Could the dog who’s all wrong be the right one for Greg?

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Greg Kincaid is the author of A Dog Named Christmas,
a novel about the power of pet adoption. He has been blogging for
Petfinder about his and his wife’s quest to adopt the perfect dog. Read all his posts here.

seal boy.jpg

Lab mix Seal Boy is adoptable at T.A.R.A. in Kansas City, MO

calm indifference caused the battle lines in the Dog Wars to tilt in my
favor. “I guess we can’t agree, so we’ll
just pass on a dog for now” brought my wife Michale Ann straight to the bargaining table. We framed a four-part truce. Its terms:

A) We
would get a dog that was big enough to navigate a hay field without a
B) A scruffy, cute face would not be the single deciding factor in
choosing a dog.
C) We would take our time, look at lots of dogs, and make a
careful decision.
D) We’d spent the last 25 years raising kids, so we would
stay away from puppies, opting instead for a wise and mature personality.

per the terms of the truce, we both combed Petfinder for the next few days and
tried to get a feel for the look and size of the dog we might be able to agree
upon. I had a hound-looking dog in mind, but Michale Ann seemed
pulled in another direction — really, just about any other direction. I stuck to my guns for a few more days and
finally she made a sneak attack to nudge me off my hound fixation.

“What about Seal Boy?”


wrote a book about a black Lab. Seems like destiny to me.”


could pick him up tomorrow.”

would like to move a little slower than that.”

be gone by the weekend and you’ll be sorry.”

repeated the same dialogue every evening for a week with many more dogs.

Finally we agreed that it was time to
go the local shelters for a personal inspection. We started at Animal Haven in Merriam, KS,
but it was late in the day and they were closing, so all we could do was take a
quick look around. We agreed to check
out Wayside Waifs in Kansas City,
MO, the next week.

has a great shelter with a dedicated and helpful staff of volunteers. We spent
hours looking around. I figured out
pretty quickly that the pictures are great, but getting to see the dogs
face-to-face was even better. We
narrowed it down to three dogs that seemed particularly interesting: two lab mixes and a border collie mix named

was so hard to decide. We spent maybe a
half an hour with each of them, but however interested we were in them, they
just didn’t seem that interested in us. It was getting late and we were worn out, but I decided to take one last
pass around the shelter and strayed into the puppy section.

A scruffy-faced terrier mix named Chance
stared out. We got him out of his pen
and played with him. He was a blast.
Though he had a perfect personality, he met none of our other
qualifications. But still, there was
something about Chance. My wife warned
me, “He would be a handful!”

We drove home that night and talked about the
relative strengths of each of the dogs and decided to come back in a few days
and look again when we weren’t so
tired. For my part, I was pondering
just one thing: Perhaps, I should just
take a Chance.