Monday, September 12, 2011

meet mr. higgins

One of the (far too many) items on our unofficial "to do when we move to Texas list" that was part of our self-torture during the job hunt process was to get a dog.  As you might remember from my previous experience volunteering at the animal shelter for karma yoga in Chicago, I fell in love with a small chihuahua mix that luckily was adopted to a different family.  I was already 99% sure that I wanted to go the rescue route, as we were not interested in a puppy, but that experience solidified it for me.  We were kind of stupid (again with the self-torture) and did a little bit of research before we moved down here but I started really looking at dogs when I was on my urban campout at Heather's house.  I found three that I was interested in inquiring about, two that were from private rescue groups and one from Dallas Animal Services (that I'd later find out was the pound).  One of the rescues called us on Adam's number fairly quickly but the other sent me the snarkiest email about how they prefer people that aren't in apartments.  I was semi-snarky in my reply back but not nearly as rude as I wanted to be because of Adam's guidance.  I just don't appreciate the judgment, as we live in a place that is almost twice as large as our condo in Chicago and people up there have HUGE dogs in tiny places.  But haters gonna hate.

Anyhoo, we ended up finishing the car buying process rather quickly on Tuesday because I am pretty darn decisive when I want to be and we happened to be in the neighborhood of Dallas Animal Services so I convinced Adam to go have a look.  It seems like it's a relatively new facility so it didn't look too bad when we pulled up.  However, I realized almost immediately upon entering that this was going to be a completely different experience than the posh private shelter I volunteered with in Chicago.  The dog I had seen online was called "Woody" on their website but the lady at the front desk had us sign in and said to go and look around for him.

I have never seen anything as sad as what we saw when we went to find him.  Thankfully, he was being kept in a nicer room with just one other dog (although there were three in his room on the day we picked him up) and he was close to the door we came in.  One of the workers came and leashed him for us but their play yard was being cleaned so we just hung out with him for a few minutes in an empty room.  When I volunteered, I kind of thought it was ridiculous that they wanted the 20 of us to basically just play with the animals for three hours but seeing the way he reacted to being alone with us in the room put it all together for me.  By spending time with the dogs in Chicago, they were hopefully more receptive to people coming to potentially adopt them.  Before we went into the room, we had to walk through what Adam called "the gauntlet", which was this totally insane room with cages and holding pens and more barking than I've ever heard in my life.  Little "Woody" didn't make a peep but he was so incredibly shy when we went in the room.  We just kept reaching our hands out so that he'd get used to our scent.  He was kind of yucky so we just pet him and talked him a lot.  We'd seen a couple of cuties around but there was something about this one that touched me, mostly because he seemed so fearful.  We did know that he was removed from his home situation because of animal cruelty but he never lashed out at us and by the time we left, he'd warmed up to us a bit.

We talked to the lady in charge, filled out the application and agreed that we'd come and see him each day that week to see how he reacted to us.  They wouldn't hold him for us but the front desk lady told us that he'd been there since May and she wasn't concerned that he'd go anywhere that week.  We also found out that he'd reached his allotted time in the adoption unit and would eventually be taken to the place at the pound where doggies go that haven't been adopted and I'm going to pretend that I don't know what happens there (so spay and neuter your pets, y'all.  Bob Barker's orders).

We drove back on Wednesday and got to be with him loose in the play yard.  He was so stinkin' cute and we knew he was our dog and made arrangements to pick him up the next day and take him to the hotel that night.  Our hotel was awesome and pet friendly.  Originally, we didn't want to bring him into two new environments in two days, but in hindsight, I'm so glad that we did.  It was a small place where we learned a lot about each other that night.

On Thursday, we picked him up and despite the fact that he had a mini-freakout and jumped out of the car in the parking lot of the pound, we took him to the hotel, got him all bathed and went on our first family walk together.  We had a yoga thing that night and he did just fine in our room in his crate.  We named him Higgins, after our local neighborhood tavern, not just because it's the best bar in Chicago, but because it was, at least to me, a representation of our neighborhood.  We knew the owner, his son and quite a few of the bartenders.  It's everything you could imagine in a Midwestern dive bar, complete with an AWESOME jukebox and standard random old dude regulars that show up every day.  It was more like our living room since there was always room for everyone and always cold beer.

Higgins has taken to life with us pretty darn well.  He's a 23 lb. terrier mix and in good health according to our vet.  He had a few accidents in the apartment on Friday but has been fine since the hoopla and craziness of moving has been over.  He hardly barks or gives us any trouble and watching his personality develop as the days go by has been really fun.  I just look at him when he's curled up sleeping and pray that he never remembers his past lives in his abusive home or at the pound.  I hope we will be all he ever knows as he ages and spends his life with us.  I feel so blessed that we found him and that he's adjusting well to us and our new home.

Higgy rocked his visit to the vet!

Sweet nametag and street legal Dallas pet license.

Blackhawks collar!

Passed out with Adam

Higgins tonight after two walks around Deep Ellum and playing all around the house.


  1. You made me get a bit misty eyed! I am so glad you rescued him. He is perfect in every way!

  2. Mr. Higgins is quite handsome. And I love that not only is his name meaningful to y'all, but also a tie to Chicago. Make new friends, but keep the old...
    We need to meet for lunch some day now that younare here! I work in uptown, just sayin'