Cheerios are Food From Heaven

So my dog loves Cheerios. Yes, Cheerios. The most exciting part of the day for him is to come inside after a potty walk, and sit calmly (or as calmly as an excited puppy can) while I remove his leash, and then throw him some Cheerios, one by one. It’s a fun reward, really, because I get to watch him chase them all over the living room… haha! And it’s taught him to be calm when he comes in from outside (twice a day instead of Cheerios, he gets a “cookie”- a milk bone).

I guess I should back up and tell you a little more about how I got my dog. The day that I had my surgery (for my miscarriage), a dear friend called my mother asking her if she knew anyone who wanted a dog… the lady implied that the dog would be perfect for me. I had been considering getting a dog for months now, but wanted to wait until January or February, when Christmas Puppies tend to start growing up, and families tend to put them in a shelter. However, the story of sweet Echo gripped my heart, and I had to have my baby. Echo used to have a family. We don’t know who the family was, but we know that he came to the kennel house trained, aware of the command “sit,” and crate trained. He’s very calm, but playful. We also don’t know why his family decided to take him to a shelter, but our guess is one of two things: the first is the economy. Animals are expensive- people just cannot afford food, grooming, and medical treatments for animals these days. The other possibility we’ve considered is that they had to move suddenly, to a place that wouldn’t allow dogs, and no one else could help them out. Regardless, poor Echo was going to be put to sleep, because he had no home.

There is a lady in the area who works a dog shelter, and her job is to find animals who are about to be put down, and rescue them. The dog rescue has no central set of kennels, but instead keeps each and every dog with a loving foster family until it is adopted (or, until a foster family decides to add the animal to their permanent family- it’s rare, but it happens).

Echo, whose foster family had named him Dandy (since his real name is unknown), had him for two weeks. That’s when my family friend found out about him, and started making calls. The day after my surgery, I went up to meet my wonderful little boy. He immediately ran to me, and we instantly bonded. My mother and I had discussed that if I liked him, I would tell them that I wanted him, but ask if they could keep him until Christmas. Instead, what happened, is I asked to have him right away. His foster family said he could keep his sweatshirt, which he loved to wear on his potty walks especially, but that he had grown very attached to. He ran over, grabbed his sweatshirt in his teeth, walked over to my lap, set the sweatshirt down in it, and then laid down in my lap, as if to say “Okay, mommy, I’m ready to go home now! I’m all packed!” So that’s exactly what happened- we went home. Echo has been so good since we arrived home with him a few days ago.

He’s very playful when it’s time to be playful, and he’s also a couch potato when I need to rest. He is completely housebroken, so I don’t have to train him (as I would if I had gone to a pet store). He has good bladder control- we went out at 12 last night before bed, and then he went to sleep and did not have an accident AT ALL, even though we didn’t get him taken out until 7am (when we had both woken up for the same reason- to go potty!). So as long as I wake up once during the night/early morning and take him out, he is perfectly fine. Thinking I had slept past when I intended to take him out (around 6am), I did look around the house for an accident (even checking under beds!) just so I would know so I could clean it up before it stank- there is NO accident anywhere. He held everything perfectly.

He came with all of his shots, he is neutered, and he was recently groomed. Mind you, all of this is included in the adoption fee, so I did pay for it, but had I gone to a pet store, I would have paid $400-$700 for the dog, and at least an additional $200 for the surgery, shots, and everything. As it stands, here’s the money I’ve spent on Echo:

1) Adoption Fee- $200.00 (includes shots, surgery, eye and ear treatments, heartworm testing- negative, grooming)
2) Dog Food- $8.95
3) Dog Bowl- $10.15 (more expensive because I bought the self-feeding kind, where I can put in enough for about a week, and then he eats when he desires- in the long run, these tend to save money, as there isn’t any “wasted” food- like if you use a dish each day and it goes uneaten and starts to mold or go stale)
4) Water Bowl- $10.15 (more expensive because I bought a self-watering bowl)
5) Large Box of Milk Bones- $5.00 (best value in the store)
6) Stuffed toy (known as Echo’s “baby”)- $1.15
7) Small Chewy Bat- free (given as a gift by Echo’s sweet Uncle Jeff)
8) Dental Bones (for bad breath and teeth health)- $3.65 for two
9) Christmas gift of several chew toys and a ball- $4.00
10) Box of Cheerios- $2.45 

So far, I haven’t even spent $250.00, which is FAR less than I’d have spent just for the actual DOG at a pet store, and this one comes completely trained and ready. Plus, this one was at risk of being put to sleep- the dog rescue literally saved his life. I just feel that if you’re wanting a dog, especially for the holidays, give adoption a chance- most of the dogs that are up for adoption are completely normal, non-agressive dogs who have never done a bad thing in their life, but are put in a situation where they are losing their lives because their family lost their job, their home, or just their ability to care for him/her anymore. It’s not fair for them to lose their lives because they have done nothing wrong, but people cannot take care of them anymore.

I love Echo more than I think I could ever love a puppy from a pet store, and he loves me already, like a mom and a rescuer- he is so affectionate, and was even the first time I met him. He is a perfect pet, and a perfect friend.

If you’re interested in finding out about dog adoption in the Kansas City area, please check out lldogrescue.org. If you’re not in the KC area, I urge you to look into dog adoptions in YOUR area, particularly before you look at going to a pet store.

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