Adopting Our Lab, Logan

When my wife emailed me this photo and said this was the dog she wanted to adopt I have to admit, I was a little surprised. Erica had never owned a dog, and here she was ready to commit to a cute photo and brief description from the internet. But I also have to admit that after seeing that picture, I too, wanted to bring him home. I grew up with a variety of dogs, golden retrievers, specifically—Sunny, Rusty, Casey, Skye, Kodi—but they were really my parents’ dogs. Logan was our first dog in the truest sense of the word. Our responsibility. Our commitment. Our boy.

We adopted Logan through an organization called Patriot Lab Rescue. They were based in nearby New Hampshire, so we figured we’d be able to meet Logan, get to know him, and take him home. We quickly discovered that it wasn’t that simple. Patriot Lab, although based in the Northeast, rescues dogs from kill shelters, places them in foster homes, and then puts them up for adoption. We learned that Logan was rescued from a shelter in Tennessee and was living with a foster family there. We applied to adopt him, and, after a grueling weeklong wait, were finally given the phone number of the foster family.

Our phone conversation was, to say the least, stressful. We didn’t want to say the wrong thing or give the wrong impression. We asked intelligent questions. We listened attentively. Everything we learned about Logan during that call was exactly what we wanted to hear: good disposition, great with kids, laid back, etc. After an hour (I kid you not), we finally asked the foster “mom” what the next steps in the adoption process were, hoping that we “passed the test.” We already felt like he was ours. In our minds, at that point, not getting Logan would have been too much to bear. She responded, “Oh, he’s yours. Once Patriot Lab gave you my number he was yours.”

Relief. Now how would we get him? I imagined a long road trip to Tennessee and an even longer road trip back to Vermont with a dog who didn’t know us. As it turned out, there was a transport service that would bring Logan to New Hampshire the following weekend. Seven days later, we arrived at a Park-&-Ride lot off of Route 91 and watched as a pickup truck, pulling an air-conditioned 5th-wheel horse trailer loaded with dogs, pulled in.

Logan was in crate #16, right by the door, yawning nervously. The attendant passed his lead to me and said, “Watch out, he’s a jumper.” I gripped the lead, expecting the worst.

But Logan didn’t jump, and he didn’t look back. We took him for a walk around the lot and then back to our car. We opened the tailgate, and he leapt right in. And just like that, we had ourselves a dog.

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