We are very pleased to have Michelle Itkin share her MHS adoption story with us. Michelle is a newlywed, works full time at Aveda, (thanks for the auction item!), is a hardworking ”dog mommy” and also volunteers regularly with Michigan Humane Society. Michelle is also a great story teller and friend. And her pups are cute and stupid at the same time! Without further ado, take it away, Michelle.
I Have The Stupidest Dog in The World By Michelle Itkin
Honestly, she is absolutely dunce-hat wearing, open-mouth-breathing, stupid. You look at her, and you can see the cogs barely moving in that pea-sized brain of hers. When you give her a command, she just stares and stares and stares. I bet she thinks if she stares long enough, food will materialize out of thin air. “No you silly dog! You have to do a trick to earn that milkbone!”
So how did end up with such a dumb-ass animal? The Michigan Humane Society is to blame. Like all good matchmakers in history, the MHS got me interested with a cute face and glowing rap sheet. After a ‘date’ with Esme, I fell in love. She was charming, humorous and, most of all, cute. What a catch! She was coming home to me, my then-boyfriend (my now-husband) and my five-year-old Jack Russell/Basenji mix rescue. A family was made complete.
Ok, here’s the truth. Esme isn’t stupid. She’s actually a pretty good dog. Sure, she has her dumb-ass moments, but let’s just blame it on her awkward teenage years. Yet, a true dog lover and “dog-mommy” can look through the stupidity, the mess and the havoc that a curious puppy can bring into one’s life. I am truly lucky to have had the Michigan Humane Society play a huge role in expanding my ‘family’ and bringing this sweet, but silly, thing into my life. It was never a question of where to adopt from. I always knew that my second fur-baby would come from MHS.
I have always been a very strong advocate of animal rescue and adoption. The idea of backyard breeders and puppy-mills just brings up disgusted feelings of epic proportions. I just think of these poor puppies stuffed into cages and corners, a la Hoarders style. In no way could I ever lend my support, or my dollar, to continue this horrible cycle.
The humane societies, animal controls and rescues of this country are stuffed to the gills with amazing, adorable and adoptable animals, ripe for the loving. People have asked me why I adopt. I say, because I can and I want to. Like the companies I choose to support with my dollar, I also choose to support these amazing organizations that take in animals from all kinds of unfortunate backgrounds, while maintaining very limited budgets. My first dog came from a humane society in Battle Creek, which was absolutely bursting at the seams with surrendered and homeless animals. Walking in, I immediately realized how lean these organizations run. Honestly, it was so difficult to fathom how an organization like this takes in so many unwanted animals on such tight budge constraints. Realizing this was like the first time realizing how big the universe is. Sadly, the issue is widespread; homeless animals and overpopulation affects every corner of this country. When it came time to adopt again, this time I knew I had to adopt from my corner of the world.
MHS boasts three adoption centers, online listings and amazing adoption counselors. When it was time to find a new addition to the family, there was no question as to which organization I was going to adopt from. The (now-) husband and I spent hours on michiganhumane.org looking at the pet listings (a.k.a. puppy porn), trying to find the cutest face to bring home. We would make special trips to the adoption centers in Detroit and Westland, cooing over the sweet fur-babies, laughing at the goofy faces and simply falling in love with the big puppy-dog eyes. It was one fateful visit to the MHS Berman Center in Westland that sealed the deal. I saw her first; she was sleeping in her crate, totally oblivious to all the barking surrounding her. But it was the husband who fell in love with her first. He’s a sucker for goofy antics and silly smile. It took us days to figure out a name, but we finally settled on the most non-dog name we’ve heard in a while. At first, Esme, was a complete troublemaker. She chewed up ipod cords, shoes and expensive underwear (she owes me a trip to the Nordstrom lingerie department). And then she would pee on the floor and not listen to me and then chew some more stuff up.
I was experiencing growing pains with my new ‘family’ and, thankfully, MHS anticipated this. MHS doesn’t just adopt the animal out and leave it at that. They offer various methods of after-adoption support to alumni and their families. I always knew that I could turn to the animal behavior specialist hotline for advice or visit the three area MHS vet clinics for medical attention. The care that Esme has received from post-adoption veterinary visits has been superb, which makes us both very, very happy. And when it was time for puppy classes, they were more than happy to refer us to training classes that were the right fit. So despite the havoc this little beast caused during her first few months in my life; MHS made it easy for me to adapt to her as much as possible, despite the ruined clothing and stained rugs.
Its reasons like this that I fully support the MHS. They made the adoption process with my new addition smooth and simple; from the very beginning to post-adoption care. But they do so much more…everything from taking in every animal under the sun, treating critters that may not always make it, to educating the public about animal welfare and safety. Oh, and lets not forget that they have found best friends for thousands of metro-Detroiters for decades. But MHS needs more than moral and emotional support. They are an extensive organization made up of devoted employees, enthusiastic volunteers and generous donors; all of who have made the MHS what it is today. I feel honored whenever I can support this organization and its mission in anyway I can — anything from answering phones during the telethon to collecting donations for the annual Mega-March. It’s through these actions that I know I am supporting an organization devoted to humane values in everything that they do.
It has been said that those that have pets live longer and healthier lives. I fully agree. Maybe its all the silly things they do, or maybe its just the love that they give, but I find myself smiling more, laughing more and worrying less when the pupsters are around. Those fur-kids also keep me active. Without them, I don’t think so many daytrips to the state and county parks would be planned, and I am absolutely sure that I wouldn’t take so many walks if I was pet-less. I often think of and thank the MHS for allowing me to bring in the blessing of puppy love into my home. I know that the little I do may not make a huge impact, but as we all know, change begins at home. If I can change the life of one homeless pet or the mind of one unaware individual…imagine what the rest of you can do.