It wasn’t long after we started trying marijuana that we realized we wanted another dog. Even though the pot was being ingested by our elderly dog Finnegan, I’m sure more than one person hearing this news will think we’re high on drugs ourselves, but no.

(For the record, the canine cannabis is non psycho-active. You can read more here.)

We’d noticed that whenever someone came over with a dog, it perked Finnegan up. He sniffed, he walked around to try and figure out where the other dog was and what it was doing. Dog love seemed like it might be good medicine, so I’d been cautiously, casually looking at the rescue sites now and then, but it never seemed like the right time to add a scenery-chewing new addition. I was scared we’d pick the wrong dog, and worried we shouldn’t add another pet to the load while dealing with our confused, mostly blind old guy.

Then I saw a picture of Jasper. “We were meant to meet this dog,” I told Jay. He seemed wary, but agreed to come with me to the shelter late last week.

Thus we found ourselves standing at the door of the rescue place, a warehouse with roll up doors open. It was visiting hours, but the place seemed lifeless. Smelly and lifeless. We wandered around and finally a young woman went and got Jasper from in back. She handed him us the leash. “Take him for a walk if you want,” she said. We were a little surprised they didn’t want to know our names or emails or criminal history, but since we had good intentions, we set off on a walk. I looked at Jasper, so cute and furry. I felt… huh. Not much. Actually nothing at all. Jay also tried to make conversation, initiate contact, play at the park, but while this dog was perfectly willing to be lead around by us, he wasn’t showing the slightest interest in us.

I brought him back, hot with shame that my dream dog didn’t love me, nor I him. I stood at the warehouse entry, trying to catch someone’s attention. Jay had snuck off toward the car, also feeling crappy. “Should I put him back?” asked a guy unloading supplies. “Yeah I guess so. He seems pretty indifferent to us,” I said. “He’s not super engaged,” the guy said, and took him to the back. I waited for someone to try and sell me on some other great dog they had, but nobody looked at me, and I quickly retreated and joined Jay in the car.

On our way home we decided to console ourselves by petting some cats at Berkeley Humane, which I probably don’t have to tell you is where we were claimed by Gizmo, a preposterously muppet-y Terrier mix. Half bat, half wolf, he’s like an unravelling yarn ball.

We submitted Gizmo for approval to Finnegan (he’d come with us to meet Jasper), and they seemed to have a warm rapport. An hour or so later, we’d adopted Gizmo.

(Side note: As a pet owner, I’ve “adopted” many pets. I’ve loved them all, and treated them like family, but the truth is we own these animals, and while we owe them decent treatment and more, we can also lock them in the house and go to work. It’s a little weird for me to use the word adoption for this, when my kids are adopted-adopted. What do they think about dogs in the pound being “adopted” just as they were? I’d think they’d be outraged, or doubtful. But so far as I can tell, they think absolutely nothing about this and don’t care one flick. So I guess that’s one thing I can worry no more about, at least for now.)

Nearly late for pickup at school, we dashed up with the dogs, and it was like Christmas morning. “Is that dog ours?” squealed Jaden, and he and Shayla threw themselves on Gizmo, who licked and leaped his way into their hearts in about 5 seconds.

A not-quite-2-year-old dog is still part puppy, so we’ve had a week of chewing and pooping, pup-proofing, middle-of-the-night yard visits, and early mornings. The socks have suffered, but we all seem to be enjoying the new energy enormously. Finnegan was quite pepped up for 4 or 5 days, though yesterday he hit some kind of wall and made it clear he needs more rest. I believe his exact words were “get off my lawn you punk.” There was some growling and swearing. But setting limits requires more energy than I’ve seen him give off in a long while.

The love of a good dog is strong medicine, and we’re all feeling it.

So today I give thanks for Jasper, the dog who didn’t. I pray he’ll also find a family right for him. I mourn for the dogs who don’t. And I thank Jasper for getting us going on our newest adventure.