Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Puppy Hunt Begins

Ever since I moved to Michigan and away from my family dog, I have wanted one of my own. There's just something about having a dog in a house that makes things so much better. The lovely greeting at the door when you come home, the whining when you're not paying enough attention to them, the playful pounce onto the bed even when they know it's off limits. I miss it all.

So, what did I start planning the day I moved out? Finding a dog. I've been searching CraigsList, Petfinder and websites for local rescues. A week ago I saw that a volunteer from the local animal control posted on CraigsList pictures of the dogs they have available for adoption and I was a goner. One of the dogs looks like a black lab/border collie/retriever mix. They had her listed as 10 months old, friendly and already house broken. I wanted her immediately but I waited.

The next day I checked the site again and she was still available. I waited some more, still there. It was the weekend so when Monday rolled around I checked again and she still had not been adopted out. The entire time I made myself wait, it was for a reason. I was evaluating my situation, could I be responsible enough to own a dog? Would I be able to properly take care of it, walking, feeding, vet checks, etc.? Was I really ready for a dog? Oh Hell Yes I was!

Finally, this morning I broke down and visited Animal Control to see her in person and get a feel for her personality. Immediately I could tell that she was energetic and playful as she pressed up against the cage waiting for me to pet her. I asked one of the volunteers if I could take her out of the cage for some one-on-one time, and I was told there was a fenced-in area outside where she could run around. When walking her out on the leash I noticed she would need a bit of lead training, but that was to be expected.

As we got outside I noticed it was a little muddy out but I really didn't think anything of it. I should have known better. We got into the fenced area and already she was jumping around excitedly because she knew she was going to be let off her leash. (I can only imagine being kept in those cages the level of stir craziness those dogs must get to.) I reached down to un-clip her leash and before I was even able to stand all of the way up, I was covered, head to toe, in mud. In all of her excitement and jumping around she had splashed mud onto her legs, and then onto my pants. The moment I let her off the leash she jumped on me dragging her muddy legs from my shoulders all of the way down to my waist before running off to play.

Looking down at my coat all I could think was "Well, at least it's black and it'll wash easily." After that I added teaching her not to jump up to the list of training she would need. When she was done running around and came back to me I checked her for aggression by playing with her ears, gently pulling on her tail and rubbing her snout to see if I would get any negative reactions. For me that was a necessary test because I have a 7 year old little cousin who loves dogs and I couldn't have a dog that would snap when touched in a place it is protective of. She calmly sat there while I patted her down.

After letting her run around for a little bit and throwing a ball for her to chase (notice my use of the word "chase" because she does not fetch them, she only chases them) we went back inside and I felt my heart strings tugged when I tried to put her in her cage and she didn't want to go back. She kept trying to get me to play with her but she listened and climbed back in. Trying to force myself not to jump at the first dog I liked, I checked out a few other dogs. One in particular was such a sweetheart and if I hadn't been allergic to him I probably would have seriously considered adopting him.

I went home and changed out of my muddy clothes and thought about adopting the dog some more and finally came to a decision. Tomorrow morning I'm heading in to adopt my very first dog of my own! It's exciting because I've wanted one for such a long time, but I also wanted to make sure I was being responsible to the prospective dog as well. Before I head to the control center I'm going to pick up a cage because one thing I couldn't determine was if she's a chewer, but I'm betting she is with the lab in her.

I told my mom about the dog I liked and she asked me if I picked out a name yet and mostly I hadn't, I do like the name Coda, but I also want to see what sounds she responds to best. When I mentioned she has a white stripe on her chest in all of that black fur my brother goes "oh, so she's like a reverse skunk, you should name her Flower!" For those of you unfamiliar with Disney cartoons, Flower was the name of the skunk in Bambi. I immediately vetoed that idea.

Since it's getting late and I have some puppy proofing of my house to do before I pick her up in the morning I'm going to end things here. I have no doubt I'll be updating with lots of pictures later this week.

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