Two guys at work are chatting before the start of a meeting.

“Oh, no way; I didn’t know you had a Golden. We’re this close to getting one.”

“Oh, you absolutely should. They’re great dogs. I’m happy to give you our breeder’s name.”

“Oh, no need, we’ve got one. I’m telling you, we’re right on the verge. They ain’t cheap though, Jesus.”

“I hear ya. but it’s so worth it. I’m just warning you though, the puppy thing is tough. My wife calls me three times a day ready to tear her hair out.”

They laugh.

Once the meeting breaks up, I pick up the phone. I can’t help myself.

“Dude, please think about a rescue. There are so many dogs out there who desperately need homes. You can keep the fortune you were going to give the breeder. Rescues are free. You pay nothing but vet and transportation costs at the most. And these dogs are fighting the clock. Kill shelters make room for new dogs every day.”

“Kill shelters?”

“Yeah, that’s how they make room.”

“Holy hell.”


“And you can skip the puppy thing all together. No three calls from the wife tearing her hair out.”

He laughs.

“Seriously, please just think about it. We have two rescues and they are the best, most loving dogs on the planet.”

He promises to look into it.


It’s an easy formula really.


Take one dog who desperately needs a home



Add one little girl who used to be terrified of dogs



Stir together with sloppy love



And then ask the question …

Who really saved whom?


If you’re looking for a dog, please start here

Pet Finder


35 thoughts on “lucy

  1. It is an easy formula and it worked so well. I love my “grandpups”! I don’t know why anyone would do it any differently.

    Love you,

  2. Our three-toed brown baby (3 because someone threw him out of a car) isn’t the snuggle bug that your Lucy is. He misses social cues from people and other dogs so he’s anxious a lot, he’s suspicious around new situations, takes him a long time to warm up and trust. But he loves his family fiercely, is smart and sweet, and makes us laugh all day long. We love him so. I’m still talking about the dog, but the similarities…


    • Our rescue dog was very fearful when we got her. Growled and lunged or cringed and cowered around everyone but our family. Best pet advice I ever received was to take her to obedience class. (We went to PetSmart, and it was the best $90 I ever spent.) Not only did she learn to obey, she learned to relax and trust. Now she greets everyone with a happy bark and a wagging tail. 🙂

  3. Couldn’t agree more…when we found out our son had severe animal allergies, we needed to find a hypoallergenic dog, and our purebred schnauzer came from a rescue. She is truly a Godsend, and fits right into our family. Can’t even begin to describe how blessed we’ve been by this precious animal that someone else was ready to throw away. is the best!!!

  4. My sister has 2 rescue dogs from puerto rico. One of them was abbused so badly, he had a cigarette burn on his nose when she got him. He was so fearful, and chewed up everything in the house. She didn’t give up on him though. Now he’s so calm, and sweet, and happy. He just needed to know he could trust his peoples.
    I have cats. I didn’t even have to go to a shelter to get them. When I lived in Philly they would just show up at my door, looking for food and a place to stay. How could I turn them away!?

  5. our “mutt” rowdy was 20 when he died this spring. black lab mix.! my husband says it was rowdy who picked me as his wife…Since we have been married we are also on our 2nd rescue of a pitt bull. There is a site called pittieloverescue. I hope people can give pittie’s a chance they used to be called “nanny dogs” because they are so loyal to their children. They have a lot of energy but they LOVE so well….just keep an open mind.

  6. If my daughter was not severely allergic to cats and dogs along with asthma I would have a house full of rescue animals! So helpless, it’s heart breaking,

  7. Amen! We have a rescue cat (he’s the size of a dog though) and he’s the best ever, plus no litter training 🙂

  8. We went to our local shelter once a week for about a month until we found the dog we wanted. She licked my nose and lay down for me to rub her tummy as soon as we met. It was love at first snuggle. That was nine years ago, and since then we’ve added two kids to the mix — one now an ADHD/ODD 7-year-old and one still a toddler. This dog has seen it all and loved us through it. I’d be lost without her. Animals are the best therapy for both kids and adults.

