Three dogs recently had a very special party to receive some very special news: their family is growing! Their parents, Roberta and Curtis Griner of Charlotte, North Carolina, have been approved to adopt three young girls.
Maggie, Red, and Max, all adopted rescue dogs themselves, couldn’t be more ecstatic to share their loving home. Three dogs with three big sisters is exciting news for both the humans and the canines.
From the time she was 14 or 15 years old, Roberta Sá Griner knew that she wanted to adopt children. She even told this to her husband Curtis on their first date. Though she has nothing but the best feelings towards people who want to conceive, Griner told PupJournal of her own experience:
“If I can give a home, love, care, support — I didn’t feel my belly had the same value as raising them. My reason to be a mom is raising children, and I have always been big on adopting. It’s the family that feels right for us.”
That family began several years ago when Roberta adopted her first dog, Savannah. Through rescuing her, a self-described “difficult” dog with many challenges to overcome, Griner became more involved in animal rescue. (Sadly, Savannah has since passed away at the ripe old age of 16.)
The next member to join the Griner clan was Max, a Beagle/Labrador mix who is thought to be about 7 or 8 years old now.
Max was given up by neighbors of Roberta’s mother, so she took him in before he was taken to the shelter.
Then came Red, a pit bull mix from a South Carolina shelter who was so malnourished and mistreated that he could barely walk. The Griners spent months taking him to vets, getting surgeries, and pushing him around in a cart. They even did a 5K marathon pushing Red in his cart! These days, he is walking on his own — even hiking with the family.
Over the past three years, the Griners have fostered more than 70 dogs — often having a total of five dogs in the house at one time. Though they hadn’t planned on adopting another dog, Roberta knew within a day of fostering Maggie that she was home.
Also a pit bull mix, Maggie had been overbred and dumped at a Carolina shelter. She was terrified of loud noises, even falling to the ground in fear at more than a whisper, but now she loves to give hugs, handshakes, and talk to her friends.
The Griners have spent the last several months preparing for the adoption. Part of this preparation included buying a new home in a neighborhood with a great school for the girls to attend.
However, anyone with a pit bull knows that these pups aren’t always well received by the neighbors. When the Griners moved in, they were met with critical faces and people who refused to get near their dogs.
Roberta uses these opportunities as educational tools to teach others about pit bulls and what wonderful dogs they are. She told PupJournal that she rarely takes them out without some kind of costume on, and it wasn’t long before people were coming up to take pictures with them. After that, it was clear that her well-trained and lovable dogs were no threat.
Unfortunately, owning pit bull type dogs can often be a hindrance in the adoption process as well. Roberta told all potential adoption agencies up front that she owned two of these types, and that giving them up was not an option. They found an agency that had no issue with them, and it was this adoption agency that found them their future daughters.
Though Roberta expressed reservations at what the transition will be like when the girls come to live with them, she has faith that the dogs will ease that transition.
For instance, Curtis was never a morning person until they adopted Red. Roberta says she couldn’t even talk to him for the first hour of each day. Now, Red jumps all over Curtis in the morning and he wakes up with a huge smile.
Roberta told PupJournal:
“We have grown a lot from adopting dogs. They all come with their own challenges. I can see how Red has changed my husband, and I think he will be a better father because of it. Red has connected with my husband on a level that I cannot explain. He’s almost like a therapy dog.”
And it’s those challenges and connections that help the Griners feel they are prepared for adopting these three girls, aged 4, 8, and 9, from Poland. Though not much can be disclosed of the children due to privacy issues, Roberta said that she knew as soon as she saw their paperwork that those were their kids.
Roberta and Curtis had many discussions about what kind of child they wanted to adopt, and the adoption process is often a difficult journey. Initially, they agreed on a younger child due to questions of bonding (Roberta always wanted older children, though), and no more than one or two children.
But when Roberta saw these three little girls, much like her feeling with Maggie, she felt a strong instinct that these were their daughters. Curtis has been the one to file all of the paperwork from the beginning, and has been completely ecstatic about these little ladies joining their brood.
When asked how they came up with the idea of photographing their announcement with the dogs, it wasn’t even a question. These dogs are a part of their family as much as the children will be, so of course their first thought was to share it with them.
Though she described themselves as a bit of an “unconventional family,” Roberta says they are all just as excited as if they were expecting a “baby from the belly.”
The girls, who are still being fostered in Poland, are living with two dogs currently. The Griners unofficially fostered a young boy over the summer, and she said the confidence and changes the dogs effected on the child were nothing short of miraculous. They all love children.
Max lets kids do anything with him, all the while with a smile on his face. Red will be excited for somebody to play ball with, and Maggie will be waiting with all the hugs and kisses.
The Griners expect to go to Poland to spend six weeks with the girls in December, and then they will bring them home if all goes well. In addition to the new house, which includes a large bedroom for the girls, a playroom, and tons of toys, The Griners have also joined a church, chosen a neighborhood close to Polish organizations and restaurants, held two baby showers to announce their arrival, and taken two and a half months of Polish lessons to learn the language.
That’s just the short list.
We can’t wait for this story to continue, and know that these girls will have the most wonderful life with amazing parents like Roberta and Curtis — and amazing dogs like Maggie, Red, and Max. (We think they might be in the market for a bigger bed, though.)
If you would like to keep up with Roberta’s work networking and photographing shelter dogs, please follow her page, Saved By A Flash, on Facebook. She is currently focused on Maggie’s former shelter, Darlington County Humane Society — which is completely full and code red. If you are looking for a furry friend in the South Carolina area, please go see the wonderful animals they have to offer! Saving a life could change yours for the better as well.