Oscar has a special place in my home, heart

His name is Oscar. He’s little, wiggly and mine.

Readers were so kind when I wrote, in 2010, about the death of my 13-year-old black Labrador retriever. Jack was the sweetest old fellow, and irreplaceable. Many of you sent cards, emailed or called to share stories about your beloved pets. Consider this is a very belated thank-you.

Last fall, my family had another hard loss. Our orange cat, Madison, joined Jack in pet heaven. He was 18.

Besides Yogi the hamster — that critter makes a nightly racket on its wheel — our house had been without a pet and too quiet since before Christmas. That all changed Feb. 23, the weekend of the Oscars.

We had been looking at puppies online and in The Herald’s classified ads. But that Saturday, my 14-year-old son and I began our quest with a kitten in mind. Our cat came from the old Everett Animal Shelter, which was east of Broadway near downtown, back in 1994.

Although I have written about the city’s nice new shelter on Smith Island Road, I hadn’t visited before. Snohomish County’s only public animal shelter, the facility took in more than 3,000 cats and nearly 2,500 dogs last year. On the Saturday we visited the Everett shelter, we didn’t find the one pet meant just for us.

I was tempted by a black-and-white cat, but with a slip of the tongue I told my son, “You know, there’s another shelter up north.” With his answer, “Let’s go,” we were back on I-5 headed to the N.O.A.H. (Northwest Organization for Animal Help) Animal Adoption &Spay/Neuter Center near Stanwood. And we were still looking for a kitty.

That’s where we found him, a tiny brown puppy who had two lighter-colored sisters. From the minute we saw him, he was ours. The pup we named Oscar is a dachshund-chihuahua mix. Try as I might to not use the silly label, I do call him “chiweenie” now and then.

I adored my big dog Jack, but I will turn 60 this year. Looking for a pup, I had to think hard about what kind of dog I’ll want at 70. Will I still be living in my house, or in a smaller place? Where I go, Oscar will go.

My parents had a dachshund years ago, and my grandmother had one. I’d been looking for purebred dachshund puppies, but now I’m glad we have given a permanent home to a dog who needed one.

Puppy adoption from N.O.A.H. isn’t cheap. It’s $125 to adopt a dog, but it costs $325 for a pup younger than 6 months. The fee, though, includes vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, microchip identification, a collar and ID tag. That’s a lot of peace of mind.

About 3,000 dogs and cats are adopted each year from the facility. Unlike other shelters, the center doesn’t take animals from the public. Lani Kurtz, animal welfare director at N.O.A.H., told The Herald last year that the organization takes animals from around the state to help those shelters with their overflow, “so no animal has to be euthanized because of space.”

Oscar, now 3 months old, and his sisters were abandoned or relinquished in Yakima. I’m so happy he made his way to my house.

My mom sent me a “New Baby” card. My daughter and son-in-law brought Oscar a chew toy and a book — 50 tricks to teach your puppy. He’s not yet very good on his leash. Potty training is a work in progress. He likes tugging on towels and stealing slippers.

Oh, but what a great big welcome I get from that funny little dog. It’s unconditional love — the best kind.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Marysville hit-and-run leaves man with broken bones

The state patrol has asked for help solving an increasing number of hit-and-run cases in the state.

Everett man killed at bar had criminal history, gang ties

A bar employee reportedly shot Matalepuna Malu, 29, whose street name was “June Bug.”

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Woman confronts man leaving house with stolen item

“He swung at her with a crowbar, missing her.”

Most Read