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It’s a Boy! My Family’s Pet Adoption Story

It’s a Boy!

No, no third child, we adopted a dog. Although it does kind of feel like there’s a third child is in our house. It’s one more mouth to feed and another stop on the weekend errand train that is for sure.

He is the first adopted dog between both my husband and I, and it’s been an exciting experience. We’ve only previously gotten puppies before, so this has been a surprisingly easy adjustment. I thought I’d share a little bit about the process for those who also may want to save a life and adopt, not shop.

Once we decided we both wanted to get another dog after the passing of our last in 2016, we were both pretty firm on the idea of adopting. We started to look into adoption and spent 4-5 months looking for the dog that “spoke to us.” We spent many nights sharing photos and reading descriptions to each other. We both agreed to our parameters: 1) he or she must be potty trained (so older) and 2) he or she had to be good with other dogs and of course kids. I was not ready to potty train another living being after finally having no kids in diapers. Otherwise, we were mostly open to all breeds/sizes.

Something we learned during this process, depending on where you adopt from, the rescue organization can have many prerequisites. We were actually “pending” an adoption in Bismarck when we got the call that our current pup was still free and available immediately. Because our application was still being reviewed and pending in Bismarck, and the rescue that our current dog came from had a more straightforward process, we were able to act that much faster. We like to think it was fate that brought us together.

We traveled the four hours to Cando, North Dakota, to get him. Some rescues require more than one meeting of the potential pet and new family, that all family members who live in the house be present, pet references, vet references, prior home visits, etc. The rescue where we got Winston in Cando did not require those things, so we were able to make one round trip to Cando to get him and bring him home.

We first met him at his foster home, and he was wild. My husband and I looked at each other and thought, “What did we get ourselves in to?” Against my internal fear and worry, we did decide to take him home (and I am so glad we did). We picked him up on a Saturday, so that gave us the whole weekend to get acquainted with our new pup. Our introduction to our kids happened outside, which was recommended, and we let him approach them. We were told he was running between family farms and was great with young kids, and that has proven to be so true.

He seemed distant at first. He liked to lay on the hard floor or hide under the kitchen table to nap. It’s been almost six weeks and he now loves to cuddle with the kids and steal my husband’s favorite blankets. This has been a wonderful learning experience for my children – who now pick their toys up off the floor before they become dog chew toys. Hey, my house is sorta clean now! They are also learning about responsibility. They help with feeding, filling his water bowl, cleaning up after him in the yard, and of course giving him treats.

I’ve seen my son, who has had sensory processing issues in the past, learn how to handle fur and licking of the face and wrestling around on the floor. It’s been wonderful to see them care about another living thing and have genuine concern over his well-being.

If you’re considering adopting a pet in the future, I highly suggest doing your research, setting parameters as a family, and not settling. The right pet will come along eventually. In the meantime, research and read up on what to do when bringing home a rescue. It is different than simply buying a brand new puppy. We couldn’t have asked for a better pup! To find dogs near you, visit

Written by Brianna Ludwig


Brianna is a marketing professional who enjoys cooking, fitness and (mostly) healthy eating. She and her husband live in Bismarck with their two toddlers. Reach her at

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