In Defense of the “Brown Dog” Breed: Why Shelter Dogs Are the Best

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

June 27, 2014

I <3 my shelter dog and this is my story.

I had just graduated from art school and somehow landed my first job at a promotions and marketing agency. I was on salary, only paying a whopping $250 a month in rent (What?!), and had very little to worry about. It was time.




The responsible half of my 24-year-old brain ran the pros and cons, did massive research, and truly understood what it was going to take to be a dog mom. The irresponsible half knew how truly awesome it was going to be to have a furry friend to accompany my late night drinking benders and foosball tourneys.




I scoured for months when one day I came across her pathetically adorable biography. Olive was your typical rescue story: abused, tied up outside for days, and in need of a loving and dependable home. I immediately contacted the appropriate people and the adoption was in progress. (And boy, was it a process! Petfinder doesn’t mess around.)




Olive was home and I was thrilled. My vet guessed that she was around 4 months old. She potty trained easily and for the most part, she seemed like a pretty normal dog. She did have her intricacies. For example, she all but lost her head when a man approached the house. I knew it had to be related to her previous owner being male and mistreating her, but could that dog go into a tail spin (har har) of barking and losing her mind. She’s also shredded a few (or 10) pillows. There’s nothing like coming home from work to see the insides of your pillows on the outside, creating a complete ground cover.




Soon after she first came into my life I went through a pretty rough break up. I know this sounds silly, but I could not have gotten through it without her. She was always there for me and when I looked into her eyes I knew that everything was going to be okay. She was there when I met my now husband, and showed her approval by totally favoring him. How annoying! She moved to Chicago with me and 100% hated city life. She was my copilot every other weekend when we drove 4 hours to visit my now husband. She was there when we got engaged, moved to Indianapolis, and eventually got married and had a tiny human baby of our very own. She’s been with me through it all.

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She doesn’t have pedigree papers. When people ask me what breed she is I say “Brown Dog” with a raised eyebrow. She’s not from a long blood line of perfect purebred-ness. All of that doesn’t matter. She’s perfect in every way and she will always be our first baby.

family_pic_oliveThe night we got engaged – Olive was front and center.

If you’re ready to welcome a furry family member, please consider adoption. There are so many wonderful resources out there, and two great places to start are Petfinder and the ASPCA.


Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

June 27, 2014

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