  9. Not all rescues are that way. AND we did not get a rescue last year because we needed a non shedding dog, I didn’t want a little one bc I didn’t think Daniel would do well with it underfoot. I looked on rescue sites for 2 years and never found one that would work. We now have a wonderful dog from a breeder but Daniel still struggles with him. They don’t know what each other is going to do. The dog barks at Daniel sometimes (and he doesn’t bark much) bc Daniel is so unpredictable, then Daniel gets upset and he barks more. It is a vicious circle. It’s been a lot of work but worth it. It doesn’t always work out as easily as your situation but I’m SO glad yours did, for both of your sakes 🙂

    • Michelle,

      I’m so sorry that it’s been such a struggle. To be clear, our situation was by no means without its challenges. If you read back through the posts that I linked to above, you’ll find the following …

      “Winston came into our lives in April. The first two weeks were hard. The kind of hard of horror shows. The kind of hard that makes you question every decision you’ve ever made. The kind of hard that forces you to wonder what the hell you were thinking bringing a dog into the home – and the life – of a child who is saddled with a morbid fear of animals. The kind of hard that leaves you in tears as your daughter jumps from chair to sofa to coffee table, too afraid to set a single foot on the ground of her own home for nearly two full weeks. The kind of hard that makes you wonder who in their right mind would follow the lead of a seven-year old – even though somewhere down deep you still knew that if she wanted this, she could do it. The kind of hard that makes you wonder if you might have to break four hearts (five?) and ask the dear soul who brought this sweet boy into your life to take him back and find him a more suitable home. The kind of hard that you are convinced won’t ever end.

      But then one day, there’s a breakthrough. She touches his back with a toe as he walks by.”

      You can read the post in its entirety here ..

      Thanks for your comment and the reminder that I need to provide context. And all the best with your son and the dog – I hope they’re able to find a comfortable co-existence.


  10. I can’t imagine what would compel someone to buy a dog from a breeder. I understand if someone doesn’t have the knowledge or education at first, but once a person learns the realities, there is no excuse. I must admit that I think not nice thoughts when someone elects to go to a breeder and then tries to convince people that *he/she* had a *good* reason for it. My thoughts in those moments are not nice at all.

    If you want something fashionable and expensive, buy a purse or a fancy pair of shoes. But bring your best friends, the ones who will love you through everything, home from a shelter…where they may have no more days than *this* one.

  11. I have two pups. The first one is a purebred Chinese Shar-Pei from champion bloodline (her parents were both finished champions in the dog show world). We got her from my MIL who has bred and showed dogs since the 70s. It kept food on the table when my hubby’s father passed away 35. The next dog we got was a hound mix from a high kill shelter we found through PetFinder. After the experience getting her, I will NEVER get another dog from anywhere else! We went to look at her, she crawled right in my lap and I said, “Where do I sign?” She has never had a single health problem, while my Shar-Pei has had skin problems, hip problems, ear problems, all things that are common in Pure Bred dogs. Forget the expense of buying the dog, the real expense comes in vet bills! Rescue dogs are definitely the way to go!

  12. Rescues are the best. All 3 of mine are rescues. My oldest will be 17 this October and I got her from the shelter when she was 5 weeks old and she has been there for me all 17 years. Now she is dying and my heart is breaking, but I am there for her now and love her desperately. She was one of my best choices ever and if I had it to do over again, I would do the exact same thing.

  13. It is also better to rescue cats. I am all for adopting pets from shelters. However, some people don’t go with rescues and it is far better to get a pet from a reputable breeder than from a pet store. Pet stores get dogs from puppy mills, which are very abusive.

  14. Just when I think you are totally awesome, you write something like this and I think, sh*t girl, you are even more awesome than I thought! When I am not working my day job as a legal aid attorney, I try to do advocacy for animals on the side. Our three rescued cats and rescued dog have done wonders for our little guy. He is very sweet and gentle and intrigued with them. He has a very strong affinity for animals and becomes excited when he sees a squirrel or rabbit frolicking in our yard. I honestly think that they are some of the best therapy for him.

  15. I love this! All of our dogs are rescues – and they are the best companions and family members I could possibly imagine – we have five kids, all of whom are adopted and have some challenges and dogs are the most wonderful teachers and friends. No dog breeders for us – ever!

