As an animal shelter care technician, my favorite role is that of adoption counselor. I love nothing more than pairing families with the animals in my care. I recently had the pleasure of participating in a special adoption involving our dog Amethyst. Amethyst was an older girl who was found as a stray. Though we'll never know why her owners never came for her, what we did know was that despite the humans who had failed her, Amethyst still loved people. She adored attention and had a vivacious personality for her age. When a couple came to meet Amethyst, I was surprised to hear they weren't looking for themselves, but were helping their parents with the adoption process. "We're just trying to make sure Amethyst seems like a good fit," they said. When I learned that the family who might take Amethyst home was a retired couple with a 42 acre property, I couldn't wait to meet them, and neither could Amethyst!
The couple quickly discovered Amethyst's sweet nature, and soon returned with their parents to proceed with the meet and greet. The potential adopters spent time with Amethyst in the interaction room as well as outside to walk her on a leash. Afterwards, they decided to think about Amethyst overnight. Already convinced they were a great fit, I was a little disappointed. As I put Amethyst in her kennel, I prayed the family would return. The rest of the day passed quickly as I stayed busy assisting visitors. Towards the end of the afternoon, I stopped by the front desk and noticed Amethyst's visitors standing in the lobby. "Did you decide about Amethyst?" I asked. "We couldn't stop thinking about her," they said. They had come back for her!
Shelter staff want nothing more
than to see their animals
get a second chance.
A few weeks after Amethyst's adoption, I was elated to discover a follow-up letter about Amethyst posted in my workspace. The letter described how wonderfully Amethyst was settling into her new home and how happy they were to have her in the family. She had, as they put it, "fallen in love with retirement." Shelter staff want nothing more than to see their animals get a second chance. With all the exhaustion and heartache that comes with animal rescue, adoptions are the reason we keep going- the reason we push through fatigue and sadness. It's why we greet every adopter with a bright smile, despite the heartbreaking things we witness every day. Our dogs sit by our sides, walk where we walk, sleep where we sleep. They inspire us to go on adventures, whether that means a walk in the sun or a trip out for ice cream cones. They remind us to watch the birds and enjoy long drives, to grieve less and celebrate more. We think of adopting an animal as rescuing that animal...yet in so many ways, it is they who end up rescuing us.
Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.