Pearl by Andrew Ratzke

Six years ago Hayley and I decided we were ready for a dog of our own. We both grew up with dogs and couldn't wait any longer to be dog owners ourselves. When we decided we wanted a dog of our own, we talked a lot about rescue and finally, after doing some research, we began our search. Both of us grew up with dogs that were purchased from breeders and while our dogs were amazing, we were really interested in rescuing a pup who needed us. I will never forget the first day we went to the local shelter in search of our future pup. I had spent some time in shelters and was like a kid in a candy store, racing from kennel to kennel excitedly shouting, "Oh look how cute this one is. Ahh I love this one. Man, that is a big dog. Oh this one is so little." I couldn't get enough and wanted to play with all of the dogs all at the same time. That was until I turned around and saw Hayley teary eyed and somber. It was her first time in a shelter and it wasn't easy for her to see all of the dogs that needed someone to give them a chance. We left quickly and did a little debriefing in the car. "How could anyone not adopt a dog?" she asked. And that was it. We knew rescue was for us and we (maybe me a bit more than Hayley) couldn't wait to go take a look at more rescues in the area. 

When we made it to the Seattle Humane Society something just felt right and we knew this was the rescue we wanted to support. We did some exploring and spent some time with a number of different dogs. We met what we thought for sure was going to be our dog and at the last minute, the family that was fostering the dog decided to keep it. We were crushed. Excited that the dog had a great home, but crushed. We didn't let it slow us down though and the following Saturday we were back at the shelter. That Saturday we met Eddie (now our Pearl). She was so scared, shaking, hiding in the corner. I don't know what it was about her, but I bonded with her instantly. I turned to Hayley and said this is it. She gave me a look like I was crazy. The dog wouldn't even come near us, but I was hooked. I walked over and scooped her up and the rest is history. She hasn't been the easiest. She was 3 when we got her and had a troubled past. That said, she has grown so much and we know her life is better with us than it could have been with many of the other families who were interested in her. We have learned so much and love her more than the world, even when she has a tough day. I don't know what we would do without her and I am excited for the day when we are able to head to the shelters here in Portland (where we live today) to find our next pup to join our little family.