Monday, September 26, 2005

Gone to the Dogs

This weekend, we got a dog.

When I was nine years old, my family got a dog from the ASPCA. She was a black beagle mix mutt that cost us $8, we named her Mistletoe (Missy for short) since we got her near Christmas time, and she lived to the ripe old age of 16.

My husband grew up with two different dogs, both full-bred boxers. His first flopped over dead of a sudden heart problem one summer afternoon while they were playing catch. The other one lived happily into her double digits, a good deal for large full-bred dogs, I'm to understand.

So, by and large, we consider ourselves "dog" people. Except, when we got married and moved into our city apartment, a dog wasn't even an option. Instead we got a cat. She's meaner than piss, looking and acting a lot like Garfield, but I love her because I'm the only person she actually likes.

Several years later, we moved into a house. A dog became an option, especially since we had a fenced in back yard. But we both worked 50 plus hour-a-week jobs, and we knew it wasn't fair to keep a dog crated or left alone all day that way.

A few years later, we had two kids and I got laid off from my job. We decided that my career as a stay-at-home-mom should begin. Thus, the conditions were at long last ripe for us to get that dog we'd always figured one day we'd have, you know, being "dog" people and all.

Except, we'd moved and we no longer have a fenced in yard.

And we have all hard wood floors in our house, floors that could be scratched by dog claws.

And when we go out of town to visit family, we don't really know anyone who might be willing to take our dog in, thus the need for a kennel.

And dogs shed. Some of them a lot. A. Lot.

And they don't use a litter box like a cat does. They need to be walked, even when it's cold and snowy outside. I live in Chicago. It's cold and snowy. A. Lot.

And dogs bark. Some of them a lot. A. Lot.

For "dog" people, we weren't feeling the love for dogs an awful lot. Simply put, dogs are a lot of work. They don't grow up like kids. They aren't self-sufficient - indeed, care by humans completely unnecessary and almost an annoyance - like cats are. The cons list, when I started to compile one, was as long as my arm while the pros list pretty much started and ended with "Dogs are loyal and add so much to your life!"

Then Katrina hit and I watched b-reel after b-reel of abandoned dogs on porches and dogs being ripped from their owners' arms because no dogs were allowed on the transport buses. I wept huge tears over all of these pets who basically had to be left to starve or drown.

I told my husband we should adopt one. He sort of kind of thought maybe possibly we should think about considering such a remote distant idea. If I was on board 75%, he was a measly 25%.

I also told a woman from my church how I felt about those dogs. Come to find out, she's a foster home for dogs that go through a local pet rescue group. I explained to her about my husband's reluctance, and we decided maybe we could introduce him slowly to some of the dogs she currently had living at her home, and maybe in a few months/years/decades, he'd warm up to the idea.

She called this past Friday night with the perfect dog for us. Not too big. Not too small. Loves kids. Sweet disposition. Short hair. No barking. She'd been kept chained up, had been attacked by another dog or animal which had hurt her bad enough to leave scars, had been scheduled for euthanizing, rescued at the last minute, finally adopted out only to be returned to the rescue group when her new owner turned out to be violently allergic to her. This poor thing had paid her dues and then some. Somewhere between a year or two old, she's an all-American mutt, part beagle, part yellow lab, part shepard, part boxer, heck, probably part wolverine. She's cute as can be.

We went to see her on Saturday afternoon. I picked her up on Saturday night.

We've had her just over 48 hours and she's peed on the floor twice, pooped once, and threw up her entire breakfast this morning.

Yeah, I'm a "dog" person all right.


AE Rought said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of Doggie rescue. :) We rescued a mixed breed puppy last year. Her entire litter was literally put out in the street. Now, she sleeps on our bed, get's grilled chicekn breasts, scrambled eggs (both on occasion) and even takes a bath with my hubby.

We have also had our fair share of doggie no-nos; scratched floors, hair everywhere, piddle puddles and a vomit incident *Ew*; but beyond that, Kimber is great!

jessica_deva said...

Just give her a little time to adjust and all will be well. I have two rescue dogs myself and it does take a little more work, but boy - talk about your unconditional love! I'm pretty sure that I would have been one of the people who didn't evacuate because I couldn't leave my dogs!

Monica said...

So funny! They are as much trouble as a toddler, but you end up loving the troublesome poopy, expensive, puking things.