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People & Pets

Finally — a dog!

12/1/2021

Cayla Nord realized a lifelong dream when she finally adopted Molly in 2015 from Panora PETS.

Cayla Nord  says adopting pets is the right thing to do.

As a child, Cayla Nord dreamed of owning a puppy. She asked Santa Claus and wrote a persuasive letter to her parents outlining how she’d take care of a dog. But the pleading and begging didn’t work. She remained dogless. 

As an adult, she still wanted her own dog, and she finally adopted Molly in 2015 from Panora PETS (Protecting Even The Strays) in Panora.

Molly is a mix of a half dozen different breeds. According to her DNA test, she’s part American Shepard, terrier, pit bull and more.

Molly shares a home with Nord’s husband, Derek, and his dog, Jasmine, a puggle. The couple thought Jasmine could use a friend. The two dogs get along — most of the time.

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“Jasmine tolerates Molly. Molly loves her older sister,” she says. “But Jasmine was howling and crying when we left to come here (for the interview).”

Nord feels adoption is the best way to obtain a dog. 

“There’s so many pets in shelters,” she says. “I know people want certain breeds for whatever reason. I’d rather see dogs find a home. So many dogs need a second chance.”

She admits that Molly took time to adjust to her new home. 

“She wasn’t house trained. She was timid and scared. You have to put the work in. But she deserves a chance,” she says. 

Nord says adopting is always the right thing to do. She says shelters help with behavioral problems after an animal is adopted out. 

“Most rescues want a successful adoption. Rescues are your first resource,” she says.

Because of her love of dogs, she began volunteering with the Pet Project. The Pet Project is a non-profit that gives food and pet supplies to those in need. Cayla helps distribute food to clients requesting pet food. 

“Volunteering once a month isn’t a huge time commitment,” she explains. “It’s rewarding and a great experience. You can tell that people receiving the food are thankful and appreciative. We have one person who always gives me a few dollars to put in the donation bucket. She didn’t need to do it. It shows she appreciates the support.”

Nord started a social media page, Dog Spots DSM, which promotes dog friendly places and resources in Des Moines. She and Molly look for new places to explore and share with other dog owners.

Nord says a dog’s unconditional love is one reason why she wanted a dog so long ago. 

“I love dogs because they are there for you, taking you as your are — good days and bad,” she says. “I always love her even if she’s barking and annoying. She has a happy wagging tail every time I get home. It makes everything better.”

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