Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm not that crazy yet.

Today we walked into dance class and were greeted by the sight of a very small Pit bull puppy in a Louis Vuitton purse. (What, your animals don't travel couture?)  It was maybe eight weeks old, brindle spotted and white, and was taken in as a rescue by one of the moms who has much more patience than I do, and is either a whole lot more sane or a whole lot crazier, I haven't decided which.

Mary and Anna were in love, of course. It wasn't hard to see why: puppy dog was maybe two pounds, all wrinkles and big paws and floppy ears. They saw that dog and saw perfection. I saw him and had visions of one hundred pounds of jaws eating my sofa, land mines in the back yard and vet bills to rival my car payment. I could smell wet dog on a rainy day, feel the kibbles crunch under my bare feet at two in the morning as I woke to let a dog into the yard. I tried to smile. It was hard.

I don't hate animals. I don't even dislike dogs. I really like dogs. But we've tried the dog thing before. When I was just pregnant with Mary, we were in the final stages of adopting a greyhound from a rescue. I had had a greyhound mix growing up so I knew I liked the breed. One of my best friends' families had adopted from another rescue and I knew rescues were the unselfish, kind way to adopt an animal. And we did get a lovely dog, but he was completely unsuited for our family, and that's when I learned the hard way that some rescues aren't rescues at all but shady groups of people who take your money, lie to you about animals that love children (he is kind to the girls but completely unnerved by them and that causes him to freak out and scatter trash everywhere) and, when you try to contact them about medical issues they didn't properly disclose, get told you are out of luck, and then they change their number. Literally.

Most rescues are great. Most rescues are full of altruistic people who love animals. Unfortunately that didn't seem to be the case, and as a result we wound up completely stressed out and fed up with a dog that had a lot of psychological issues and the poor dog wound up having a near nervous breakdown from too much stress, too many kids and poor socialization. Which was a damned shame because he's a great dog. His story has a happy ending: Tim's nana agreed to take him for "a few weeks" after Anna was born so he could calm down and we could get settled and it turned out he loved the quiet house and she loved the company, and soul mates were found. He is a completely different dog. But I feel for other dogs who may not have had such a great outcome.

That was a couple of years ago now but I still can't look at a puppy and see anything but piles and piles of work. Because as the stay at home parent, we all know who's job it's going to be to wrestle a leaping pile of fur into the car along with three kids and hit the vet's office. We all know who's going to be "cleaning" the back yard so the kids can play in summer without also playing Biohazard. We had a dog growing up and my mom must have been Superwoman because not only did most of the care fall to her, but she treated that dog like the third kid she never had and Lady was one of the happiest dogs I've ever met.

I am not that saint. Not even close. And as such, there will be no dogs. I can handle cats. And we have two ferrets. I feel kind of like a quitter admitting that a dog, any dog, is so far beyond my area of expertise that we will likely never have one again.

I've explained this to my husband. I've explained it to Mary. I'm sure I will have to have the same talk with Anna soon, and then Lily. Tim understands. Mary wishes for a puppy like crazy but until lately contented herself with visiting Orlin, the aforementioned greyhound, whenever we visit my in laws and Nana.

Until today. Until the puppy and the little warm ball of cute that does not have the same ramifications for a besotted four year old.

So she came up with a substitute.
(Notice that Lily is making the same face as Mary did when she met a crippled duck. I anticipate this lasting another couple of months, then she's going to have to buy Anna off or something.)


  1. Otto- harder as a puppy than Logan was as a newborn.

  2. Adult dogs >>>>> puppies.

    Also, shelters >>>> rescues. Shelters don't actually go anywhere. Rescues are at worst shady liars and at best have holier than thou attitudes. The rescue I got Jasper from refused to take him back when I had to get rid of him due to a (very minor) biting incident and then threatened to sue me for breech of contract because I gave him to the shelter anyway. They thought I should have sold my place and moved rather than rehoming the dog ever under any circumstances...