Monday, April 21, 2008

Puppy spring

Since we moved in together 19 years ago, my husband and I have been a 2 dog family. At one point we were a two dog, two cat, two turtle, two rat, snake, rabbit and hamster family, but there was a fall when many of amphibians fled, and natural attrition got us down to one of most things, none of a few others.

Well, last weekend we went back up to two dogs. I fought it, being totally overwhelmed on a good day, since we had to put our beloved Sonya to sleep the weekend before my first child’s bat mitzvah sixteen month ago. I tore my rotator cuff falling down the back stairs to take her out in the last months of her life. After that I enjoyed the relative sanity of raising a single puppy who was supposed to grow to 50 pounds and instead tips the scales at 70. And my husband WANTED him to sleep with us. He is mellow and sweet and a gem. But my son needs a project, and life was just too calm. Our single dog was acting old and sleeping all day, so we trundled down to a local shelter, and prepared to fall in love. It took several visits. And they come check out your house. Which was not clean and had a rabbit running around and there's the cat with the shady understanding of the concept of Litter Box. But it was clear we like animals and tolerate some questionable behavior.

Getting a dog is upsetting the apple cart of organization in your life. Getting a puppy is like having children—if you really thought about it, you would never ever do it. Getting a lab/hound mix is just patently insane, but if you are ok with spending a year having everything chewed up, you end up with the best friend you always wanted.

Every animal that lives with us was rescued. We never really pick them, they find us-- we allow a slit of an opening of acceptance of another sentient being in our lives, you know—Mom says yes—and they see that sliver of light and go for it and move on in to our hearts. I thought we would get a boxer or a dachshund—but there in a crate at the shelter was a set of sad brown eyes disturbingly similar to another pair of eyes that I miss—Sonya’s sad soulful eyes. If this pup, named Houdini for his natural ability to escape, turns out to be a Vizsla like she was, he will be a cuddly escape artist able to gingerly remove food from counter tops. He will chew expensive items that cannot be easily replaced. He will make more work for me. He will drive us mad and cost us a fortune. And we will love him beyond all reason. My children will sleep on him and tell him their troubles and get into pickles and mud fests with him. Because getting a dog is like having children, there is no logic or sense to it, but your life is never the same in a positive way, when you take that leap of faith and say.

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