February 03, 2021

Six-Year Adoptaversary!

I had to do the math several times (especially considering I thought I was turning 40 this year, hahaha), but I realized that today marks six years since we adopted Joey! I cannot believe he's been with us that long.

It feels like only yesterday that Jerry and I went to the animal shelter to check out the dogs. Our boys were at the age where I felt like a dog would be great for them. I was also lonely sometimes at night when Jerry was working the night shift, and I thought a dog would help. At the time, though, I was actually scared of dogs! I'd been bitten on three separate occasions while out for runs. I wanted to get over that fear, though.

After looking at the shelter dogs online, I was pretty sure that I wanted a miniature whippet who was at the local shelter. We walked through the aisles of dogs in cages (it was so sad!) and I passed up Joey's cage. Jerry told me to wait a second, and then told the woman working there that we'd like to see that dog, too. All-in-all, we chose to check out four dogs in a private room. 

The first dog to come in was a foxhound. He was SO sweet. He didn't jump or bark. He just loved on us and rolled over to let us pet his belly. I was instantly in love and would have adopted him right then and there. But Jerry was really interested in the random black dog that I'd passed up.

He came into the room after the foxhound, and Jerry was the one to fall in love with him. He was sweet--he didn't bark, which was great, and he wasn't hyper. He just seemed happy to be there. Before any other dogs came in, Jerry said he really wanted him.

Jerry NEVER insists on anything (he leaves everything up to me), so I really took notice of that. I liked that he had such a strong opinion! All we knew was that Joey was a lab/chow mix... I knew about labs from my research on breeds, but knew nothing about chow chows. Anyway, I agreed and told Jerry that if he really wanted that dog, it was cool with me.

And that's how we got Joey :)  (His name was "Louie" at the time).

The first thing we did was give him a bath. He smelled terrible! And he looked like a brand new dog when we were done.

The kids were THRILLED. Eli always said that he wanted a black dog, and I think Joey could sense right away that Eli was a total animal lover. Joey has slept in Eli's bed ever since!

At first, Joey had anxiety (as a lot of shelter dogs do). He'd been at the shelter for three months. We quickly discovered that he liked to chew things when we weren't home. As much as I didn't want to, we got a dog crate to put him in when we weren't home (thankfully, that wasn't often, because I am a stay-at-home mom).

I will never forget when he chewed up the corner of our sectional couch! I spent a few hours hand-stitching it back together ;)

One time, we drove all the way to my sister's house in Rockford, Illinois. She ADORES dogs, and insisted we bring Joey. One night, we went out to dinner and I told Jeanie that we would need to put Joey in a crate because I didn't want him to chew up her house. She kept saying that he'd be fine, we wouldn't be gone long, he'd have her dogs to play with, etc. She was insistent that we do not crate him, despite my warnings that he would chew something.

We went out to dinner, and I was on edge the entire time. When we got to her house, we walked into her living room and it looked like a bomb had gone off in there--Joey had chewed up her dogs' bed! We all laughed about it, and I got to say, "I told you so!" (Jeanie was totally cool about it.)

Thankfully, Joey got more comfortable with us and he trusted that we were coming home when we left. He stopped chewing things. I was so happy when we got rid of his crate. He just needed time to adjust.

Joey is a "people dog"... he likes to be with his people, no matter what. We don't have a fenced-in yard, but Joey doesn't like to be outside without his people. So we can let him outside to go to the bathroom, but he comes right back inside.

When we take him for walks, we can let him off leash in parks and he stays within a close range of us. When I tell him to come, he comes to me and lets me leash him. 

He loves to play in the water! But only if it's shallow water. He won't swim in water that's deeper than his chest. His very favorite "game" in the world is standing at the shore of the lake, waiting for you to throw rocks into the water. He jumps toward the rocks, like he's going to get it, but then he turns right back to you, waiting for another. It's SO ANNOYING--hahaha, he will literally do it all day long.

Joey is truly a GREAT dog. He's super well-behaved. My parents and my sister have said that if we should ever have to re-home him, they would take him in a heartbeat. (No, that won't be happening.)

Joey even gets along with the cats as if he IS one. Poor dog lets the cats take charge ;)  He's really bonded with Chick for some reason--the two of them play together and even nap together. But I think Phoebe is his favorite. At night, he always sleeps with Eli, who is his special buddy--his favorite person. Phoebe sleeps with them, too. Eli adores Joey more than anything in the world.

While I am definitely a cat person, I am 100% sure that I couldn't ask for a better dog. Joey is so well-behaved and loving and just has a great personality. Jerry and I have both agreed that he's the only dog we'll ever own (we're both "cat people")... mainly because there is probably not a dog in existence that is as good as Joey!

