After losing the first puppy, I first sulked and then was motivated. After losing Madison, I became determined. We felt at war with the Universe, which we had previously thought was plopping a puppy in our laps but was now obviously plotting against us. I checked the animal shelter website multiple times a day to pick our potential pets and monitor which ones had been adopted. Meanwhile, Josh started working on a fence. He dug holes nearly three feet deep in the clay soil with those secondhand post-hole diggers. At the end of the day, he would tell me about his progress and also about the biceps he was developing. I was more interested in the latter, but I never cared about the fence.

Again, I made peace with our second lost dog in a week by thinking about the person on the other end of it. Some guy had lost his beautiful and sweet blue pit bull, and no doubt he thought he would never see her again. Isn't that the way it goes? When a pet is gone, you call around and you put up posters to appease your heartbroken kid, but you have to know that your chances aren't good. But this guy called the animal shelter and there she was, his lost dog. Despite what we thought, Madison was never ours. We wanted a dog, but we weren't trying to take anyone else's dog. Trust me, there are plenty to go around. It is all-you-care-to-handle pit bulls out there.

The next weekend, we went back to the shelter, bringing along our receipt from Madison like a gift certificate good for one dog, please. We could have gone to any number of other shelters in the area. I talked to a guy who got his dog at a no-kill shelter. He described it as a dog paradise, a big farm in the country where the puppies may run freely, without fear of the gas chamber. I respect that, but I can't help but think that adopting from a no-kill place is saving a dog that wasn't about to die, though perhaps it opens up space at the no-kill shelter for a dog that is still at risk. Either way, we got one dog saved and fifty bazillion still at risk. The Wake County Animal Shelter is big and nice and well-maintained, but they are facing up to the reality that there are too many dogs and cats. Euthanizing animals is a unpleasant solution to a difficult problem. No-kill shelters, while good in that they are providing space for more animals, aren't dealing with the problem at all. They just act like they're above it.

Heck, I don't know. This is just what I've been thinking about while looking at the profiles of dogs on the animal shelter website. It seemed like there were half a dozen new dogs every single day. Help control the pet population. Spay and neuter your pets.

At the shelter, I was dismayed to find out two things: 1. the dogs that I had picked out on the website were not there at all, and 2. Josh still pretty much only wanted a pit bull. I had come to think that losing our blue pit bull was maybe a blessing, because when we put down the deposit for her, we had not done any research. You all know that people don't like pit bulls. You know from that gut reaction that you got the first time I said we might be getting one. Even if you never ever had any interaction with one, you felt like maybe it wasn't a good choice for a nice family pet. That's how Josh and I felt anyway. But then we did all that reading about them, we met a couple of really sweet ones, and we looked at twenty-five (thirty? forty?) of the big-headed cuties who needed a place to live. Unfortunately, some people have turned that instant distrust of pit bulls into policy. Some insurance companies will not give you a homeowner's policy if you own a dog of certain specific breeds that they deem dangerous. The reason given is increased frequency of bites and increased damage if a bite occurs. They might have a point on that last one, seeing as how pit bulls were bred to combine the strong jaws of a bulldog with the perserverence of a terrier. Good job, selective breeding, you succeeded!

Me, I say let people have whatever dog they want. The insurance company can put a limit on how much damage they'll cover if it bites someone or they can charge more for the policy.

I emailed my insurance company and asked, oh so casually, if they had any restrictions on dog breeds. Why yes, of the following breeds: pit bull (a.k.a staffordshire terrier), akita, chow, presa canario, rottweiler, sharpei and wolf hybrids (wolf hybrids?!). Assuming there would just be a increase in the cost of my policy, I asked how much more I would have to pay for a year's worth of pit bull (completely hypothetically, of course). She replied that the charge would not go up, as long as the insurance company did not find out. That is baffling advice to receive from your insurance agent, but it does explain how there are so many pit bulls when no one is allowed to have them.

So I had to tell Josh that pit bulls were right out. We passed by cage after cage labelled American Staffordshire Terrier, and some of them were so cute. I felt like a rotten hypocrite for contributing to the continued disenfranchisement of the pit bull when I knew it was just not fair.

I pointed out a couple of hounds that I liked, but Josh was just not interested. He said they were too skinny. He wanted a thick and broad-shouldered dog. We made the rounds through the whole shelter, then came back to one cage with a dog that we were both completely unenthusiastic about. We didn't have to get a dog today, I reminded myself. And then the thought of coming back here to look at more sad dogs, of looking at the website every day was just so depressing that I figured we should give this dog, who was named Daisy, a chance. She was mostly black, with some white on the face, chest, and paws. She was labelled as a lab mix, but we had seen a lot of pits in the past couple of weeks and found her wide jaw very familiar. She was what neither one of us wanted - too much pit bull for me and not enough for him.

But you know what? When you get in the dang kennel with them, it's just over. You pet them and they instantly love you so much. They can't believe that you have finally come to see them, they have been waiting so long for only you. You are already in this doggy death camp, surrounded by misery, but here in this one place is a creature that is beaming pure, uncut love right at you. Must. Rescue. Dog.

So we did. We were thrilled to find that she had been surrendered, which meant that the owner had given her up. There was no waiting period where an owner might swoop in out of nowhere to steal reclaim our dog. And yet, we were twice bitten, which I guess made us frice shy. We agreed to not tell anyone about this new dog, afraid we might jinx it. We had enthusiastically told lots of people about the last two dogs, and we were just tired of having to tell them again later that no, we did not have a dog. There were many opportunities to tell people. My sister asked, and I wanted to tell her to ask again Thursday, nudge-nudge wink-wink. But I was strong, though I suspect that she, like my insurance agent, saw right through it.

But! I just told you! And you're so smart, so you know what that means.

Ladies and germs, may I present to you OUR dog, Remix. She is pure, uncut love.

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