It is easier to adopt a white, drug-free infant in New Jersey than it is to adopt a puppy. Believe me, I have tried. Nearly all of the shelters in this state are affiliated with Petfinder, which is nice and they do good work and all that, but the process through which one must go to adopt a puppy is excruciating.

Yeah, I get it, they want to make sure that the dogs and cats and whatnot go to the best homes possible, but the process is STUPID. First, search for a dog you like. Then click on it to get more info, which isn’t much more than “likes to be alive, yay!”

Then, click on the contact info for the particular rescue that is fostering/sponsoring that dog. This will either take you to an email, where you express your interest or to an adoption application, which is slightly less exhaustive than a mortgage application. Okay, great. So you fill it out and send it along and HOPE the rescue organization contacts you. Because a lot of them don’t. Especially if they reject you. But you will never know why! You then apply for a couple of other pups, but this is annoying as all get-out because every rescue’s adoption application is different! Yet, the same! You wonder why Petfinder doesn’t just use a standardized application that you can fill out ONCE. This would make sense, and the older you get, the more you realize that things that make sense are rare jewels indeed.

So let’s say you get someone to contact you about your application. Then the fun begins. Sometimes the rescue organization will call you to find out when you want to meet the puppy. You say “anytime! Today is good, tomorrow is fine, just let me know!” And then you never hear from them again, despite a series of extremely polite emails wondering just what the fuck happened.

Sometimes you do manage to get connected to meet the puppy. And he’s super-duper cute, and your 3-year-old daughter is delighted with him. You all like each other and decide to bring this puppy into your family. But then you get a call from the rescue organization, saying the puppy has started barfing up everything in sight and will be going to the vet. A lot of these dogs come from high-kill shelters in the South and some of them have God knows what diseases and everything else. You check back with the rescue about this puppy and find out that he… didn’t make it.


On your third try, you manage to set up a time and place to meet the pup, only to show up there with a tired husband and extremely bitchy toddler, wait 45 minutes past the scheduled time, get pissed off and leave. Halfway home, you get a call on the cell, all “where are you?” and it’s miscommunication and whatever and by this time you’re just sick of the whole stupid process and… whatever. This is the point where you start to understand why people would go to pet stores and buy a dog.

On a whim, you check Petfinder again and find a cute little lady that you think you might like. So you fill out the application (again, a different-yet-same form) and send it off. They contact you via email to set up a time to meet the puppy! You respond! They respond BACK! With directions to the house!

By now you’re all jaded about the process and barely manage to get excited. But you still head to the pet store to get a crate for transport, keeping the receipt, of course. And then you follow the directions to the house and meet the dog and it’s all over, man. This is your dog.

We have a dog. Her name is Piper. No one is quite sure what sort of dog she is, but we know she’s a mutt. Some say Border Collie, some have suggested there’s German Shepherd in there, maybe some Husky (which explains the one blue eye), and she might even be a Boxer. Time will tell, maybe. Jillian decided to name her Piper. The very first dog we were ever going to meet was named Piper and although that didn’t work out, Jillian remembered it and for awhile, all dogs were named Piper. She briefly considered “Sam” as a name and rejected “David Bowie” outright. Though if we’d named her David Bowie, I think we would have just called her “Dave.”

Piper it is, then.

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