The other day I was watching American Idol. I know, it’s a former shadow of the original show where stars were made, but it’s also something that takes zero concentration after a long day.
 
Monday was the end of Hollywood week, the week when they force these kids into all-nighters, ER visits, and create what I hope are fake dramas to boost the ratings.
 
For some reason this Monday watching the show with people vying for a spot to compete for a place in the top twenty made me think of our dogs. Follow my reasoning.
 
Contestants come from all over the country, sometimes even from foreign countries, to get their first listen by screeners. Our dogs come from three different counties in the poorest part of Kentucky. Unlike the Idol hopefuls they don’t come willingly, I bet some actually fight the process, but they do eventually arrive into the shelter and they nervously wait for their fate.
 
Eventually, they are checked over, given the right shots, surgeries, breed determined, and made ready for transport to Oshkosh, WI, and NEW PAWSibilities. They make it here scared, likely missing a previous owner or even a group of dogs they called family. We don’t know their backstory in most cases but we know they are all potential superstars at living with a family.
 
There are certain singers who, the minute they walk into the room and we hear their story and the first few notes, we know they are “Going to Hollywood!” It’s like that with our dogs. As I learn more about the dogs and write the bios I sometimes think I am wasting my time because even without a bio certain dogs will get adopted within hours of going online. Why? Maybe they are adorable puppies of a certain breed. Or they could be a one-owner senior who is now alone because their person went into a nursing home. Our heart breaks, not too unlike the stories of Idol hopefuls with a particularly sad backstory. These seniors get snapped up quickly.
 
Dogs arrive early Tuesday morning and we work hard to get pictures and bios up within twenty-four hours because we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for one of our dogs to find their perfect person. By Sunday our staff are frazzled and exhausted because of the process of what seems like dozens of people coming to visit dogs each day. But they are happy because families are now complete; dogs are going to the equivalent of Hollywood. Yes, your home is doggy Hollywood, Disneyland, and a pet store full of toys and bones all wrapped into one.
 
During Hollywood week when the judges are separating the wheat from the chaff, they use the front line, back line process. We can tell from some of our favorites getting called to certain lines who is moving on. I’m rarely wrong. On Monday they ended with a twist. You’re going to Aulani on the island of Oahu! And three rooms were how it was done. Again, the inclusion of one or two people in a room made it crystal clear who better go swimsuit shopping for next week.
 
After Sunday when the adoption fees have been paid for the clear standouts, those in the front row if you will, those left are the back-row doggies. These dogs are just as cute, just as in need of a home, just as wonderful as the front row dogs. Think Jennifer Hudson.
 
Back in season six, Jennifer left that back row only making it to seventh place. I’m sure there were tears and she went home with her head hung low wondering what went wrong. Our dogs know when their friends go home when people come and play with them only to walk away emptyhanded or with a different dog.
 
Every dog deserves a great home. We have some awesome “back-row” dogs. Guess what? This weekend is going to be sunny and a lovely time to bring home a dog. I want to urge you to come and spend a little extra time with the “back-row” dogs, the ones who have been here for three, four, twelve months, and more. Maybe you are the person who is going to end up with the best trained, healthiest, the most fun dog of the bunch. Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar, Grammys, and a career that far surpasses every Idol who continued on American Idol.
 
Don’t wait for the new puppies or the next transport of dogs coming in. Your perfect match could already be here. At least come and visit with a few of our amazing “back-row” dogs who are waiting to hear the words, “You’re going home!” And you can make it happen. Thank you for helping us find our dogs the homes where they can shine.