Editor’s Note: I wrote this post back in July, but am just now publishing it. I believe I forgot to post I because I wanted to include a photo and I realized I didn’t have a “blog worthy” photo of Nala. I still don’t think I have one, but whatever I have is good enough now. My sincerest apologies on the delay.
For awhile my family has been asking for a dog, but I decided to hold out as long as possible. I was actually fairly indifferent on us getting one, but I know my wife really well, and if she smells blood, she’ll attack. So for about a year, I’ve had to put out the public image of being a hardline, anti-dog owner.
That all changed while we were in Italy. All the sudden, every dog Katie saw turned into a plea for a new pet. We came home and, unbeknownst to me, she started “dog-zillowing.” Dog-Zillowing, a term I made up just now, is exactly like Zillowing but for dogs. “Zillowing” is checking Zillow every day to see what house is gone on the market in your town (occasionally other towns too) knowing full well that there is absolutely no realistic possibility you are going to buy a new house. Katie started doing this with dogs thus the term dog-zillowing.
Our local shelter had decided to do a fee-free adoption day as the shelter was completely full and they put out a post on social media. Katie was eyeing a couple of dogs. I thought the best plan would be for me to go to the shelter and not let her anywhere near it. I was certain whatever cute little dog existed on the website would not be there when we showed up. I was right. All of the smaller inside dogs were gone. But, naturally, Katie smelled blood.
Quietly, she started to check out puppy breeder websites. She stumbled upon one breeder in a town just south of Norman where they had a section of their website labeled “free dogs.” She made a phone call and got the scoop: the breeder has an open door policy and any dogs brought back they simply re-home. There were a couple of dogs who had recently been brought back and we were welcome to come check them out.
That’s how we met “Nala” the puggle (pug + beagle). We learned she was seven years old. She had been a former breeding momma but had since been retired. One of the owners is a veteran and he had an idea to turn Nala into a therapy dog. One of Nala’s more interesting stories is that she was trained at Friends for Folks, a dog training program ran by the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center. The dogs live with the inmates and they train them to heel, sit, stay, and lay down. For adopting Nala, we received the DVD where the inmate who trained her shows us what she has learned.
The program is a real shining star in our state where prison rates are some of the highest in the nation. Often inmates in Lexington are doing life in prison and the opportunity for them and the dog to receive reciprocated love is incredibly heart warming. If anybody gets the chance, take the opportunity to watch even a little bit of this documentary below which was produced by OCCC. If you are feeling even more love, please donate.
For the sake of privacy, I’m not going to go into the who originally adopted Nala or why she was returned. I’ll just say that we are very thankful to have her now. She’s a great addition to our family and the girls and myself have really felt the love. She’s really special and has turned melted this guy’s heart of stone.
There’s already more to the story, we made a rookie mistake and allowed her to be outside on the Fourth of July. She did what most dogs do and got scared and escaped. Of course, the good news is she found her way home. But I’m not going to write about that as it became the opening story for the latest episode of Media and the End of the World. Feel free to listen to that on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or down below: