Introducing Magnolia: An Adoption Story

Two weeks ago, the girls and I drove to Beverly Hills to pick up "Betty," a two-year old rescue from her foster family. Betty had been rescued earlier this year from a high-kill shelter in Downey by local rescue organization, Ace of Hearts.

I had sent an inquiry about another dog Fable and I had seen on their website (via petfinder) and received a response immediately. After filling out the necessary paperwork, I chatted with one of the incredible Ace of Hearts volunteers and she told me that, while she didn't think the dog I inquired about was a fit for us, (I explained we were looking for a dog that was AMAZING with kids -- didn't growl or nip or destroy, ahem, my house is destroyed as it is...) she had several dogs in mind she thought would be. One of the dogs on that list was a black boxer mix with golden eyes.

"She's the sweetest dog -- great with kids, extremely gentle, very affectionate..."
A week later, I took the kids to meet her at a local park and she immediately felt like home. After an interview, some paperwork and a home check, we started our "trial" the following Wednesday.

(ED: Before you can adopt an animal through a rescue organization, they need to check out your house to make sure it's dog safe, and allow a trial-period to make sure your dog/cat is the right fit with your family.)

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The kids wanted to rename her, so we sat down as a family and came up with dozens of names. The name "Magnolia" won unanimously (Fable's original idea) but we decided to include everyone's ideas in her FULL name which is Princess Magnolia Sequin Dance Party Hillary Clinton Girl Power Woolf. Although she still goes by "Betty" as well. "Come, Betty slash Magnolia!" has become our current go-to. 
I hadn't anticipated this to have gone as smoothly as it did. When I got Cooper and Zadie (in 2001 and 2002) I was 20 years-old and clearly in a very different place in my life. I purchased both dogs through ads in the newspaper. (Cooper was from Kansas and Zadie was from Georgia.) I raised them both as puppies and while my kids always had close relationships with my dogs, they were always MY DOGS and therefore, although affectionate with the kids, far more loyal to me.
Magnolia -- although clearly my baby (She has her chin on my knee as I type this post from my living room couch) wants to be next to my kids at all times, too. For the last two weeks she has cuddled with both Bo and Revi before bedtime and at the end of the night, when Hal and I turn in to go to bed, Mags settles in on Revi's bed and sleeps with her all night. (Magnolia and Revi have bonded in a unique way -- perhaps because they are kindred spirits of gentleness.)
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I always knew I wanted to rescue an animal once Cooper and Zadie passed but I didn't realize how seamless the transition would be. I always thought that adopting an older dog would be a challenge because, as they say, "you don't really know what you're getting." And the truth is, I was a little bit apprehensive at first bringing a two-year old dog who had spent a lot of time in a shelter, into our house... because who knows, you know? We had a rescue growing up and he hated pretty much everyone. We loved him, obviously, but he was wounded from years of abuse and never quite let any of us in, which was hard for a kid who REALLY WANTED her dog to like her.

Magnolia is THE OPPOSITE. She wants to be next to everyone. She hugs with her paws. She cuddles under the covers with the kids. She licks everyone's faces until they can't take it anymore. She follows us around and curls up at our feet. She climbs into my lap, even though she's... huge, and rests her chin on my chest and looks at me, like, "Hi. I love you. Let's be together always, want to?"
And to that I say YES.

Which is why, this week on I wrote a post about things to consider when looking into adopting a family pet. Because now that I'm a mama of a rescue, I want to sing DOG RESCUE AS A SALVE FOR THE SOUL from the rooftops. Because, oh man, this dog, you guys. SHE TRULY IS REMARKABLE MAGIC AMAZINGNESS. She has made all of us profoundly happy and although she has only been with us for two weeks, I cannot imagine life without her.
(None of us can.)
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My whole post is here.