Monday, November 14, 2011

Want to See Our New Dog? (Babble)

The kids (particularly Aden–well, almost exclusively Aden) have been begging for a dog for a while.  We’ve been putting it off until certain milestones were met because there’s a limit to how many small mammals we really want to care for in the house, but we recently reached a point where a dog seemed doable.  If we found the right dog.

Ian has allergies, primarily to cats, but sometimes to dogs.  We had rabbits for years.  I didn’t realize just how many years until I was filling out an application for adoption at a local animal control center and I had to list all former pets.  Our first bunny we had for about six years.  Her name was Cujo and she taught us a great deal about learning not to become too attached to possessions.  Rabbits chew EVERYTHING and you can’t yell at a bunny, so eventually you acquire a zen sort of attitude of “they are just things….”  Cujo was killed by a cat in our backyard not long after we bought our first house.  We had to go out and buy a shovel specifically for burying her which was awful.

About six months later we adopted a bonded pair of bunny sisters from the humane society, and we wanted to name them Polka and Dot, but Polka turned out to be more of a Scout.  They were supposedly a couple of years old when we got them and they lived another six years or so.  Dot died of bladder cancer, but we think Scout died a couple of months later from grief.  They really didn’t know what to do apart from one another.

We’ve lived long enough without pets that I had stopped thinking of us as pet people.  (Although I toyed with the idea during a brief period a year ago when we weren’t sure if we owned a cat.)  Ian told me he’s always thought of us as pet people, just pet people on a hiatus.

So last week our neighbor (who takes in foster dogs) forwarded us a picture of a little Lhasa Apso/Miniature Poodle mix that had just come into the rescue shelter that she thought might be a good fit for us.

He’s two years old and very sweet.  We wanted to find a dog through a rescue shelter if we could, but it had to be one that didn’t make my husband sneeze. We set up a meet and greet on Friday.  I couldn’t decide if it made more sense for us to go alone and check out Ian’s reaction to the dog, or if the kids should come too.  We decided since it was so important to see how the dog was with the kids that it was worth risking it not working out, so we surprised them with the trip to the shelter.

The poor dog was so traumatized by the shelter experience that he was pretty skittish and nervous, and he barked at Aden at first.  But eventually he climbed happily into my lap and let everyone pet him and he warmed up rather quickly.  We all fell in love with the dog.

But Ian seemed to be having some kind of reaction after we left, which gave us concern.  The dog wasn’t officially available for adoption until he’d seen a vet on Sunday, so we went about our weekend and on Sunday afternoon Ian went out by himself to spend some time with the dog.  I told him if he had any kind of allergic reaction to leave the dog there and bring home ice cream instead to soften the blow.  But if he was sure the dog wouldn’t be a problem to bring him home.  There was a possibility that the cats at the shelter were what caused Ian’s reaction before, but it was hard to know.  The kids and I spent a tense couple of hours while we waited and wondered what would happen.

Then, in the middle of dinner we heard Ian come in the back door.  At first I braced for disappointment because all I heard was Ian (not that Ian’s arrival is ever disappointing, don’t get me wrong), but then there was the little clicking sound of dog nails on the kitchen floor and I realized we now owned a dog.

The kids were beyond thrilled.  Aden immediately abandoned her dinner in order to walk the dog.  She and Ian and Mona all took the dog out.  The sweet thing was when it was time to head home the dog ran to our front door as if he’d done that a million times before.  Within a couple of hours it felt as if we’d always had this dog.  It’s weird.  I know there will be lots of adjustments as we all get used to each other and figure things out, but honestly the dog already looks settled in and this feels very natural.

Aden and I walked to Target to pick up a dog dish and some food and a collar.  It was fun taking the dog out for one last evening walk tonight, and the girls are excited about taking him for a walk in the morning before breakfast.  Quinn still seems slightly uncertain about the whole thing, but I think was won over by an unexpectedly hilarious game of fetch with a rubber ball before bed.  Currently the dog likes me, probably because I gave him a bit of leftover chicken from dinner, and he LOVES Ian, probably because he is the pack leader and the hero who saved him from the shelter.  This is Ian’s first dog, so I’m glad he’s getting so much of that sweet puppy adoration.

We’re still not completely settled on a name, but at the moment we seem to be going with Chipper for a first name and Biscuit for the middle one.

Whatever we call him, the dog is darned cute:

And he’s ours!

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