Providing salvation from 'ruff' lives


Money can be barrier to many things, such as pets, but several students have discovered an inexpensive yet rewarding method of adopting a dog.

There are various methods of adoption such as from an animal shelter or through a private agreement. Senior Sarah Walden adopted her dog from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter when she was a child and said she fell in love with her not long after.

“It”s a fairly simple process,” Walden said. “[Adoption] is cheaper and it feels good to be able to give a dog a home from the pound.

Senior Karina Bayless’ family currently owns two black Labrador Retrievers they rescued in 2009. She said they chose adoption because they wanted to provide a better life and home for a dog.

“It is a great thing to do, giving these animals a better life and taking care of them when someone else wasn’t able to anymore,” Bayless said.

Bayless’ dog, Maya, came from a family that could not take care of her anymore. Because she came from the mountains, the family had to treat to her lime disease and ticks. Bayless’ sister’s dog, Shadow, came from New Orleans as a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. It took a while for her to get accustomed, starting with learning not to jump whenever someone sneezed.

“Shadow was very skittish when we got her,” Bayless said. “She grew to be more comfortable with different things over time.”

Senior Dayton Landew’s half German Shepard and half Grey Wolf, Leda, was similarly skittish and cautious of other people. Because she had been a stray dog and abused by her previous owners, she was both not used to being around people and afraid. Nonetheless, Landew’s family found something unique in Leda.

“At first, we were thinking about just buying a dog,” Landew said. “But we found something so different about her; she had a unique personality and intelligence. Even though she was afraid, she bonded quickly with our family and our other dog,” he said.

Bayless said adopted dogs are unique and different from bought pets because of the previous life the dog may have had, which in many occurrences are dreadful. Therefore, as an owner, taking care of adopted dogs is a special experience.

“We have to remember they had a previous life and other experiences,” Bayless said. “You have to be patient with them because they are used to a different lifestyle and different expectations.”

Landew, Bayless and Walden said they all strongly advise adoption, not only because it is less expensive, but because doing so provides a home for a dog that may not be taken on otherwise.
“It’s better to give a dog a home that’s just sitting in the pound,” Walden said. “Otherwise, the dogs may not even be able to live.”