A writer and his wife decide to adopt, and the Dog Wars begin

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hound dog.jpg

Greg was drawn to Ginger Spice, a redbone coonhound up for adoption at Heart of America Humane Society in Kansas City, KS. His wife was not.

Greg Kincaid wrote about shelter dogs in his novel A Dog Named Christmas, and after researching the book, was inspired to adopt one himself. He’s chronicling his adoption journey each week on the Petfinder blog. Read all his posts here.

Most of our pets wandered onto our farm
looking for dinner and then hung around for the next 80 dog years.

They picked us, and we cared for them because
they needed a home. A few showed up
attached to my wife, Michale Ann, or one of our kids, who was pleading, “Please … please … please, can I
keep him?”

I’m not good at “no,” so for
long periods
we’ve had bumper crops of pets. Until I
found Petfinder, I had never had the opportunity to engage
in a well thought-out selection process.

Michale Ann and I
haven’t had a “walk-on” for quite a few years now and we were down to only one
dog, a little dachshund named Ruthie who seems surgically attached to my
wife’s hip. With the exodus of our now-grown children, the house has grown still, particularly in the evening hours
and on weekends.

The idea that maybe I
should carefully choose just the right dog for me was a concept that made its
way from my subconscious and into A Dog Named Christmas. Todd, the main character,
spends hours at his local animal shelter, picking just the right
dog for him.

My wife
said that this was a clear manifestation of my latent desire to adopt a
dog. Translation: She wanted another


Greg’s wife preferred Sandy, a terrier at Lifeline Animal Placement and Protection in Wichita, KS.

Besides, she said, “How can you
write a book about adopting dogs and not adopt one yourself?” It’s possible. It’s called fiction. Did Jules Verne really take a journey to the
center of the earth?

But in this
particular case, I didn’t mind being bamboozled. She was right. I really did want a dog, but I
was adamant. It was going to be the dog
I wanted!

That’s how we became Petfinder
junkies. Having waited so long for the
privilege of choosing a dog, I wanted to be careful. We
spent weeks sifting through the pictures, reading the descriptions and really
thinking about this momentous choice.

wanted a dog of substance. I love to
hike, ride and jog on the trails that cut through the meadows and woods of our East Kansas
farm, so my dog should enjoy being outside as much as I do. I also wanted a dog who seemed, well,

like Ginger Spice, a redbone coonhound, seemed perfect to me.
I bet
Ginger could track down raccoons, sniff out escaped convicts and fight off the
worst of the Hell’s Angels, all before the first drop of morning coffee hit the
bottom of the pot. I e-mailed my wife Ginger’s profile. It didn’t go well. “The first
time you take her for a jog, she’ll run off. And do you know the size of the poop that will come out of that dog?”

Michale Ann, it seemed, had something
different in mind for me.

admittedly, her choice, Sandy, looks like a really fine dog, but my wife’s selection criterion was bothering me.
“Doesn’t he have just the cutest face? We can go get him tonight if you want!”

The Dog
Wars had begun.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Greg’s adoption story next Thursday.

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After writing about shelters, a novelist is moved to adopt