Around Prince William: I found a dog that needed a home | Opinion

It’s always the same with a rescue dog.  You are never really sure what the dog will be like, how it will adapt, or whether it will fit in.  You just know it is a dog that needs a home.

Those were the thoughts on our mind when we drove to Hamilton to meet the newest member of our family, Juubei. His original name was Dasher; however, we renamed him after a famous Japanese samurai. Juubei is the fourth golden retriever we have adopted from Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training (GRREAT). We love all dogs, but goldens are our favorites.  

Juubei is a “China dog.”  He was saved from a miserable life and perhaps dark fate by a group dedicated to rescuing dogs like him. His trip to the United States required a stop in Moscow for a bit of “civilizing,” shots and some paperwork. He then spent a little time in New York City with a foster before joining his Virginia foster mom.  

Adopting a dog from a rescue group is a process. They go to great lengths to assure that the dogs go to the right homes.  Our first visit was an interview to see if we were a good fit.  We were one of a few families who visited Juubei and met his foster mom.  

Fenced yard, check.  Pond for exercise, check.  Got along with the dog, check.  Fortunately, we were deemed the best fit and after finishing the process made a second trip to bring Juubei to his new home.  As with our previous goldens, Juubei fit right in.

My daughter and her beagle, Scout, are staying with us while she finishes her master’s degree.  Scout joined us as a puppy.  Our last rescue before Juubei was Kansuke.  I remember Kansuke’s adjustment to a new resident, and his over-protective nature of family members.  Once Kansuke recognized that Scout was a member of the pack, everything was OK.  Now, Scout is the “senior resident” making the same adjustment to Juubei.  Dogs’ relationships and bonding are interesting to watch.

Dogs are like children. You are never sure how they are going to behave, but you can’t return them. Juubei exceeded all expectations. We hired fellow columnist Karen Peak to help us work on Juubei’s manners. Peak writes the “Critter Corner” column for this paper.  Dog trainers don’t really train dogs. They train owners how to train their pets. 

We were lucky to get Juubei. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended importing dogs from foreign countries because of the risk of rabies.  A hundred countries, including China, are on the list. It was already expensive to rescue a dog from hostile overseas environments. Now it is nearly impossible.   

The good news is there are rescues available in the United States. If you are looking for a little company, consider adopting a dog or cat that needs a home. They are particularly grateful to be welcomed into a new family. Pets are always happy to see you come home, never argue politics or religion, give you a reason to go for a walk and exercise and are particularly welcome to cuddle with on a cold night.  If you want to look for a rescue pet, check out the Prince William Animal Shelter, The Chance Foundation or GRREAT or just search online for pet rescue and your zip code.

Once you rescue a pet that needs a home, your life will never be the same, or lonely, again.  Sometimes, a home needs a pet.

Al Alborn is a political and social activist in Prince William County. His column appears every other week.  You can learn more about Al at and LinkedIn.

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