I don't know what Joey's backstory is (where he came from, other than his stay at the shelter). But he definitely has a great life now. He walks five miles a day with me, gets spoiled by his grandparents with table scraps, takes up 2/3 of Eli's bed when he sleeps, and has four cats to play with ;)

It's been a very short six years since we adopted him! But I am SO glad that Jerry chose that day to be a little insistent and really speak his mind. I'm sure the foxhound was fantastic, and even the whippet we never saw, but Joey is the perfect dog for us.

As much as I hate sounding like a walking advertisement for "adopt don't shop", I mean it--PLEASE consider getting your pets from a shelter instead of a breeder or an ad on Craigslist or a sign on the side of the road. Shelter pets need homes so badly and they are often overlooked because people "don't know what their background is".

When you adopt from a shelter, you are saving TWO pets. You are taking home and loving and caring for one, and you are also opening a spot for another pet to stay at the shelter until someone picks them. 

We didn't know Joey's background, but we learned quickly that it doesn't matter (at least in his case). He had some anxiety issues in the beginning, but who wouldn't after being abandoned at a shelter?

Also, black dogs are the least likely to find homes... how sad is that?! They are considered to be less photographic. I beg to differ! ;)

If you are considering getting a pet (dog or cat!) PLEASE check out your local animal shelter. You may have to look for a few months until you find the right pet for you and/or your family, but it's totally worth it. I believe that shelter pets know that they were "chosen" and they love you even more for choosing them :)


  1. I have a black rescue doggo and she is a lil weirdo and a perfect fit for our family :) We've had her for 5 years <3 We also have 2 rescue cats!

  2. We've had our black rescue dog for 2.5 years now--he's a monster, but we're so glad he's ours! He and our rescue cat play very silly games together. I don't know what we'd do without our furry friends.

  3. Thank you so much for talking about animal rescue - it’s so so so important! Our dog and cat are both rescues and they’re absolutely wonderful.

  4. We adopted a Husky/Malamute mix in November, and while our experience hasn't been quite as smooth as yours thus far, we don't regret our decision for a second! Our Titan has a number of behavioral issues...but he also comes with a number of GOOD behaviors, and we have to be thankful for that. I can't imagine buying a dog from a breeder -- the thought of these sweet puppers languishing in shelters absolutely breaks my heart. Thank you for giving Joey a loving home! We are working with a behaviorist to make sure we are (properly) doing the same with Titan :)

  5. Gosh I love rescue stories! And Joey is so perfect for you guys! I say the same thing about my rescue girl, that I don't know if we'll ever find another dog as perfect as she is! But I know I'll have to try because I need to have a dog by my side for life ;) I'm hoping to get Lizzie a sibling (dog variety, not human lmao) after my sisters wedding this summer. I already started looking at a couple of local rescue sites but I think I need to stop because I want to adopt them all right now!

  6. Over the years we have had 4 black dogs. The latest is Bella. We adopted her at 9 years old from the local shelter and we love her so much!

  7. Awww...Happy Gotcha Day to Joey! We got our Crouton from a local shelter too. I agree, it's the best! Adopt don't shop! Although thanks to the pandemic we had to wait a long time for her because the dogs were being adopted super quick! That's a great problem for the pups!

  8. Happy Adoptiversary to all of you! As a shelter volunteer, I totally agree with "Adopt, don't shop!" I can't believe it's been 6 years either. 😂

    I love seeing all the pictures of Joey and am so happy that you allowed him time to settle in with your family, even though things weren't perfect at first. I also think it's hilarious that Phoebe loves Joey when she has been so persnickety about Chick and Duck.

    We have a black pit mix that has been at our shelter for almost 2 years now. If you can send out some "adoption vibes" for him, that would be awesome. He's a really sweet dog, very smart, and gets along with most dogs.

  9. Omgosh 6 years?!?! I remember your posts when you got him. What a good boy!

    Rescues and mixed breeds make some of the very best friends!

  10. I LOVE a great dog story. Yay for you and yay for Joey! Such a win all around.

  11. What a wonderful love story. I’m a dog person who also loves cats. I just think pets make our lives better!

  12. What a wonderful love story. I’m a dog person who also loves cats. I just think pets make our lives better!

  13. What a wonderful dog you have and what a wonderful family Joey has! So glad for all of you!

  14. I love these dog stories! Joey is so cute and so lucky you found him. We have a rescue Maltese mix and I'm madly in love with her! My husband didn't want a rescue dog but I talked him into it. He instantly fell in love with her as well.

  15. Love this post....Joey is very lucky!

  16. Love reading this! Joey is very lucky!


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