Casey's Note: Lauren has had the advantage of working in-depth in animal rescue, most recently with Best Friends Animal Society, one of the nation's largest animal rescue networks. She has a unique insight into the experience of dog rescue and has seen first hand the effects of the shelter system on dogs, but also the wonderful impact that a rescue dog can make in the lives in their new forever family.
NAME: Lauren & Eric Green
DOG(S) NAME: Tiny
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington
How did you come to find your rescue dog? I saw Tiny at a big adoption event in Los Angeles. I had no intention of adopting, I was just there to say 'hi' and make donations.
At the end of the second day, when the event was shutting down I saw Tiny being moved to the truck to head back to the shelter and I knew I had to do something. I called my husband and told him I was bringing a dog home!
Eric wasn't at the event with me when I adopted Tiny. We had no intention of adopting a dog while still living in our little condo, but the second they met could only be described as the kind of magical kismet you see in the likes of The Notebook. Tiny and Eric have been inseparable ever since. I had to quickly accept my position as third wheel, but I'm happy to have played Cupid in connecting their twin flames.
What made you decide to rescue a dog as opposed to buying one? To be completely transparent, growing up my family always had a dog and it was always a dog my parents bought from a breeder.
My parents were raised under the school of thought that you know exactly what you're getting when you buy a dog from a breeder. It wasn't until I was in high school my neighbor adopted a pit bull from a local rescue and I started doing my own research and began educating myself about how important it is to adopt from a shelter or rescue, debunking the myth that you somehow get a superior pet if you buy her/him. It's quite the opposite actually. And not to worry, my parents are now shelter/rescue advocates proving the impact a little bit of education can make. (They actually recently adopted a bully breed pup!)
If you and your pup had an entire day to do only fun things together, what would your day look like? Tiny's a superstar traveler! Wherever we go, she goes, so she's been nearly everywhere along the west coast. But since we're still pretty new to Washginton having moved from Los Angeles just a few months ago, this special day might have to include some touristy stops for the scrapbook like Pike Place Market, the Freemont Troll and every filming location of the iconic 10 Things I Hate About You.
There is a little lake near our house that Tiny loves, so we for sure would have to go there! She's a super mellow senior, so she's not into swimming or long walks, but she likes to cuddle on a picnic blanket and people watch while sharing snacks.
After all that excitement, we would come home for cuddles on the couch as we catch up with The Bachelorette (Tiny's favorite)!
If you had two magic minutes where your dog could understand everything you said, what would you tell her/him? I think she already knows this, but we would want to tell Tiny how special she has made our lives and while we don't know what the first 9+ years of her life were like, we will stop at nothing to ensure she has nothing less than the sparkliest golden years. She gives our family everything we never knew we needed, and now we can't imagine ever living without. She is our family, she is love and she is so loved.
What would be your dog's theme song? I want to say Elton John's Tiny Dancer for obvious reasons, but really it would have to be Beyonce's Diva because, well, she can be a bit of a diva sometimes.
What do you want the world to know about rescuing a dog? I can go on for days about this, but for starters I would say when you're considering welcoming a dog to your family, do your research. Like anything in life, once you know better, you do better.
Once you know the negative impacts buying a dog from a breeder has and the often inhumane practices breeders use just to make a buck, I would like to hope it would be enough to encourage most people to adopt from a shelter or rescue. An adopted dog comes to you up-to-date on vaccines and is spayed/neutered and microchipped, so just with those few important factors, you know more about a shelter/rescue dog than you ever would a dog from a breeder.
I think a lot of folks who are looking to welcome a dog to their family typically have a specific breed in mind, which leads them to buying from breeders. In the same amount of time one takes to conduct a simple internet search for a specific breed of dog to buy, they could just as easily do that same amount of research and find that exact breed of dog in a local shelter or even at a breed-specific rescue. A great resource to start your breed-specific search is petharbor.com.
It's unfortunate, but animal rescues can often get a bad rap for requiring lengthy adoption applications and conducting overly invasive adopter screenings. And while each rescue organization can screen adopters as they see fit, I strongly encourage potential adopters not to give up if they run into some adoption hurdles. Go directly to the local city or county animal shelter, check out other rescues (there are TONS!) Just don't give up because there is a dog whose life is on the line waiting for you. And trust me, the rumors are true: There is no love that compares to the love of a rescue/shelter pet. You save their life and they save yours.
Photography: Madison Stringfellow // @heystringfellow