Truthfully, we didn’t really start out with a local mongrel in mind.
We went to the SPCA and being law abiding citizens wanted to look at HDB-approved dogs. The only HDB-approved dogs they had there were two mini schnauzers that looked bedraggled and none too appealing. I had read that they were stubborn and difficult to train and honestly speaking, I didn’t really want a dog with a beard :P
We went to a big pet shop in a neighbouring town. The small puppies there were cute but we were not sure if two people with zero dog experience can successfully bring up a puppy.
We finally decided we should adopt an adult dog that should ideally be toilet-trained, medium energy and around 2 to 3 years of age so that we have many years with the dog. Should we have a child, we certainly did not want a dog that will die of old age that soon and traumatise the poor child at age 7, for example. Yes, you may accuse us of over-thinking things.
With that in mind, I googled local shelters and wrote to them. The organisations replied speedily. I was asked to provide ASD with a shortlist of dogs on their website as some were fostered out and need to be fetched back if we would like to view them. Gentle Paws appeared not to have this problem and simply directed us to where they were located so we could view the dogs. Since we had no opinion on any dog on the websites, it was simply easier to visit Gentle Paws first and hopefully have somebody who could help us through the process of finding the right dog.
Gentle Paws turned out to be a busy hive that mothers mostly strays and mongrels. I am not the most confident of people so it was easy to feel overwhelmed and out of place when you are a visitor and everyone else seemed to know what they are about here. As shared in How Donna came to us, we couldn’t really differentiate the dogs and had no strong opinion on any of them. We almost left without a conclusion, which meant we probably would have followed up with ASD and perhaps ended up with a different dog if that was the case. For all you know we may have ended up with a known HDB-approved breed or ended up as one of those pilot guinea pigs in Project Adore. Or we could have gone on to The Rehomers or The Animal Lovers League and on and on until we found a dog or gave up.
But Florence intervened and introduced Donna to us. When she was not over-excited, Donna was really docile and tractable. And of course, Florence was very good at selling how smart and trainable Donna is, etc, etc. Between ourselves, we figured she was probably a good intro to Dog 101 for total noobs like us. And so the rest is history.
And there you have it. We didn’t set out to adopt a mongrel, but HDB-approved breeds in our target age range meeting our criteria seemed almost nil in the shelters we visited at that point in time. The availability or lack of guidance in the selection of dogs for total dog newbies like us also led to us favouring one organisation over another. And if that organisation had 100% medium and large breeds that are not HDB-approved, that is just the luck of the draw for us.
Of course, we could have persisted in waiting or continued with ASD or other organisations. But here is a perfectly good dog awaiting to be adopted, behaves even better than that beagle that always barks at us from the 6th floor balcony or the dachshund at the park that escaped from its owner to chase a cat. Why should we wait when we are all ready to get on with our lives.