Last Friday I adopted a new dog. She's actually a 1 year old dog who arrived in Maine from Alabama on Wednesday, September 26th. I visited her that day. See, her face appeared on my facebook stream as one of a group of dogs on their way to find new homes here. Interestingly, she reminded me of both my previous dogs. I lost Guinness at nearly 17 years old back in April, and I was planning to give myself a break from dog ownership mostly because I am starting yoga teacher training and I thought when I finish in the spring the timing might be better. A few days prior I put a picture of Guinness by my Buddha and then Paisley's adoption photo showed itself online. Her face reminded me of him, but her coloring was like my border collie and I had her pegged for a border-husky. She might in fact be since later I saw her listed as a husky mix. On the day I went to see her I put a treat in front of Guinness's picture as if to ask for his blessing if this was the right match!
I decided to go greet the new dogs on arrival day and filled out an application online just in case. One of the shelter workers contacted me to introduce herself. I told her I'd be late but I wanted to meet this dog who looked like my others. And so I went.
Paisley, now known as Ainsley, was very shy and cautious. She was overwhelmed by the new experience. I recognized this from experiences with my border collie, Sully, so I gave her lots of space and time. And I thought maybe. I went home and thought more about it and talked it over . On Friday when she was ready, and after a walk and some time spent with her, Ainsley came to her forever home!
You really don't know what you're getting when you adopt an animal, and we really lucked out! Ainsley is lovable and well mannered just like her foster home said. She wants love more than she wants play, and she is coming out of her shell more and more every day. She likes going places so we've been exploring from the beach to the farmer's market to Planet Dog and the neighborhood. Love and reassurance are building her confidence after so much change and probably loss. She was raised with hound puppies and a mother and she likes other dogs and must have been well fostered because she is house trained, likes to be crated and is patient. She sits and responds to her name, walks well on leash and comes when called. The other commands will take some training, but she loves her people and praise so it shouldn't be hard to get to the next level with her.
There were other great dogs in the bunch that came from the south, including a black lab mix and a chocolate lab mix and a jack russell who's dying to get out and show his agility. A couple were adopted the same day we were there.
Also there are plenty of cats and this month has been renamed Adoptober at CHS and you can adopt a cat 6 months or older with no adoption fee this month. You get a cat and they can make some room for animals who need the shelter! It's a win win situation!
Coastal Humane Society staff was so helpful and thoughtful. We were very concerned about our dominant, active female cat acting out with the new dog, so we asked about that. Jane, who works in marketing for the shelter and is a self proclaimed "cat person" and Karen Stimson, Executive Director, who has cats and has introduced dogs to her home too, explained how to best introduce the two animals. We felt more comfortable when they told us what to expect and some techniques we could try. As it turns out, there was no hissing or upset and the two are cohabitating peacefully, but having some information put our minds more at ease and made us feel more in control coming home with a new dog.
If you do adopt, CHS makes sure the animal is ready, has had the medication it needs, is clean, and has had a test to see how it responds in certain situations. We received so much information about Ainsley even though they had her just two days. We got a copy of her story from the foster family and all the info they had on her. They also offer pet insurance for a brief time and a list of vets who do discounted or complimentary first wellness visits. We left with tags, a collar and leash. Our process was very thorough and we felt confident and well informed leaving with her!
Here are a few of the animals. The cats are there already and these are the newest dogs who arrive on October 5th. Go to CHS website for applications! Or visit and see if there's a new friend there for you.