Our Shelter Dog, Max: Celebrating National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

It all started with a promise.

I promised my kids that after we moved, we would get another dog. Our first shelter dog, who was also my first baby, had died a couple of years earlier. I was so heartbroken and I just couldn’t imagine loving another dog as much as I loved her.

But my kids were nervous about our upcoming move. So I promised that a dog would be part of the deal.

Even before we officially moved into our new home, we were looking at local shelters. We found a couple of dogs that would have fit our – MY – requirements. After nursing a 70 pound dog through several knee surgeries, I told my kids that our next companion couldn’t be more than 40 pounds. And doubtful that I had the energy for a puppy, I was looking for a dog that was 1-3 years old.

Our perfect dog was 800 miles away.

After looking for a couple of months without any luck, my son found a beautiful dog listed on Petfinder.com. I sent a text to the contact number only to find out that the dog had already been adopted. But the woman said she had others.

She sent me a picture of a Newfoundland (gorgeous, but too big for us) and several other dogs. Then she sent me a picture of an an Australian Shepherd mix.

“He’s in a foster home with other dogs, cats, and the couple has children,” she texted.

This sounded perfect! But I had never adopted a dog from a foster home. So I asked her how we go about visiting him.

“Well,” she said. “He’s in Dallas.”

Considering that we were in Denver, this was a problem.

It turns out that the shelter here in the Mile High City partnered with one that’s in Dallas and that they had transports coming back and forth all of the time. “In fact,” she said. “We have one leaving tomorrow.”

“What happens if he’s not the right fit?” I asked.

“Then we take him back. DO NOT bring him to another shelter.”

A quick decision was made. Max made it on that transport and we took ownership of him in the parking lot of a Target. In the meantime, I was getting texts from his foster “dad” that if for some reason we didn’t want Max, he would get in his car from Dallas and drive up and get him.

“My wife and I were so close to adopting him ourselves!” he said.

Meant to be.

As more of Max’s story unfolded, we found out that he had been rescued when police broke up a dog fighting ring in Texas. He was brought to a high-kill shelter and then taken in by this foster system. The family had had him for four months.

We’ve had Max for two years and I still get texts from his foster dad, asking how he’s doing. He is my favorite co-worker, sitting with me as I work from home and nudging me when I need to get out and get some air. Max runs around with the kids and is quick to curl up next to them and watch a movie. He makes us laugh every day and is the first one we turn to when we need a hug.

We love our shelter dog!