This is the first National Pet Day that I can actually celebrate with a pet! Growing up, I never had pets besides goldfish, and they didn’t typically last long. Even if I did happen to have a goldfish at the same time as National Pet Day, I am not 100% sure I knew what it was. But I appreciate any reason to celebrate, especially my beautiful little pup. It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, I become a dog mom.
Rescuing a puppy was something that Jeff and I discussed for a while. We knew that we wanted to be dog parents. Both of us working from home thanks to the pandemic in 2020. That’s why we figured that there was no better time to bring a pup and some more love into our lives. We had talked about it a few times early on in 2020. But we didn’t take the first step towards adoption until late September.
For the past few years, Jeff and I had talked about getting a dog. As I mentioned, my prior experience with caring for pets didn’t go beyond goldfish. Thankfully, Jeff grew up with a family dog, so he had some experience caring for a dog. He also had more of a preference for types of dogs he might want. His first choice is a Saint Bernard. I was able to convince him that likely wouldn’t be the best choice for apartment living, let alone our first dog. We looked into a few different breeds. We eventually decided that since having a specific breed of dog wasn’t as important to us as having a dog, we though rescuing a pup might be a great option. Obviously, we still had a choice in which dog we would eventually rescue. We just knew that we didn’t need to go to a breeder to find our perfect pet.
Besides not having a specific breed in mind, there was another reason rescuing seemed like the best option for us. We were always seeing commercials for mistreated pets or pets looking for homes from the Humane Society. We know that there’s so many animals out there looking for a safe, reliable, and comfortable home. The exact type of home we knew we would give our future pup. On a random weekend, I started looking at different puppies available for adoption in our area on Pet Finder. It was then that we came across JR’s Pups N Stuff Rescue in West Allis, WI. After doing some research on JR’s and chatting with some of our friends, we realized we knew a lot of people who had rescued dogs from there as well. That made it an easy decision to apply to adopt a pup from them.
After we submitted our application, we waited to be contacted for an interview. It took a few weeks to schedule a call with a volunteer at JR’s, and get our application approved. Everyone who works with JR’s or fosters their pets are volunteers and they’re always busy. But it’s safe to say, they’ve had a lot more interest in adoption in 2020. Once your application to adopt is approved, you maintain your approval status for a year. That’s true unless you have some changes in your life like moving, adding a new pet, adding a new family member, etc. Once approved, Jeff and I continued to monitor the JR’s website and Facebook group for new puppies that were available.
It wasn’t until mid-December that we saw a few we wanted to meet. One day, a lot of new puppies were posted on the website. JR’s requires adopters to meet the animals and the foster in person to determine whether or not there’s a good connection. This helps ensure that it makes sense for both the pet and the adopters to move forward with the adoption. When we saw all of the new puppies, we quickly made a list of a few that caught our eye. We immediately reached out to JR’s to confirm our interest and get in contact with the fosters to schedule a meeting.
Since there was a large intake of puppies at that point, we created a list of 10 or so that we liked. Though 10 seemed like a few too many to send over to JR’s to meet with. We tried to narrow that list down to 5 to make it a little more reasonable. To be honest, Milla wasn’t on the narrowed down list that we sent to JR’s, but more on that later. Unfortunately, we were told that 1 of the puppies on our list was already on his way to being adopted. And then we found out that another had a breed mixed in that we can’t have in our apartment complex. Thankfully, 2 of the puppies on our list were still available and were being fostered together. Once we got in touch with the foster, were able to schedule a meeting for that same weekend. Needless to say, Jeff and I were very excited.
Going into our meeting with the foster and the puppies, we were a mixture of nerves and excitement. We knew we were ready for puppy parenthood, but we still didn’t quite know what to expect. Would the puppies like us? Would the foster see that we had a great connection with one of the pups to be approved to adopt? There was nothing we could do besides wait and see. Upon arriving at the foster’s home, we exchanged greetings and jumped right in to meeting the puppies. We met each of the two puppies one at a time. After some snuggles and sniffs and belly rubs, each of the puppies went back on with their business. It wasn’t quite the instant connection we were hoping for. Trying not to feel too discouraged by the quick meetings with each of the puppies, we chatted a bit more with the foster.
Thankfully, our meeting with the puppies wasn’t over yet. The foster reminded us that she was fostering another puppy, a sibling of the two we met already. She wasn’t on our narrowed down list, but was on the original list of puppies that caught our eye. That’s when we first met Milla (formerly known as Savannah). Jeff and I have so much gratitude for that moment. She was the sweetest little pup. She came in for a belly rug, snuggled up right between us on the couch, and never left our side. Even when we were getting ready to leave and Jeff put her down off of his lap, she curled up right on top of his feet. It was an instant connection. Even the foster said she hasn’t seen such a sweet meeting with adopters and a pup in a long time. At one point I even asked if we just take her with us that day.
Jeff and I drove home from the meeting just smitten. We had our fingers crossed that we would get the approval to adopt Milla (FKA Savannah) the next day. We already had a few names picked out for future pups. But they didn’t quite feel right for the little lady pup we had just met. I began looking at other options. I’ve always loved the idea of using traditional Finnish names for my future children and pets. I came across a few, but Jeff and I both fell in love with the name Milla. Now we just had to wait and see what would happen next.
Not too surprisingly, we got the text the following morning that the foster definitely approved us to adopt Milla. We truly believe that she picked us, and everything happened along this journey to bring her into our lives. So then we just had to get ready to bring her home. Once the initial papers were signed and the adoption fee was paid, we would be picking her up the following weekend.
I would be lying if I said I had any idea how much “stuff” you need when you’re bringing a puppy home. And how much cute “stuff” there is out there for puppies. Thankfully, we have a lot of friends with dogs who gave us all of the details on what you don’t need that you might think you need, and what you didn’t expect to need that you actually need. Also, Chewy has a quick delivery time. So we placed an order for collars, leashes, crates, beds, (so many) toys, treats, and a few bandanas, obviously.
We also live a block away from Mac’s Pet Depot Barkery in Bay View. There we found Milla’s favorite pet food and tons of other stuff there as well. We spent the next few days “puppy-proofing” our apartment. That basically meant finding spaces to organize all of Milla’s food, where to put her crate and food bowls, and getting gates up to keep our new pup out of our carpeted rooms for the time being.
The next few days felt like a blur and that they took forever at the same time. We were so excited to bring Milla home the next weekend. Though we still felt like we had a lot to do to get ready for her. Just like anything in life, you’re never 100% ready. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow and do the best you can. The following Saturday, we returned back to the foster’s home to sign the final paperwork. It was comforting to see that she was excited to see us! She did get a little nervous getting into the car and on the car ride home.
Thankfully, she acclimated quickly to her new home. From what we understand, we had it pretty easy with Milla. Compared to other pups first few nights in their new home, she didn’t cry and willingly slept in her crate. Sure, we had a couple of accidents and late-night trips outside for a bathroom break. Overall, we had minimal issues with her crying or behaving poorly. She truly is a wonderful pup and has been such an amazing addition to mine and Jeff’s lives.
Photo Credit: Moon & Wolf Co