“Must like cats"

Passing the essential feline test earned this pup her forever home.

Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:18 a.m.

“Home at Last: Tales of Rescue,” coordinated by Hilary Hynes at Alachua County Animal Services, profiles the success stories of families and their rescue pets.

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Shiloh, the Rhodesian Ridgeback cross, with a kitten.

Photos courtesy of Sue Vogel

“Sooo, how does she do with cats?”

It felt like the 500th time I'd asked that question in the six months since I'd begun looking for the perfect dog to adopt. With six cats in the household, it was important, but I was shocked at the number of dogs who were labeled “not good with cats.”

So far on the Great Dog Hunt I was zero for 30-or-so.

This time, though, I was more optimistic. I was at Gainesville Pet Rescue (GPR), a group for which I'd been fostering cats since soon after its founding in 1993. I heard about one dog they had in foster that I'd hope would be the perfect fit — young adult, low-to-moderate activity level, female, Rhodesian Ridgeback cross. But even before meeting her, I asked the cat question.

“We don't really know about cats. This is her first day up for adoption,” was the reply from GPR Executive Director Heather Thomas. I felt my heart sinking and my patience waning. Our house was too empty without a dog — I wanted one now!

“But we've got some cats here that we can test her with. We'll see how she does.” Thomas' sensible suggestion was music to my ears.

The meet-and-greet went well. She spent a fair amount of time on her back asking for belly scratches. Better still, she reacted perfectly to the cat we brought in: No aggression. Nothing rough.

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