Why Adopting A Senior Beagle Was The Best Decision Ever

Why Adopting A Senior Beagle Was The Best Decision Ever

Making a difference in this sweet pup's destiny is the best thing that I have ever done.
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On June 5, 2014, my life changed for the better when the most perfect dog to ever walk the planet ran right into my heart and into my home. When I was a kid, I got my very first puppy, a collie named Jessie. I tragically lost her after six short years due to a wrongly diagnosed ear infection, and I still have not forgiven that veterinarian. I was heartbroken. After my family got over the loss of Jessie, we had to get a companion dog for our sheltie, Snowflake, so we rescued a lab mix puppy from a local shelter and Chase became a part of our family. Unfortunately, Snowflake and Chase didn't get along very well due to Chase's need for all of the humans' attention, and we ended up rehoming Chase to a place where he would be able to get as much attention as he needed.

So we lived the "one dog" life for a while, but we could tell Snowflake was lonely while my sister and I were at school and my parents were at work. After a lot of thinking about what to adopt, we decided to do a good deed and rescue an older dog from a shelter where it may not have any luck with getting adopted. Since I was the one who lost Jessie and then had to give up Chase, I got to pick out the dog. As I walked through the shelter, my heart broke to see all of the dogs with the sad looks in their eyes and to hear the sound of all of them barking, as if to say "please pick me!" My mom pointed me in the direction of some smaller, fluffy dogs, and I liked them, but I really wanted a dog I could do outdoor activities with and take to the barn where I rode horses. I also wanted a dog that wouldn't necessarily be the first one chosen, after all, we were trying to rescue one that was truly in need.

I walked near some larger dogs, and a few lab mixes and German shepherds nearly stole my heart, but I felt a dog panting, and looked up to see what was blowing all of that hot air on me. That's when I saw the dog. "That's the one!" I said excitedly to my mom and sister, who both looked pretty skeptical about the beagle I had just picked out. He had the happiest look on his face and when we were able to take him out to play with in an outdoor pen, he just seemed to be grinning from ear to ear.

I was dead set on bringing this dog home. He was perfect: so sweet, older, and very playful. The shelter was hosting an event that would allow free adoptions in about a week, so we elected to come back and officially fill out the adoption paperwork when it would be cheaper. Secretly, my mom was really wishing that I would change my mind. The research she had done on beagles was not making her want to bring one into the house. Every website said that they would be loud, overly rambunctious, and smelly.

During the week before the event, my mom kept asking me if I was sure about this dog. Honestly, there was just something in my gut telling me that he would be the perfect fit for our family. My mom predicted that he would bark too much or smell too bad and that we'd have to take him back to the shelter. I won't let that happen, I thought to myself, I will wash him every day and train him not to bark if I have to, I'm keeping this dog home with me.

The day rolled around, and we went to the shelter to fill out the adoption paperwork. I decided to name him Rowdy, and was elated to bring him home. We had to wait for him to be neutered and vaccinated, which added another week of waiting onto us. I picked up my paycheck and decided to go shopping and get a bunch of things that he would like. I picked out toys, frisbees, a new collar and leash, and of course a tag with his name and my phone number on it.

When it was finally time to pick him up to come to his forever home, I ran out of school, hopped in my car and drove straight to the shelter, so eager to pick up my new best friend. He smelled pretty bad, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt since he had just lived in a shelter for the past six months. The staff shared that they had found him tied up in a parking lot, starving and shaking. The kind man who escorted Rowdy out to me said with a tear in his eye, "Thank you for taking this dog. He's one of the best we have here and the most overlooked. Take good care of him." I decided from that second that I could not let that man down, I had to turn Rowdy into the perfect dog.

As it turns out, he already was the perfect dog. After a nice bath, I took him up to my room before we could properly introduce him to Snowflake. I found out in the first few seconds not only that he already knew how to sit and stay, but also that he loves human beds, and that was fine with me, I love a dog that will sleep in the bed with me. Before Rowdy, I had never met a dog that literally wagged his tail in his sleep. I could tell he was absolutely ecstatic to have a place to call home. He was also completely house trained, and the quietest dog I had ever met, he literally did not bark once.

When my mom got home from work, she immediately realized how special he was. While the websites talking about his breed may have said one thing, he proved that you should never judge a book by his cover. She quickly fell in love with Rowdy, as did our entire family. We were all a little nervous about how Snowflake would get along with him, but they hit it off as soon as they met.

They both seemed to have a smile on their faces after they were introduced. It was so heartwarming to see Rowdy so happy and healthy and to think about how very unhappy and unhealthy that he was for so very long. I knew that I had made the right choice, and my mom felt really guilty for trying to talk me out of adopting him. In fact, if you ask her about it today, she will deny ever saying one negative thing about Rowdy.

I'm off to college now, so he's at home with the rest of my family, but I definitely miss him the most and look forward to seeing him when I come home. Whenever I video chat with my sister, I make sure to talk to Rowdy for a few minutes. He may not be able to talk back, but I'm sure that he is listening.

After adopting this older, overlooked dog from my local animal shelter, I will honestly say that I will never purchase a dog from a breeder again. Not only is it much less expensive, it's super amazing to be able to have such a great feeling in your heart, knowing that you did a great deed for this animal. The motto of this long story? Adopt: don't shop. There are millions of unwanted, abused, scared, overlooked dogs and cats in shelters just waiting to find the perfect home. A lot of these dogs come to you completely house trained, or knowing commands or manners, and if not, a little TLC goes a long way.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Hall

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.

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As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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