They may be someone’s second choice, but they are first in line to find you.
Do you remember the first dog of your very own? I do. His name was Nicodemus (alias Nica). He was an unexpected, second chance shelter dog. He is the purpose for this article, and the reason for loving other dogs.
I was looking for a cute little “yippity-yap”, so I sought out a local pet store. Naive, I did not realize how many animals there are in shelters, merely waiting their chance for redemption. Homeless and on borrowed time, some never get another chance. Due to the ongoing surrender problems, and shelter overpopulation, there are many animals out there that are certainly not what you call first in demand. Far too many of these animals (of all kinds) are unfortunately abandoned, neglected, or worse, tormented by the hands of humans; consequential to decisions they have made.
For the moment, however, let’s talk about dogs.
Countless unwanted dogs are commonly known as “Mutt-Doodles” or “Mix-A-Poos." To my surprise, I came across just the right one for me. But, I didn’t know it at the time. When I saw him, I would’ve guessed he was somebody else’s dog. To convince myself that he was not clambering over his littermate to see me, I took all the other dogs out for a walk. I eyed the beagle in the corner, and smiled at the bulldog in the waiting room. I ignored Nicodemus’s attempts to frolic and open my pocketbook. I shooed him away when he tried to play with my ponytail and dismissed the idea of owning a herding breed. He was a hard-working black and white Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix. Not what I had in mind. I was critical of his markings, and turned my back on his loud yelps, heard from the narrow row of cages lined with other unpopular mongrels. “Elvis”—as they named him—wasn’t the puppy I imagined. What I didn’t realize was that he selected me for adoption.
So, I turned around and gave him a second glance.
I looked him straight in the eyes. He winced, licked his lips, and gave me a displaced yawn, as if embarrassed by the sudden attention. The audition was on, and he wanted to win the part in the performance. Instead, this silly beast won my heart. He was soon to play the leading role in how I view life.
When I told my puppy-dog that he was rescued on Nicodemus Road—the grateful path leading to the Baltimore Humane Society, he listened to me with intent. The name stuck.
With the inquisitive perk of his ears, I realized “Nicodemus” was no ordinary pet.
If it wasn’t for that close call at the shelter, I would not be able to write these words, nor help save other lives. With the life lessons that Nicodemus still teaches me, I aspire to develop stories that other people can identify with.
For nearly 14 years, my life was filled with devotion and unconditional love from my favorite friend, Nicodemus. Nica and I formed an inseparable bond. Because of this unique connection, I believe that there are others who experience similar alliances with their pet—no matter what the breed, or despite where they come from. This kind of bond may only come along once in a lifetime, or it may never come at all. I was one of the lucky few.
Because of a shelter dog named Nicodemus ‘Elvis’, I am on a mission to keep more dogs in loving homes. I continue the quest to gather insight about how a shelter animal can leave such a big impact on life. I meet several dog owners who share stories with me about their pets, but every once in awhile I encounter a true “dog person” that can recite the details of what life is like with their first, second dog.
Our beloved American Pet Magazine readers, we would like to hear from you. Who was first in line to rescue you? In 50 words or less, tell us your uncanny tale of how your second choice pet found you.
Christina Bournias resides in Michigan with her 3-pack; three new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christina champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.
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2012 © !woof Nicodemus™
July, 2012: American Pet Magazine | V1 Issue2, Page 7,9