We LOVE dogs. We have had so many wonderful dogs over the course of our lives, both throughout childhood and young adulthood, and now in our married life. Dogs are bundles of joy, energy, and love. We have found—for us—that there is no better being on this earth than a dog. Dogs are indeed better humans than humans.

In our current professional life, we—both the Tandem Realty we, and our affiliate, the Navigate Realty we—have been donating a portion of our income to a great organization based out of Raleigh: Second Chance Pet Adoptions. They are the oldest no-kill rescue organization in Wake County, and their humans are amazing people.

Just a couple weeks ago, our affiliate company got the opportunity to go visit the rescue's Dog Program Manager at home, with her twelve+ (!!) fosters. Our mission was simply to shoulder just a bit of the care for that day. Walk dogs, play with dogs, love on dogs. What a great day! Happy tails all around, both canine and human alike.

I (this is Monica) was particularly taken with one little love muffin, Phoenix (aka, Shortbread, as my husband has taken to calling her). She is a terrier mix and as sweet as can be. We walked; we talked; we snuggled. My insane love for dogs took over, and I wanted to take her home on the spot. Alas, we are not quite ready yet for another dog in the house. You see, we have experienced a lot of heartbreak over the past ten months with losing two of our three dogs. We have not yet recovered, and don't want to jump into adding another just yet until we are all ready—us, and our current dog, Lady. It was hard to say goodbye to Phoenix that day, but so it would have to be.

And then a week later, we received an email from Laura, the Dog Program Manager . . .

Laura was going on vacation for two weeks, and she was looking for people to lighten the load for her pet-sitters. She needed people to take in a dog for those two weeks. I saw it as a sign and jumped at the opportunity. Even my ever-wonderful husband chuckled and said, "Why not?". I emailed Laura back right away and we made arrangements for me to pick up Phoenix the night before she left.

Problem: our current dog, Lady, is a bit dominant. She is not a "dog's dog." She is a "people's dog." I had to make sure she would be okay with this arrangement. And of course Phoenix's feelings had to be taken into consideration. She too is also a somewhat dominant female. In a moment of inspiration, we decided to take Lady to Laura's house to let them meet on somewhat neutral terms (outside and not at our home), and then we'd play it by ear. We walked them together and then let then run around her yard for an hour. They did fine! We were outside, where there was nothing to protect, so all was well. Feeling hopeful, we went for it and put them in the car together—Lady in front; Phoenix in back. Smooth car ride and both as quiet as church mice.

Now the real test: how would Lady react when Phoenix came inside her house? Answer: like it was nothing! They walked in side by side and have been perfectly behaved towards each other ever since. It's been nearly a week, and we have had no issues. Introducing them the way we did made all the difference. It helps that Phoenix is a nearly perfect dog. She is better behaved than any dog we have ever owned, anyway (for the most part). And LOVES. TO. CUDDLE. Did I mention how sweet she is?

We even took her to a friend's birthday party a couple days ago to test drive here with their dog. They had the best time playing in the yard. Running at full speed—back and forth, back and forth—for hours. She got in the car to come home and . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . fell fast asleep.

I don't know what is going to happen at the end of our two weeks with her. Do we adopt? Are we ready? Should we wait? So many questions. I feel ready, and even though she is smaller than what I prefer in a dog (about 40 pounds), I already love her. How could I not? She's nearly perfect.

Todd is another story. He loves her . . . because she is a dog. And an amazing one at that. But is he ready? He wasn't a week ago. And he might not yet be. And I can't and won't force him to be. Thyla, one of our recent great losses, was his best buddy. They went everywhere together, and the pain of losing her was just so very enormous. It was an emotional loss for both of us, but particularly for him. He had saved her (Thyla was a dumped/abused dog). And I think, in some ways, she had saved him just as much as he saved her. So, I have to tred very carefully. I have to consider what is best for everyone, especially my husband and Phoenix.

Regardless, Phoenix deserves a wonderful home. She is amazing, and I find it so hard to believe she has not yet been adopted. She will make someone very happy. I would like for that to be me . . . us. But if not, someone will find her to be an absolute treasure. She's a keeper.

. . . . . .

If you love animals and wish to help in some way, please visit Second Chance Pet Adoptions website to find out more about how to donate, become a volunteer, or adopt.