Thursday, April 10, 2008


When we first moved to this house, about nine years ago, a freind of my husband gave us a yellow lab puppy. We named him Alex, and he was really cute--for about 5 minutes. We had three little kids at the time, and being as Alex was a puppy, he liked to chew on things--namely, my children. Within 24 hours the two kids that could walk would not get on the floor. They jumped from chairs to counters and then screamed for help to get into another room. They were terrified of this dog. The baby was 9 months old and I couldn't put him down either because the dog would jump all over him and lick him until the baby was screaming. It just so happened that the week we got this puppy was the same week the baby started sleeping through the night. However, the dog didn't. I was up every night to keep him from barking and whining. My husband had had dogs as a kid, I never had, but we were both out of our element. When we mentioned our stress to a freind--a dog lover--and his eyes lit up at the wonderful adventure we were having, we asked if he wanted the dog. He was beside himself with joy. We couldn't get the dog to him fast enough. The night after the puppy left, my baby started waking up at night again.

Not an auspicious start to our dog-life.

About five years ago, a freind of mine told me about a freind of hers that did poodle rescue, this is when someone takes care of a dog that's been removed from a bad situation and needs a home. The foster family can't keep the dog, but they take care of it until someone else can do it. She absoutley LOVED poodles and so well marketed the benefits of owning this particular dog that I overcame my past experience with Alex and agreed to get this dog thinking he would be great for the kids. I had to buy him a plane ticket--$200--to fly in from Portland. I had to get his shots current and his teeth cleaned--$178--at the vet. He hated the children and was terrified of my husband. Turns out he was from an abusive home and had been treated very badly. Every time you would go to pick him up he would press himself to the floor and wimper. One day he came in the house limping and after another trip to the vet--$95--we found out he had a bad back and had slipped a disk or something. He was put on doggie narcotics--$30--and became even less pacient of the kids when he was on his meds. Three months into dog ownership I was backing out of the driveway--thinking he was in the house--and I ran over him. It was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life. We rushed him to an animal ER where he was set up with a drain and a cast--$500--and then two days later the xrays revieled he had a fractured hip as well as more dmage to his back. It would cost over $3,000 to fix it and he would likely be in pain for the rest of his life. We had to make the awful decision to have him put to sleep. Honestly, I was an absolute mess. Even though this dog was not what I had hoped for, I felt so awful to have it end this way. I called my husband from the vet--blubbering incoherantly to the point that he thought I was pregnant again. He went in and did the final paperwork and paid the fees--$150.

After this we silently swore off dog ownership.

Until now, sorta. A freind of ours is fostering two dogs, both are Australian cattle dogs. She's decided to keep one but needs to find a home for the other one. Enter my daughter, child #1, a consummate animal lover and begger of let-me-have-a-dog for going on three years now. She went to this girls house and fell in love with Tex. We agreed to a trial basis (yeah, right) and so for the last week have had Tex where the goats used to be. Despite my hesitations, it's actually going really well. He's an outside dog, and came from a ranch, so he has no expectation of curling up in front of the fireplace. Good thing since my hubby has physical reactions to the idea of a dog in the house these days. He obeys several commands, is great with the kids, and knows how to be taken on a walk (the poodle constantly wrapped the leash around me and made me nearly trip over him). He can fetch, he's in good health, and rather cute. Cute always helps with me.

So, tomorrow night we'll be meeting with the kids for a final vote. We've left it up to them 100% because they WILL be the ones feeding and playing with the dog (ha, ha, ha) and we want them all on board. I'm betting they will all be in support, which means we'll be dog owners again. Let's hope 3rd times the charm.

On another note, and meaning no disrespect to J. Scott Savage by including him on my DOG post, he is beginning his blog tour for his new book Farworld which will be released by Shadow Mountain in the fall. He's a great writer and a great man, I couldn't be more thrilled for his success. If anyone would like to be a part of his blog tour, go to his blog and read the details. I'm hoping to be included as I would like nothing more than for him to hit the bestsellers list. Getting a free book doesn't hurt either.


Annette Lyon said...

You've described quite accurately several of the reasons I do not want to be a dog owner. I've won for several years, but I have a feeling eventually I'll lose--I'm already outvoted around here.

I'm a cat person, but we've had two, and both experiences ended badly (the first not unlike your experience with the poodle--I can so relate. I was a mess), so the next pet will be a dog. I'm digging in my heels as long as I can.

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, my goodness; you are a BRAVE woman. We have one cat, and she drives me NUTTY.

Marion Jensen said...

I told my kids we could get a dog as long as it a) doesn't eat, b) doesn't poop, and c) doesn't make any noise.

Then I bought them stuffed animals for Christmas.

I'm still waiting for my father of the year award.

J Scott Savage said...

We finally have the coolest dog in the world after several dismal failures. Pepper is a Border Collie that does everything but vacuum the Living Room. She's more obedient than any of our kids and cheaper to feed by far.

Thanks for joining the blog tour. Don't forget to e-mail me with your contact info and if you have a date preference.

Sandra said...

I have always had either a cat or a dog or both. I would hate not having one. However, right now we have my son's two black labs. I would be happy to let them go except I would have to start over with a puppy and my yard is already a mess from these two!

I am all for outside animals- all the way. No curling up in front of the fireplace for my animals- unless you are a kitty, but then I want you on my feet in the night when it is cold.

Julie Wright said...

Dog ownership rocks. A house is 80%less likely to be broken in to if a dog is on the premises. Welcome to the world of dog ownership. I agree that you were right about swearing dogs off after reading of your first two experiences. You are brave to try again!

Rachelle Christensen said...

This is hilarious! I love animals and always had a dog and several cats growing up, but after several horrid experiences with neighbor's who had barking dogs in pretty much every place we've lived, I doubt my husband and I will ever get a dog. We have two cats and we love them!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Hope it continues to go well. I live in fear of being talked into a dog some day.

ali cross said...

Oh yes I'm quite familiar with the heart wrenching journey that is dog-ownership. I hope it all works out with Tex, Josie!