I’ve been rescuing animals for as long as I could remember. Ten years ago, I talked my husband (then boyfriend) into letting me adopt a little Staffordshire Bull Terrier by the name of “Skid.”
I met him on my first day of volunteering with the Humane Society of Akron. He had a gash on his head, and his two front paws had skin markings that showed where the skin was healing from being ripped off. Skid was run over and dragged two blocks under a car in a seedy part of town known for dogfighting. Luckily for him, a Good Samaritan called law enforcement, and the black and white 11-month-old pup went in the care of the Humane Society of Akron.
The pup was going to have both front legs amputated, but he ended up healing better than they thought. He went on to be a dog they humorously, and lovingly named “Skidmark” because of the reason he ended up at the shelter. They dubbed him “Skid” for short, and a month later, I sat in an orientation for volunteers at the shelter where I would soon meet him and multiple other dogs with similar pasts.
The second hour of the orientation, we were advised to walk dogs that were marked “Green” on their cage name tags because of those dogs being deemed docile enough for handling.
I recall one of the staff telling me to grab him from his cage, and he was so happy and smiley I couldn’t figure out how he had such a pleasant disposition after what he had gone through.
To say that it was love, at first sight, was a crude understatement. I walked other dogs that day and on days afterward, but Skid was the dog I came back to time and again.
Finally, after considerable thought, I talked to my other half about adopting him. We had two cats, and he was afraid of what trauma it would cause them. Both cats were adopted as well, one after being found as the only living kitten in a dumpster with a dead mother and siblings; the other lived on a farm and was going to be shot because of high veterinary bills.
I was confident after speaking to shelter staff that he’d be a good fit. He was tested with cats and was not aggressive towards them. He seemed unphased by them. I just had to talk my other half into it. He had met with multiple families before I adopted him, but because he was older and still chewing things; most families with smaller children opted to get other dogs instead. I had waited three months for my then-boyfriend, to agree to adopt because he also had severe allergies to dogs. It seemed like the odds were stacked against me, and after meeting “Skid,” my boyfriend agreed to give it a two-week trial.
My boyfriend was at a sporting event on the weekend of July 29, when I had my sister go with me to pick Skid up. There was this strange nervousness that came over me that morning as I excitedly prepared for his arrival. I had dog den, dishes, treats & food all prepared for him.
When I arrived at the shelter they told me he had been sleeping most of the morning; he had also become rowdier in the few months he was at the shelter. He was growing frustrated and fearful of situations, even though the staff was excellent. That’s how it is with shelter animals. They don’t like being in cages all day.
When I arrived, I stood in the lobby and waited. Skid was his usual loud self, and when they told him he could come home with me, he seemed to understand.
I signed his papers, got a free bag of food, and a new license, and off we went.
It was a rough couple of days, as he didn’t enjoy crate training, and with each whine, he tugged at my heartstrings. Finally, he got used to it, and a funny thing happened, he got very close to my husband.
Within a few months, I was being interviewed by a news station on behalf of the shelter. My dog, Skid, turned out to have been a shelter favorite he was famous!
We did try new names, but in a way, it was a name that just fit. Today our Skid turns 10, and I honor his tenth birthday as the day of his adoption. Nine years ago today, my life changed, for the better.
One thing I cannot say enough is that over the years, the staff at the Humane Society of Akron have been there if I ever had questions. They don’t just adopt animals; they have instructors, classes, and people there to help you get through rough patches. Animal shelter staff doesn’t want those animals back, as mean as that sounds, they want you to invest in the animals you decide are going to be a part of your family. It’s not easy, and that is why they are there.
Our dog, Skid, started with the deck stacked against him, but he’s now a thriving (my nice way of saying spoiled) member of our family. That is why it is so important to adopt, and it’s so important to volunteer.
So to anyone that has ever rescued an animal, loved an animal, volunteered cheers to you and happy birthday to my sweet boy who turns ten today!