After AJ got out of work on Monday, we began our search to find the perfect four-legger to complete our family. We’ve been combing the interwebs for months now passively interviewing possible candidates and have decided it will take a very highly skilled, loftily credentialed canine of extensively diverse pedigree to wow the pants off of one experienced dog owner and a distinctly hard-to-please HR veteran.
So this week, we finally decided to take it to the streets. Our points of interests? Worcester, Douglas, and Hopkinton. Here’s our experience:
To start, we took a few steps to our backyard. Worcester Animal Rescue League has no shortage of character. Its motley crew consists of an adorable wire-haired Cindi Lauper, a moaning exhibitionist bull terrier named Sneakers, and a curiously-named female Pointer/Terrier mix called Sprinkles. Needless to say, our two favorites were already adopted. There were a few others that caught our attention, but ultimately, the sizes and larger-than-life personalities didn’t quite fit with our casual jet-setting lifestyle.
Moving on, the next stop in our journey was Dog Orphans in Douglas. We were wowed by this place, which felt most like a legitimate foster home. The pups live in the lower level of a split ranch, and its attendants were majorly sweet and accommodating. The space was also VERY clean and every single one of the dogs was beautiful. Like Westminster ready. We narrowed it down to 2, one of which we could have taken home that second, but low-and-behold, she was claimed. We’re thrilled to think lovely Nelwin will have a good home for the Holidays, but would secretly love to selfishly snatch her and love her for life.
And, because Spencer is OCD about doing things in 3, we made one final stop: Baypath Humane Society in Hopkinton. There, we were greeted by 2 employees who were pretty upfront about the fact that there weren’t many options, but who did offer an interview with the adorable young pup Violet. Our new friend Julie gave us the lowdown on this lovable little scamp, who, in 4 years, would have been our ideal companion. But, as a young, barely trained baby, we simply couldn’t give her the structure she needed to blossom into a sophisticated bitch.
As we drove up Rt. 85 heading home we discussed how lucky we are to have a good variety of loving pet adoption agencies in our area and how much we look forward to visiting them again. We are determined to find our perfect-fit pup, and when we see him or her – or hir, if our baby so chooses – We will know. We have already felt love at first sight.
By 4pm, homeward bound, we chose to have an early dinner at the Lakeside Bar and Grille in Shrewsbury, MA. It’s in the back corner of the Petco/Trader Joe’s Plaza on Rt. 9 and it was packed (always a good sign, as AJ points out). Once we sat ourselves, the server greeted us promptly and we were well on our way into a wonderful restaurant experience. Our lady was sweet, very kind and took us on a guided tour that we really enjoyed. In our blind hunger we chose a hefty dish that would serve us in the “right now” (no standard white box toomfoolery this time around). We wanted soup or some other stew like a heart-warming ball of sunshine in our bellies…there were icicles on our earlobes that needed melting.
We ultimately settled on the heaping mound of Ultimate Nachos, a hefty dish which includes Chili and Chicken. Even though the center was a bit squishy, the medley of fresh flavors definitely demand a repeat, chili-on-the-side, visit. What really did it for us were the fire-hot jalapenos, which Spencer ate in spoonfuls and AJ second-hand enjoyed. We also shared a crock of French Onion Soup that was absolutely delicious. Thin broth, lots of onions, and just the right amount of cheese floating on top of a delicious crouton made this a repeat guest, too. For us, though, the REAL ultimate of The Lakeside Bar and Grille was its old school way of attracting its community. They encourage families with free kids meals on Mondays. Offer daily specials that are guaranteed weekly. Promote Happy Hour and have a staff that is buzzing around like happy little worker bees. Not to mention the space was perfectly-sized and instantly inviting. We will likely be going back before winter’s end.
So on we go in our search for our newest family member. In the meantime, we’ll keep doin’ what we do till it all falls into place. Get ready, folks, the Holidays are nearing!