Adopt, don’t shop for new best friend

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  • Jeni Moellenberndt
    Jeni Moellenberndt
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Anyone who knows me knows that I love my dogs a ridiculous amount, but it’s not just my dogs. I love every dog I’ve met along with all other manner of animal companions.
When William and I decided that we wanted to get a puppy of our own I knew that I wanted to adopt from one of our area shelters or find one on a Facebook group that needed a new home.
We searched for what felt like forever before we saw a picture of a tiny Dachshund with the littlest, spotted feet. I was in love and William brought Ruby home shortly after. Without going to a puppy-mill breeder or dropping hundreds of dollars I had the best roommate of my life.
After moving out from living with my dad and his rescue pup Gracie we found that Ruby seemed to be lonely without a friend during the day. 
We both waffled on the idea of another dog in an already busy schedule, but then it happened again. Every now and then we would both get on Pet Finder and just browse the available rescues. One night Will hands me his phone and I see a puppy that is almost identical to Ruby.
The next day we went out to meet the mystery mutt at a boarding place in Lincoln. He was a foster through Dolly’s Legacy, a Lincoln-based rescue. Little Bucky came home with us that same day.
Throughout the country, there are countless shelters and rescues with many that even specialize in certain breeds or more unique animals with companions that range from the newly born to seasoned seniors. 
What I found so wonderful about the experience was getting to bring these puppies home and seeing their personalities bloom as they became more and more confident and comfortable. 
I know many people talk about rescuing as saving a life and I truly believe that, but I find they do just as much for us. I can’t count how many times these pups have helped me laugh, get active and calm down. 
Some people are apprehensive about adopting a pet and I understand that, but there are plenty of young animals in shelters that can be trained by their new families and plenty of senior animals that have established personalities. Plus there is something that can’t be put into words when you look into the eyes of your new companion as they leave the shelter, as they find comfort in your home and as they finally settle into their new routine. 
Don’t live in a place that allows pets or have a busy schedule? Every shelter I have ever visited is always seeking volunteers to support and love the animals in their care. Don’t want to commit to a pet’s full life-span? Shelters are always seeking fosters for puppies, kittens and animals that don’t do well in the shelter environment. 
What I have found to be the ultimate plus-side to all of this is the uncountable moments of pure adorableness. Just check my phone and you’ll find hundreds of pictures and videos from napping to playing to literally just standing there. I can’t help it, they are too cute.
I truly hope that those of you in the area looking for a new best friend hop online, check out Pet Finder and the local shelters to not only bring joy and love to your life but to the life of a shelter animal as well.
JENI MOELLENBERNDT can be reached at features@ hamilton.net

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