Perspectives: This is Peanut. Adopting Peanut was Easy.

That says a lot following a year when just about everything had an added degree of difficulty.


In the past year, nothing has been easy. The pandemic has put so many additional hurdles in front of any conceivable goal that even the mundane has become challenging.

Certain things have been refreshingly well-handled. Some activities could be described as smooth. But nearly nothing has been easy.

At Humane Animal Rescue, adoption is refreshingly, blessedly easy. We had been looking to bring a dog home for a few weeks, poking through the listings on online adoption services. Our landlord had insisted that we limit our search to “small or tiny” dogs only.

Peanut, as you can see, decidedly fits into the “tiny” category.

For a while, we weren’t having much luck; months at home have led many families to adopt a pet, a fact that is more than welcome for the always-overcrowded shelter system. Combining that with a major gift-giving holiday (our search began in early December), though, and the few small or tiny canines who popped up were usually fielding inquiries before we could get a foot in the door.

Fortunately, Mary Beth — my girlfriend, who has been dreaming of a small or tiny companion for months — was diligent about searching for new listings. So when Peanut popped up among the available pets at Humane Animal Rescue’s North Side location, she applied immediately, planning to follow up with a phone call when it opened the next morning.

Staff at the shelter emailed her a response an hour before they even opened.

We set an appointment for later that day and came to meet the tiny chihuahua mix. Peanut’s listing had mentioned that he could be a bit fearful, and may not warm up to us at first. On the first encounter, he did tuck behind a staff member’s ankles, like a (human) toddler not wanting to greet a stranger. Within 10 minutes, though, he tentatively tiptoed up to give Mary Beth an initial sniff.

Within the hour, he was walking with me on a leash and happily sitting down next to Mary Beth. (He warmed up to her first, but that’s true of all dogs. If you pass Mary Beth with your dog on the street, your dog will immediately lose interest in you and pursue a new friendship with Mary Beth.) Within an hour and a half, we were finalizing arrangements to take him home.

Humane Animal Rescue gave us a nearly-full bag of his preferred food, a leash, two collars, a toy he had grown fond of and — with the holiday fast approaching — a little stocking full of treats. They gave us a pair of medications he had been taking while recuperating from his recent neuter surgery, with careful and clear instructions on how and when to use them.

They also were clearly happy — genuinely, truly happy — to see Peanut head home. This is a place that sends pets to new homes on a daily basis and had probably not known Peanut for more than a week or two. Yet their joy at seeing him find a family was real.

I’m happy to add that, in addition to making the process very easy, Humane Animal Rescue is handling COVID-19 restrictions very well. Patrons at the shelter for vet visits and medical needs were lined up in waiting cars outside to decrease the number of people in the building. Our meeting with Peanut was conducted in a closed room, with only one other staff member — who never came within 6 feet of us — entering at any point. Mask use was universal. Running a shelter is a complicated operation, and yet they’ve admirably risen to the challenge of adapting for the current situation.

It felt safe, and it was easy. I can think of few things in the past year that I can describe that way. The process of adopting from Humane Animal Rescue was not only a joy for the obvious reason — the cuddly, sweet dog now taking up a permanent spot on our couch — but also as a relief from the many parts of life that are trying at the moment.

As for Peanut: Man, is this boy a couch potato. If you never get up, he’ll never get up. This is a dog whose preferred activity is attaching himself to the side of a welcoming human and snuggling in for as many hours as possible.

We, obviously, are happy to oblige.

Categories: Collier’s Weekly