Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I want a dog but my family is indifferent

This is an especially difficult situation, and not one we realize of being so difficult to handle. The obvious choices to one may be: oh well, just don't get a dog, or get one anyway. Neither one of these two responses are satisfactory, but they are choices people quite frequently make. My best friend Kelly, Thea's mum, is stuck in this exact conflicting situation. A dog lover from childhood, who has grown up with not just one, but a house full of dogs ever since she can remember to walk... a dog trainer in her college career, and now married, a mum and an Attorney... her personal and professional life seems to have settled pretty well... one would say! She has two Dachshunds, both senior... and pretty much live on the couch... and two cats, also pretty old in age... she is strongly craving a younger dog. Not necessarily a puppy, but a dog Thea can grow up with, and a dog that she can do things with. She misses this more than anything in life... about three years ago Trey Dog, her canine companion and life partner left to a better place, and she has felt a tremendous void not having him around. Trey was a spunky, quite the character, goof dog... full of life, personality, enthusiasm and intelligence, but quite the independent boy who pushed his limits all the time. He always had to carry a ball around in his mouth, even if he was let out for his last pee call at night... and it was not a tennis ball he had to have, it was a big blue jolly ball! He would carry it along with him on walks... but you know a dog's nose does not work as well with an open mouth... so when he smelled something that required more of his attention, he would drop the ball, and ask Kelly to pick it up while he went on. He did always come back for the ball, she was very well trained. I remember when we worked as Dog Trainers together, Trey Dog picked up graduation presents and bones from the treat isles of the store for all his graduating friends. They all had different things.... Kelly would walk him down and ask him to politely steal some goodies for his graduating friends. Of course we called it stealing, but it was with permission! Today, at the end of the day when its her time and all she wants to do is go on a peaceful walk around the neighborhood, or early mornings when she wakes up just in time to have 30 minutes to an hour alone.... she does not have a running buddy... She can not imagine a life with out an active dog... and looks back at Thea and thinks to herself, how can my little girl grow up without ever loving a dog! So, after much talk and many discussions, she started looking for dogs through local rescue groups, shelters and pet finder. She said "I am going to wait till the right dog finds me... thats how I ended up with Trey Dog remember...." Then she says out loud "doesn't this sound so stupid.... here they all are, every one of the them needing a home, I have a home... the perfect home... what is wrong with me?" I encouraged her to look at the dogs and if there was one she was fond of in anyway to schedule a meet and greet. This past weekend, met a lovely 10 month old Border Collie / Aussie mix. Kelly's concerns were that she needed a dog that would not cause harm or danger to her cats, and one that was respectful of the senior dog and her three year old daughter. Foster mum got there, they met the dog outside, and then introduced him to the Dachshunds one by one. Of course, the Doxies had a lot to say about him, but this poor guy just stood there and said, I understand, I won't come say hello then... and he went about his own way. He was so interested in the people quite frankly it did not matter if we he was going to make doggy friends or not... he was the type of dog who just wanted to be loved by a human. Kelly brought him in, and introduced him to one of her cats. The cat's way of saying hi was this, Hugo walked up to him, the dog bent down to lower his head to sniff, and Hugo went pa pa pa with his feet across this pups face.... the put did not flinch, scream, go after the cat nothing... he just stood there to say, not a big deal, I can pretend you never exist as well... but where are my people. He spots Kelly's Husband sitting on the couch, and goes running over to him and jumps up on him with so much enthusiasm to be loved. Mean while Thea is standing on one side of their living room watching all this... she is three, just taking it all in. Her face, expressionless... not typical for her, so that meant she is thinking... very very deeply. Kelly invited Thea to come in and see if the puppy would play with toys, but disinterested in toys, he went straight for the people once again, and jumped up on her again, with such enthusiasm only wanting for someone to grab him and say, We Love you too! Kelly is completely in a daze at this point... both her husband and daughter set a presence that filled the room, that was a feeling of complete disapproval, but neither voiced their opinions. All she was hoping for is someone to whisper something positive, maybe even something as little as "he seems sweet...." or maybe not even something positive but more so a comment... "hope you are ready for this." At least it would have indicated their feelings to say, he is all yours, but we approve for him to be around. Neither one engaged or interested, Kelly was really sad. She did not show her sadness or disappointment, she gave the puppy a big hug, rubbed him and let him go back to his foster mum. After the foster mum left, Kelly asked her husband how he felt... he was indifferent. Not really wanting another dog, he was concerned about the bills, they have four senior pets that are beginning to require more medical attention... his judgement was all based on practicality. Although a total mush at heart, and he would certainly love the dog if he was to become there's he was not going to let that be seen. Typical of many husbands you may say! I certainly have heard this over and over. So, Kelly walked up to Thea, who was standing right in front of the Dachshunds.... Kelly bent over to her and said, so Thea what do you think? Thea said "I don't like him, I don't think he is a good fit for our family." If anyone has met Thea, you would know I am not making this up. Kelly said "well what do you not like about him..." She said "Nick and Delila did not like him, this is a house for old dogs, he would be a better dog for Grandma Dora." Grandma Dora, Kelly's mum has (I have lost count) many dogs... all of which are active, younger dogs... clearly in Thea's mind, this dog was a better fit for her grandmother. Kelly let her rest on that for the rest of the day, and the next morning after getting Thea up and ready for school... Kelly asked Thea one more time... "Hey Thea, remember the dog we met last night, well I have to call his foster mum today to tell her how we feel...." Thea immediately said "I think we should get an old German Shepherd mum!" __________ There were clearly very valid reasons and concerns for adding another dog. The practicality rhymes of good reason, were not good enough... not for dog people, they never are! We figure it out and make it work! However, when in doubt, I always say this, refer to the purest source of rhyme and reason, an individual who can think so simply and so clearly, the answers lay within them, ALWAYS... children. In this case, there are several thoughts that came to my mind: - Thea is not growing up with out dogs, as a matter of fact, for her age, she has the right dogs... senior dogs who can walk half a block and then have to be pushed back in a pram the rest of the way.... a three year old girl loves that! - The fact that she was so protective of the Dachshunds, she clearly is indicating we are not ready to share... not with someone who will consume so much of you mum! We don't like that. - This discussion in my mind, is no different that if Kelly said she wanted another baby. Father feels their house if full, three year old feels everything is hers and all about her... mum is the only one who still has her maternal instincts kicking on like wild fire! __________ I think in a couple more years all this would change and would make it the perfect time for Kelly to get a dog she can do more with... in the mean time, she will result to possibly fostering! What a great idea and thanks for allowing me to share this story Kelly Foi!

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