'Want a pet? Don't shop, adopt'

Story and photos
by Callie Sterling

The Long family has been forever changed by the adoption of Hank, a rescue dog.

The Searcy family found Hank in Lakewood Village near McCain Mall at a mobile adoption site. However, the family did not adopt him the first day they saw him. Instead, they seriously considered it before making the big decision.

“We saw him in Lakewood Village after we went out to eat at a nearby restaurant,” Miranda Long said. “We went home that night and slept on it. The next day we went back and when he was still there, we knew we had to have him.”

The Longs had him tested after he was adopted and learned Hank is part Basset Hound and Bulldog. “He is 6 or 7 years old.”

Hank was surrendered by his owner, a military serviceman who was being deployed. “We knew he didn’t have very long to live since he was owner-surrendered,” Miranda said.

“Owner-surrendered dogs are always the first to be put to sleep.”

Long’s husband, Matt, and daughter, Payton, love the family pet as much as she does.

“Hank is great with my daughter,” Miranda said. “He is so laid back and goes with the flow. I definitely want my daughter to grow up with dogs, and Hank is the perfect dog for a child.”

Miranda feels that having a dog, or pet in general, helps to teach children. “There are so many positive things about having a dog,” she said. “First, it teaches responsibility. It also shows a child what unconditional love is.”

Matt’s favorite thing about his dog is being able to cuddle. “My husband probably wouldn’t admit it, but his favorite thing about Hank is snuggling with him,” Miranda said.

Hank enjoys playing and riding in boats. 

“His favorite thing in the world is playing with a sock rope,” Miranda said. “We also have a duck boat that Matt uses, and Hank likes to ride along. He also likes duck jerky.”

Miranda can’t imagine her life without Hank, now that he is part of her family.

“I look forward to seeing him each day when I get off work, and I know my husband feels the same way,” Miranda said. “I think people can learn a lot from a rescue dog. He doesn’t judge us. He just seemed to start over with us as his new owners and loves us unconditionally. That unconditional love is mutual.”

Miranda encourages potential pet owners to adopt, rather than purchasing from a breeder. “For anyone who wants a pet, don’t shop, adopt.”