I had never heard the term “rescue dog” until I met Chip, the grief counselor at my vet’s office (you read right). Apparently, when a pet owner reaches mass hysteria at the sudden demise of his beloved animal, a visit from Chip is required, at least at my swanky veterinarian office. All the vet had to do was take one look at my Siberian husky, Rex, to diagnose him with terminal cancer and recommend euthanization as the only option. The doctor exited, I said my goodbyes to Rex, and Chip entered. It happened that quickly. After 90 minutes of much-needed “pet therapy” by Chip, his parting words really stuck with me: “When you decide to get another dog, think about giving back and adopting a rescue.”
After a sufficient mourning period, I thought I’d investigate the mystery of the rescue dog adoption process. I read pamphlets, I interviewed experts, and I finally decided to pull the trigger. The more I found out, the more the legend intrigued me. It seemed that rescued animals that are given a chance at a better life develop a deeper appreciation for their new masters. In fact, this new type of love led me to believe that I’d never think to choose my pooch any other way.
After a rigorous screening process, I was able to view a photo of my pet-to-be online. He was a Blackjack, a mix between a Lab and a Rottweiler and a descendant of the cougar. He was 18-months old and had already been in five homes. After a short courtship, his colorful breed became apparent to me. He was loyal like a Lab, temperamental like a Rott and a runner like a cougar – a combination that I would quickly learn did not mix well with the majority of pet owners out there.
I was immediately drawn to him because, like my daddy always said, I somehow manage to relate all my experiences in life back to my work. I found out that many of the families chose Jack based on what they wanted him to become, rather than accepting him for who he really was. And so they showed him the “mobile cage.” Jack is a mix of all his ancestors, and needed to find a place that allowed him to leverage his unique skills and natural behaviors (in the language of job seekers). He never gave up, never changed who he was, and kept trying until he finally found the right match. They say you can learn a lot from animals, and Jack has been a great teacher. Many of us fail to find our true place in the employment world, deciding to give up too quickly and stay put in a job that leaves us unhappy and unfulfilled.
Take a lesson from my friend Jack and discover a field or organization that you can call home, no matter the hardships you face along the way.