January 4th, 2012
"He Had Me at Woof..."
Posted by Pia
That is exactly what my friend Megan had to say about Stanley, the pooch she recently adopted. And fortunately her 4 year old twin boys feel the same way about Stanley, who they affectionately refer to as, "our dog brother."
1 Stanley had some big disappointments in his younger days but fortunately they are all distant memories now that he has a dedicated and loving forever family... and 2 human brothers to watch over!
2 With 2 small humans, Megan wanted to be sure to adopt a dog who's personality and size would be a good fit for her family.
3 As a psychologist herself, Megan also knows that children learn values by what they see the adults around them doing.
4 Taking every opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others is a value that Megan wants her boys to experience.
5 She felt that adopting a dog in need of a home- and one that is already an adult and therefore a "known quantity" - is a great way to minimize potential risks to her boys and to teach the value of giving back.
6 According to Megan's husband Shawn, "The rescue group was clearly invested in placing Stanley in a home where he would be safe and happy for the long term- that assured me I was getting the honest answers I needed to make a good decision."
7 Megan agreed, "I was able to get candid answers to my questions about Stanley's temperament, compatibility and previous training. Because he was nearly full grown, I was also able to get a realistic sense of his size and nature."
8 Megan shared, "I got tons of first hand information from Stanley's foster mom and ultimately I was able give the adoption a trial run before making things official."
9 Megan added, "The rescue group who had Stanley in foster offered advice on how to best to introduce Stanley to the kids."
10 According to Megan, Stanley was already potty-trained and neutered. She added, "He had complete love and patience from the start so I was just praying that the rescue group would agree that it was a good match."
11 Megan said, "The rescue group came to our home to assure it was safe for Stanley as he was known to jump over fences when given the chance."
12 Having worked in rescue herself, Megan shared, "When the rescue group requested that we raise the height of our fence- I wasn't sure what to think- but I took a second and realized it was not a personal afront but rather a safety precaution for Stanley.."
13 When asked what stands out about Stanley, Megan remarked, "He is so patient and doesn't even try to steal food from the kids! And they are the perfect height for him to try!"
14 Megan, "The kids are so in love with Stanley- they make sure everyone knows, 'Stanley is a rescue.' They may not fully understand the concept, but they DO understand that he needed a home and we became his family. They are proud of that."
On a recent trip to California, I got to visit with my dear friend Megan and to meet the dog she refers to as, "The missing piece of our family." In addition to many other shared experiences, Megan was right by my side when she and I headed to New Orleans to participate in the post-Katrina animal rescue some years ago.
Megan is as true an animal advocate as one can be. She, and her husband Shawn, are modeling the values of compassion and personal responsibility for their boys.
Having grown up with dogs herself, Megan knows the value of bringing a dog in to the family and getting to experience the kind of connection and responsibility a companion animal can offer a child. It is also important to her that her boys learn to respect and help others in need. As a psychologist, Megan also knows that children learn and internalize values by watching the actions of the adults around them.
It is for these reasons that Megan and Shawn were certain that if they were to add a dog to the family, it would need to be by way of adoption. They wanted to offer a home to a dog in need of one and to teach their boys how important it is to respond to the needs of one you have committed to care for.
I, for one, would say they have indeed achieved these admirable goals. Having been given a firm foundation by mom and dad (...and Stanley), It will now be up to little Thomas and Jack to make use of such teachings in a way that represents their respective interpretation and experience of caring for brother Stanley.
Dr. Pia Salk
P.S. Stanley was rescued, and adopted into Megan's family, by the caring folks at rescue group, One Heart at a Time. Be sure to check out all the other little "Stanleys" in need of a loving family.
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