I have had many memories of the pets that I have had throughout my life. But my favorite memory is the story of how my family and I got Coco, our eight-year-old miniature poodle.
It all started back in 2009. Our old miniature poodle, Carmen, had just died of old age and we missed her terribly. After two or three months, Mom decided that she wanted another dog in her life, specifically a miniature poodle.
As an animal rescue fan, I thought it would be a good idea to get a dog from a shelter. We went to the Rappahannock shelter and the Prince William County shelter to search. Both shelters smelled like bleach. Dogs barked continuously, causing echoes in the kennel halls. Neither of the shelters had what we wanted so we left empty-handed.
We also checked an adoption event going on one Saturday morning at Petsmart. Things were a little quieter but the dogs were mostly hound dogs. None of us were keen on adopting a hound dog so again, we left without a dog.
Finally, we went to petfinder.com. Mom typed in the criteria for the dog she wanted. Miniature poodle. Female. Young adult. About one or two years old. I watched as the search results came up on our computer screen.
The first dog on our list was named Caramel. She was a little apricot miniature poodle, about three years old. Her eyes were a rich, chocolate brown. We learned that whenever she was excited, she would stand on her hind legs and wave her front paws. We found her charming so we sent in an application. Unfortunately, we found out later that she had already been adopted out.
The second dog we came across was Maisy Mae. Maisy was a small, maltese-poodle mix who had been surrendered by her owners because their landlord didn’t allow pets. She was eight years old and was a dark gray, almost black. We sent in an application and told that she was having a biopsy done on a lump that was found on her. The biopsy revealed that she had cancer. A dog with cancer would’ve meant big vet bills which Mom didn’t want to deal with so we didn’t adopt Maisy either.
The third dog on our list was Poochy. Poochy was a white poodle-terrier mix, surrendered because his owners were moving and couldn’t take him along. He was about seven years old and was neutered. I sent in an application and got in touch with the woman in charge of his adoption. We talked several times online and I thought we were going to bring him home but there was a problem. Poochy was yappy. Mom didn’t want a yappy dog so Poochy didn’t come home with us.
The fourth time was a charm. We continued our search and found Coco, a (then) six-year old brown miniature poodle living in a shelter in Prince George’s County. He had been surrendered because his owners could no longer care for him. We sent in an application and said some prayers that we would get him. A few days later, the shelter called us and said that before Coco could come home with us, everyone who lived at our house needed to come and meet him.
My stepfather Tony and I were the first to go and meet him. The trip from our house to the shelter took only about an hour. The weather was sunny and not too hot. Clouds drifted through a bright blue sky. As soon as we got there, one of the shelter workers took us to Coco’s cage. Coco had been brushed up. He looked very much like a typical miniature poodle. We took him out to the interaction pen in the back of the shelter. While we were out there, we discovered that he knew when to come when called and sit on command. This raised two green flags with us.
Mom and my sister, Allison, met Coco a few days after Tony and I visited the shelter. They told the shelter workers that they were interested in adopting Coco and wanted to bring him home. After this, we had to wait a few days for the adoption to be processed.
The next few days passed painfully slowly. The tension was as thick as peanut butter as we waited to find out whether we could bring Coco home. About a week after Mom and Allison visited the shelter, we got the call we had been hoping for. The adoption had been processed and Coco could come home with us!
Tony and I arrived at the shelter the next day. We brought along a leash to walk Coco and waited in the lobby while the shelter workers microchipped him and brought him out to us. After we waited for what seemed like an eternity, Coco came home and has been with us ever since.