A slogan that is popular amongst bumper stickers seen in various pet stores is one that poses the question, “Who rescued who?”. The bond we as people share with animals is a special type of relationship where we unconditionally love and care of our furry friends, and in some cases even treat them better than children. My wife Kimberly, has even made the statement in reference to our dog Cash that he is her child. Recently we made the decision to add another dog to our family and while in the moment it was a spontaneous decision, it has proved to be a great one.

On Sunday morning this past week, my wife took Cash for a walk around our apartment complex. Upon her return she seemed slightly disheartened in their walk. She explained that Cash had seen several dogs and children playing outside and had attempted to bark at them while hiding behind her. This is not unusual behavior for him, but it has become a slight problem over the past year or so because it makes it difficult to take him out in public. As a puppy he was extremely sociable and loved people and other dogs. However as he got older, he developed fears and anxieties seemingly out of nowhere. In the past we entertained the idea that he needed a friend with a young puppy named Lilly. The problem with their relationship was that she was so small, Cash thought that she was more of a toy than another dog and we had no choice but to relocate her to a new home for her safety. Our miniature Australian Shepherd became a lone wolf yet again with anxieties growing along with his stature.

Kimberly mentioned the notion that she wished that he was capable of having a friend that could help him break away from his fears. I couldn’t help but to agree with her after discovering the difference social interaction has made with my personal anxieties. In my mind, for him to have a companion around his size and age could be good for him because he would have no choice other than to learn how to interact with another dog while in the comfort of his own home. After discussing the situation and deciding that we were ready to look for a dog, we took Cash with us to PetSmart because a local shelter holds adoptions there every weekend.

When we entered the store, Cash held his usual disposition by hunkering down and hiding between our ankles. We put him in the shopping cart and wheeled him through the aisles to keep him comfortable and safe. Luckily we had arrived as the pen was being set up to house the available dogs for adoption and within around ten minutes the floor became vibrant with people and pups looking for their matches. We noticed a name tag with the name “Shadow” on it. It read that he was a terrier mix that was around ten months old with no other information on it. He was definitely one I wanted to meet due to the size and the age. I was surprised to watch him enter the pen due to his height. Before me, walked a tall and lanky white dog with brown spots. The face and features of a beagle yet the height and size just shy of a boxer. He trotted the perimeter of the pen, hurdling over the smaller breeds and began to receive affection from almost everyone he encountered. When he made his way to us, I asked immediately if he could meet our dog to see if they got along. They allowed us to take him to an empty aisle to interact.

Cash was reluctant to come out of the cart but kept his composure as his feet hit the ground. I was a little nervous as this new dog towered over him, and remained ready to intervene if the meeting took a turn for the worse. To our surprise, Shadow greeted Cash with curious sniffs and a wagging tail. Kimberly took their leashes and began to walk with them up and down the aisle as if modeling them. Astonishingly, Cash walked with this dog as if they had known one another for years. Side by side they walked through the entire back of the store like brothers would. I knelt down eye to eye with Shadow when they returned and held out my hand. He placed his head heavily yet gently in my palm while exhaling a long sigh that melted my heart. Shadow was a big, sweet baby who needed a friend as much as Cash did.

I let them know we were ready to adopt almost as quickly as I had asked for the visitation. Kimberly stayed with both dogs while I scurried in the shopping center for an ATM to pay the adoption fee. She had a talk with the faculty for the shelter in my absence and discovered that Shadow once had a brother who lived with him and his former owners. The owners had split up and surrendered their dogs as a result of their dispute. His brother had been adopted three weeks prior to his adoption, and had been depressed ever since.

I heard the explanation once we had finished the adoption process and were gathering essentials for our new comrade. I don’t feel that Cash fully understood that we were bringing Shadow home with us until we arrived at the local park after leaving PetSmart. Just like in the store, they walked together like two old souls catching up on things. We noticed that Shadow didn’t answer to his name very well so we decided to rename him, as he didn’t look like a Shadow to us. After much deliberation, we decided to go with the name Koda.

Over the past week, we have gotten used to a second dog living with us and it has gone way better than expected. We see Cash beginning to open up around others and play with Koda happily every day, while Koda is learning how we live and our basic ground rules. Today was the first visit at a new veterinarian for both of them and both dogs received a clean bill of health. They are up to date on their vaccines and were rewarded with a treat from Petco on the way home. Welcome to the family Koda! We hope to give you the best home we can!

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