Do you believe in signs? I’m not talking about road signs or astrological ones. I mean signs, as in those subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle), gentle nudges from the universe that can help point us in the right direction, confirm our decisions, or just offer us a sense of hope.
I am sure right about now some of you may be rolling your eyes. Hey, I get it. I am a natural-born skeptic myself. I trust … but only if verified. Except when it comes to signs. When it comes to signs, I believe in what Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung termed “synchronicity” or “meaningful coincidences” – things that occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.
I believe that it was synchronicity that brought our new furry four-legged family member, Skip, to us.
I wasn’t looking to adopt another dog. I was perfectly happy with our Miniature Pinscher/Shibu Innu/Terrier mutt we got from a rescue eight years ago. Stanley is the best dog. Sure, he has an underbite and snaggletooth that has scared a few children. Yes, he gets carsick and most likely qualifies for a General Anxiety Disorder diagnosis. But, he is quirky and sweet and fits in perfectly with our crazy family. There was no way we would ever be able to find another Stanley, so why bother trying was my thinking. But those darn SIGNS began popping up. At first, I admit, I didn’t see them.
It started in November when Stanley started limping. We took him to the vet and found out that Stanley has arthritis. The doctor prescribed meds to reduce the inflammation and vitamins for his joints. “Oh, and you might want to get another dog,” the doctor joked with us. “You know, to keep him young and active.” To which I quickly replied, “Stanley is all we need.”
December brought with it the holidays, all the chaos that goes with it, and Sign #2. The day after Christmas, I was online trying to see if there were any good sales when I saw a headline for a story that had gone viral about a noseless dog named Sniffles who was looking for a home. I had to read on.
Sniffles was originally from Puerto Rico, where he was a stray who lost his nose after being attacked by a group of dogs. A rescue there raised money and sent him to Florida to have surgery, and he was said to have been adopted. But, in early December, Sniffles was found once again on the streets by Orange County Animal Services, who turned him over to Poodle and Pooch Rescue because of all his health issues. My “we don’t need another dog” heart began to melt. But then, winter break ended, and the kids went back to school, and I forgot about Sniffles and the idea of adopting. Until…
One Saturday morning, a few days later, a strange car was parked right in front of my house. The driver got out along with a beautiful chocolate Lab. They started to walk up our walkway, then realized they made a mistake and walked down the street to our neighbors. (In case you are keeping track, Sign #3 is about to happen.) That was when we saw the name on the side of the parked car, Houndhaven Inc. My husband looked at me, and I knew immediately what he was thinking. “We are not adopting another dog,” I said in an unconvincing voice and walked into my office, where I logged onto Petfinder.com to investigate adopting another dog.
Petfinder is an online, searchable database of animals who need homes and the more than 11,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico that have taken them in. I put in what I was looking for: small, young, adult dog already house trained in the Central Florida area. Page after page of adorable fur babies appeared on my screen. It was a bit overwhelming. How was I supposed to find OUR dog? That was when my computer glitched and went black (here comes Sign #4) and when it came back on, I saw SKIP: a MinPin/Chihuahua mix! He looked like a tiny tan version of Stanley and, somehow, I just knew that he was meant to be ours. So, we adopted him!
But wait, there was one more sign that happened while I was writing this article that proves that Skip is indeed meant to be ours and I was indeed meant to write this article. I wanted to include a quote at the end of this piece that reminded me of synchronicity. I found this one, “The greatest secrets are always hidden in the places where you are most likely to think you won’t find them.” I knew it was by Roald Dahl, but did not know from which of his books, so I looked it up. To my surprise, I found out that the quote I picked was from the very last book he ever wrote called, are you ready for this… The Minpins. (Both Stanley and Skip are MinPin mixes! Sign #5!)
If the SIGNS are pointing you toward getting a dog, too, please consider adopting. There are thousands and thousands of dogs and cats that need a forever family. You can start your search by using a site like Petfinder.com or go directly to the many local rescue or adoption organization websites. To help you out, I have included the information for the organizations I mentioned in this article.
Orange County Animal Services (www.orangecountyanimalservicesfl.net) is the only open admission shelter in Orange County, which means that it does not turn away any animal, regardless of their temperament or health. The shelter is located at 2769 Conroy Rd., Orlando, 32839.
Poodles and Pooch Rescue (https://www.poodleandpoochrescue.org) is where Skip and Sniffles came from, and they rescue the “leftovers” from animal control, the dogs that nobody wants because they’re older or suffer from neglect, abuse or have a medical need.
Houndhaven Inc. (https://www.houndhaven.org) rescues dogs and puppies from euthanasia at kill shelters.