After we moved from Georgia back to Iowa in our new home, we knew we wanted to get a dog. Actually, my husband was the one that really wanted one right away. I was more hesitant about getting one since I was looking for jobs and going back to classes at Iowa State. My husband traveled around Iowa for work and would occasionally pop into rescues near by and see what dogs they had.
Where We Got Our Rescue Dog
One day he went to Jasper County Animal Rescue League & Humane Society (sadly closed in summer of 2020 due to funding) and they had quite a few dogs here so he haaaad to call me down to take a look.
Luckily I didn’t work that day so I drove down to see what dogs they had. Earlier we decided to get a medium sized dog, I grew up with tiny dogs and I wasn’t quite ready to get a giant breed like he wanted.
Which Dog We Picked
After walking around the kennel area, there was one little cutie that wasn’t barking at all (spoiler alert: she barks plenty now haha), but just wiggling her whole body in excitement. She of course had her water bowl knocked over (probably from the full body wiggling) and was the only one with water all over her kennel.
I decided she was too cute, a perfect size, looked like cookies and cream ice cream, and needed to visit her immediately! They didn’t know much about her since they only had her for about a week.
She was some sort australian cattle dog / border collie mutt, which isn’t too surprising of a find in Iowa.
As soon as we took her out to walk her, she jumped up and gave me a “hug”. I know some people would think that’s a behavior issue, which I totally get.
She only does this with us now when we come home and she’s super excited to see it. It was just cutest thing ever, and we walked around and interacted with her more and we had to have her!
Shortly after, my husband came back to meet her as well and we took her home that day!
Why We Chose the Name “Zora”
Her name at the shelter was Tycoon at the time, but luckily since she was only there for a week, we knew it’d be fine to change her name. The name Zora came from the video game called Zelda. It was a game that my husband and I loved playing together and bonded over back when we were dating.
We thought the name “Zelda” might be a little too on the nose, and in the game there is an aquatic race of fish-people called the Zoras. We thought the name sounded pretty and unique for our dog! Having a “Z” name is also helpful since that doesn’t get confused with many other words.
What to Consider When Getting a Rescue Dog
You don’t have to deal with the puppy stage if you don’t want to!
This can be both a pro and a con. I get it, puppies are the absolute cutest and are so fun. You also are able to instill a lot of good habits and training from the beginning.
But most grown dogs know how to go potty outside already, they can be individually trained with the same amount of work you were going to do with the puppy anyway, and are less likely to chew on every living thing in your house with those gnarly puppy teeth.
Medical bills aren’t all that different.
Obviously this can all vary greatly depending on the type of dog you get and your situation. But most rescues will already have your dog neutered, microchipped (make sure you register the microchip!) and generally in good health before you adopt them.
Many rescues tend to have higher amounts of mixed breeds/mutts as well, and those typically have less health issues compared to purebreds. Zora did come home with a small case of kennel cough and a chipped tooth that was removed, but ever since she’s been as healthy as they come!
On the flip side, many rescues do take in unwanted or abused dogs that could have health issues, so make sure to talk with the staff beforehand. If you are considering getting a dog from a store, many of them, especially in Iowa, come from puppy mills. Most dogs in puppy mills are bred and raised in terrible conditions that cause underlying health conditions you may have to face (and pay for) later.
They are so ready for a loving family!
Is it silly to say that it seems like rescue dogs are so grateful for their adoptive families? Because it sure feels this way! It seems like they truly know how lucky they are. But do remember that it make time some time for your newly adopted dog to adjust to a new home and new rules.
They aren’t all given up because of “behavior” issues.
Many dogs are given to shelters because of family, economical or housing situations where people can’t take care of them anymore. These are perfectly good and well-trained dogs that might not have any behavior issues whatsoever!
They have both good and bad quirks that you may not notice at the shelter.
I understand this part is a big gamble for many people. We didn’t know until we got Zora home that she can barely walk on slick floors and we had a vinyl kitchen at the time. She also loves people of all ages, but can’t stand other dogs.
She has an impulsive need to bark at cars walking by on our walks, but is the most trustworthy dog in our house on her own. The list goes on with her, but they were all things we were willing to work with.
Another great option is to foster a dog first. That way you can learn if the quirks that the dog brings home is something you’re willing to handle before you fully commit.
This is a Big Decision!
Overall I understand it’s such a huge decision to bring a dog into your life, and more people should treat it as a big decision! I can’t see our life without Zora in it, and we love her quirky personality.
She’s the best cuddler and she knows when you’re upset and does everything in her power to make you feel better. She loves belly rubs more than anything, while baths require tiny violins and puppy eyes the entire time. She stayed up late with me while I studied through college, and is always ready for another walk or outdoor adventure.
I’ll leave a couple more pictures of Zora below because I am the obsessed dog mom. If you’d like to follow her for more pictures and her adventures, she has her own Instagram page and her handle is @zoratheexplora_