Happy Adoption Day, Brewer!
Exactly one year and two days ago, a shy, gentle little stray pup found his way into our home forever. But our story together starts about a month before that, in February of 2012. After getting picked up by animal control in San Bernadino, this stray had four days to get adopted or face euthanasia. Luckily for him, he had a cute face that won over the hearts of a dozen animal rescue workers who pooled their resources together to pull him out of the high-kill Devore shelter and transport him all the way down to a foster home in San Diego. He was a little over 20lbs underweight when he arrived and his foster parents slowly started nursing him back to health through mange and fleas and a few wounds from his life as a stray.
After several weeks in their care, they posted his photo and story on Craigslist. At that point, I was obsessively searching for a dog. Having lost my furry best friend of 11 years, Coal, to cancer that past January, two months proved too much time for me to be without a pup. But finding the right dog was a PROCESS. And there were a few missteps. I fostered an 11-week-old puppy for a night, thinking that I wanted to raise my next dog from puppyhood. Many sleepless hours later, I knew that a puppy wasn't the quite the right fit. I met a few adult dogs off Craigslist and PetFinder, but I didn't really connect with any of them. That's when I saw Brewer, who back then was named Charlie. The moment I saw his picture, I knew.
Brewer's foster mom (who happened to leave 5 blocks away!) left him with us for a few hours for a trial run later that night. Ryan and I took him on a walk around the neighborhood and we were surprised by how well he did on the leash. He was calm and sweet and reserved, but friendly. When his foster mom came to pick him up, she was shocked to hear that he hadn't whined or freaked out when she left - we were the first people he'd been alone with that he'd seemed to like. I told her I wanted to adopt him and me and Ryan headed to PetSmart to pick up his things.
The night before Brewer came home for good is a great memory. We stayed home drinking Bud Light Limes and brainstorming up a name for him. 'Ranger' and 'Sawyer' were both on the list, but we weren't sold. By Saturday, the day I was going to pick Brewer up and bring him home, we still didn't have a name. Ryan went to work and we texted suggestions back and forth all morning. The name 'Brewer' came to me out of nowhere and just as I was texting it to Ryan, a text message from him appeared on my screen: "What about Brewer?" I couldn't have been more shocked or more convinced that we had named him.
Brewer's first month at home wasn't exactly smooth sailing. His health still wasn't great: he was 15lbs underweight and had giardia. When he finally let me touch his stomach, I discovered that the shelter had left his stitches in after he was neutered and the skin around them was infected and scarred. He also had terrible, terrible separation anxiety. One day I came home on my lunch break to find that he had eaten the doorframe and clawed his way through the stucco wall next to the front door. I was still living with one of my best friends at the time and he owned the house. I called Ryan shaking when I found Brewer amidst the debris and he rushed right over from work because I was too scared to go upstairs and see if there was damage elsewhere. Luckily, there wasn't. It wasn't the best start. But I had faith.
Now I can't believe it's been over a year since we've had Brewer in our lives! He's healthy and happy and really bonding with his new little brother, Banjo. He is endlessly gentle with other dogs and people, especially kids. In the year since he came home, he's gotten all the way up to a healthy 50lbs, gotten a yard of his very own, traveled with us to Big Sur, and been the main attraction at every dog-friendly bar we go to. I still get choked up every time I think about what his life must have been like before we got him and how grateful I am for the people who work to rescue dogs like him every day. I can't wait to get home and give him a (belated) adoption day hug. :)
Do you have rescue dogs? I'd love to know your rescue story!