grabbed a collar and a leash and stuffed them in my bag "just in case."
We were immediately drawn to "Vincent" now "Andy". He is a Treeing Coon Hound mix and was hanging out in one of the viewing rooms. His big brown eyes begged us to come in. Jessica B. introduced us to him and gave us all the information we needed to make an informed decision. She literally spent hours with us going over his history and some of the issues he was having as a guest at the Richmond SPCA. After about two hours I said I thought we should just take a spin around the kennels to make sure we were making the right choice.
After meeting one more dog, for a grand total of ten minutes, I knew - I needed Andy. And he needed us. It's not often that the first dog you encounter is so perfectly matched to you that you cannot walk away. Despite my fears, I couldn't wait to get him home and introduce him to the rest of the gang.
Having Doc prepared us so well for having Andy and acclimating him into our lives was easier than I think it might have been for most. It was definitely a challenge and still often is but every day gets better and better.
Andy is the sweetest, most loving and definitely smartest hound I have ever met. The other dogs love him, and he and Doc are inseparable at times. It is hard to capture in writing how much joy he brings to our lives.
Andy loves living in a house. He doesn't like to be cold and is definitely a creature who enjoys comfort. I love being able to make this happen for him. Having grown up with mostly pure bred dogs, I don't think I'll ever have another. There is something so different about saving a dog's life from picking a puppy from a litter. This is not meant to put down pure breeds - I have one, and I love all dogs. I just really love the feeling of making a difference, and I love these two boys more than anything.
Thank you Richmond SPCA for making this possible, and thank you Jessica for working so hard with us to make Andy's adoption a reality.
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