In March 2001 we lived in Manhattan. We decided maybe it was time to adopt our first dog together. We checked PetFinder, and found a bunch of dogs available at the ASPCA’s very own headquarters, which was just about 10 blocks away from where we lived. Rad fell in love with the picture of this young dog Arthur. I wasn’t sure. They said he was a collie/golden retriever mix, but we’d eventually call him a “Golden Collie.”
They take you to this HUGE room to meet the dogs. It’s big and it’s open, with no furniture to speak of really. We met a few dogs that day. I (Lucie) sat on the floor for each one. When Arthur came in, he did a somersault into my lap, head first. I was a goner. He was ours in that instant.
Like most shelter dogs, Arthur had a story to tell. His was more dramatic than some, less than others. But this is his story.
At what they estimated was four months of age, someone dumped this poor puppy on the streets of Manhattan. He was hit by a car. A good Samaritan brough him to the ASPCA’s HQ. This was in October 2000. It would be late December before he was even healthy enough to be on the adoptable list. It was another three months of his “puppyhood” before we found him. By then he was an already fairly big dog (especially by NYC standards where people tend to prefer small dogs), and on top of that because he was rambunctious (who wouldn’t be after five months in a cage?), they were recommending a home without children under the age of 10.
That proved to be sort of ironic because Arthur LOVED kids, especially little ones. He was usually far more comfortable with children than with adults. In fact, one of the many wonderful things Arthur did was help a little girl in our building get over her fear of dogs after she’d watched a friend be attacked by one. Caroline had liked dogs, but after that she was understandably afraid. She was only five, but she wanted to like dogs again… and Arthur, slowly, with his gentle way and sweet nature, won her over. They were buds. Her mother once thanked me… but I really had nothing to do with it. It was all Arthur.
Arthur was born with wanderlust. We love road trips, so even though in Manhattan we didn’t own a car, we traveled with Arthur a lot. He made it 21 states in his time with us! The car/Jeep was pretty much his favorite place to be, and once he thought we were going to leave him behind and he jumped into the trunk of our rental car! It was an epic moment, one you just never forget.
When we moved to Colorado, Arthur was immediately at home. He loved nothing more than being outside on the deck, watching nature. Unlike most dogs, he almost never barked (unless we left him… then he barked). He didn’t bark at the wildlife. He sat and watched. One afternoon, a young elk came over to the fence near Arthur. The two played through the fence… there’s no other word for it. They were clearly curious about each other and they interacted and had a blast… then the young elk realized his herd (unimpressed by a dog) had moved on, and he let out a pitiful call (elk do not sound as you’d expect) and they bugled back and he went off the find them. It was one of so many magical moments we shared with Arthur.
We had Arthur in our lives until April 2010. Nine years could never have been enough. But they were an amazing, wonderful nine years… full of adventures and difficulties (he was prone to benign tumors, and he lost a toe and part of his tail to tumors, in two different surgeries).
So the ASPCA isn’t just special to us because it’s a wonderful charity and we believe in pet adoption. It’s *actually* where we adopted our beloved Arthur… and without the work the ASPCA does, Arthur probably wouldn’t have survived that horrible abandonment and accident in October 2000. They saved our dog’s life and then trusted us with him. There was simply no way we wouldn’t be a part of this event.
~Lucie & Rad
PS. Taking pics of our dogs is one of my favorite pastimes. I couldn’t pick just one of our beautiful Arthur, so you get a collage. The one where his head is buried in snow was taken in the 2006 blizzard that hit Manhattan right before we moved. Arthur LOVED snow.