When I was twenty-four I got my first important job where I had to dress up. Up until that point I’d been a college student and then a teacher in West Africa but this job was as an assistant manager at a retail store. I didn’t last long there because I soon learned that assistant manager was code-word for work any hours no one shows up for and when you’re not dealing with horrible customers you get to clean the bathroom. But before I learned how awful a job it was for me I invested in a wardrobe.

I bought some comfortable but stylish clothing suitable for the retail environment and then decided I wanted some Bandalinos. At the time those were very expensive and much-coveted shoes and I decided that the footwear upgrade was worth it. The problem is that I wear an eleven narrow which was impossible to find back then and is still troublesome. Instead, I settled for the ten medium and that’s where our story begins.

They looked fantastic and people took notice. They were also the most uncomfortable and expensive shoes I ever owned to this day. It was brutal. It was as if I had found the perfect glass slipper but had an ugly step-sister foot I was trying in vain to make fit. My new husband had been against the purchase and I didn’t want to hear him say, “I told you so,” and so I wore them every other day to give my feet a rest. I found myself kicking them off in the office and running out in my stockings when I heard the jingle of the doorbell. At some point, a woman would point out my lack of shoes or I’d glance down and then run to the back room and push my swollen feet into those horrible shoes.

I took those shoes to the shoe repair shop and the owner used a stretcher on them to no avail. I put cotton along the back and toes to help with the chafing. This went on for several weeks and then one day I admitted to my husband that I could not wear those shoes anymore. He took pity on my tears and didn’t point out that I had settled on the wrong size because I wanted those stupid shoes so much. There was nothing I could do but give them away to someone who wore a size ten medium and would love that fancy footwear.

Side note: I had done the same thing with my wedding shoes and took them off at the reception and walked barefoot the whole time and forgot about those brand-new shoes and I drove off on our honeymoon barefoot.

Adopting a rescue dog is kind of like buying a pair of shoes. There are so many breeds and breed mixes, all ages, sizes, temperaments, and backgrounds. Kind of like the endless styles and sizes of shoes out there. We work hard to help people adopt the Cinderella of dogs, the one that is the perfect fit or at least will be once they are broken in and comfortable with their new family.

People in a size-restricted community don’t adopt Mastiffs or seventy-pound huskies. It’s not a good fit. Seventy-year-olds probably will do better with a smaller, less active dog while an Australian Shepard/Mix could be perfect for a twenty-seven-year-old who loves running. See where I’m going?

The national average for rescue dogs returned to the shelter before the pandemic was a little under twenty-five-percent. We have always been under ten-percent and those numbers have gone down a little since the start of COVID-19. The reason we are so low is that we won’t do ugly sister adoptions. If the dog is not a good fit we will continue to care for them until the right person does come along.

If you are contemplating adding a four-legged friend to your household start dreaming and researching. It might take a few extra months to find a good fit but we are committed to continuing rescuing as many dogs as possible and getting them into the best home. We love it when people tell us that they have the best dog. But having the best dog starts with being realistic and patient and knowing that you Cinderella, or Prince Charming, will find you when the timing is right. And then your happily ever after will begin.