  16. They are so cute together. We got our dog Potter from a shelter last year and she has been great. She was very fearful of my husband at first as she had been abused but settled in after a few weeks. Now she loves him above all others and gazes adoringly when he enters the room. One of the best decisions we have made as a family.

  17. Remember that there are also specific breed rescues for those who DO want a certain breed, a non-shedding breed, etc. You can still save a dog in need! I have a purebred Pomeranian and a rare Boerboel, and before that a Bullmastiff. Google ANY breed and the word rescue and you will find groups. And, very sadly, go to a shelter about 4-6 months after Christmas and you will find a lot of purebreeds that were a terrible gift idea of a puppy at Christmastime that the family then realized were a lot of work and/or got tired of the novelty of the gift and dumped them in a shelter. Please never buy from a pet store (if people continue to buy, the industry will continue to thrive) – those dogs come from the most cruel environments and their mothers continue to linger in sickening, horrible conditions in the puppy mills that produce the “product” for consumers. And, just a side note – most mixed breed dogs have way less health problems and genetic conditions that purebreeds do. I have personal experience with the plight of cats and dogs in shelters – I was a volunteer liaison for a rescue group and my job was to go to our town’s animal shelter once a week and pick out whatever we bring into our foster groups. We were very limited for space, foster parents, medical funds, etc. so I had to be quite “choosy” and pass up SO MANY wonderful, wonderful dogs and cats because we could not possible take them all into rescue every week. Long story short…. when I was wrapping up the paperwork, etc. – every cat and dog I didn’t pick was being euthanized in the back – I made several trips out that way with carriers and leashes on the ones I saved and would SEE ALL the others dead on the floor. It was heartbreaking every time. I was willing to do this because if myself and other volunteers didn’t do it, NONE would have been saved. For me, even one was something. PLEASE, please, please adopt and keep your pet as a lifetime committment, not a temporary intrigue or something to give up when you are in any way inconvenienced.

  18. JESS, Thanks you SO SO SO SO very much for bringing up this subject in your blog. You’ll educate SO many people. Myself and other rescuers everywhere are eternally grateful.

  19. There are rescues for Goldens only. Let him know that and he can Google it. know we have one in MN. I do fostering for a local rescue, you would not believe the things that happen at puppy mills. The pug I have right now spent his first days hiding under the dresser. He now is sleeping in our bed and attached to me, but runs away from all the males in the house. It breaks my heart to see how afraid he is. He gets passed over at adoption events because he is so timid, but at home, he loves to play!

  20. Such a sweet post, and a great message. I’d “amen” the same thing regarding any pet. We’ve adopted rescue cats and guinea pigs. There are rescues for many different kinds of creatures, including reptiles. Rescue a pet – it’s a wonderful thing for everyone involved.

  21. We say all the time that our rescue dog Stanley, whom my son insist has Aspergers just like him.. and he may be right, saved us not the other way around. In fact I even wrote an article which ran in DOGFANCY magazine in May about their incredible relationship. Like Brooke, my Jay was scared of dogs before Stanley… now Stanley sleeps with him on his bed! They get each other in a way that I cannot even begin to explain. When i think how close Stanley was to being put down… well it breaks my heart! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post and hope that you will touch so many others and perhaps more dogs will get their forever homes and more people can be SAVED by them!

  22. Couldnt agree more. And a reputable rescue org will be awesome about matching you with a dog that meets your needs. And a good dog trainer and willingness to learn helps too!

  23. Have to confess that I never got over MY fear of dogs, and not sure I’m responsible enough to take care of one. But this is one of those AM’s when I soooo need a strong cup of coffee, or three, and waking up to this post gave me the first two! Thanks, got to go gulp down the java and feed my chickens now!

  24. Both of our puppies are from a small rescue. It is possible to get a puppy from a rescue if that’s what you are looking for. I don’t understand why people spend $thousands on a dog from a breeder when there are so many amazing dogs just waiting for the chance to be loved and give love back

  25. Pingback: lucy | The Autism Blog

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