Friday, June 14, 2013

Rescue Dog

Ruby at 4 1/2 weeks. 
After years of resistance I have finally recognized the need for a dog in our lives. In Eric's life. My step-dog, Toby, the 14-year old Weimaraner, crossed over to doggie heaven a few months back. Since Toby was so old and frail he didn't visit us much the last several years.

The last time we lived with a dog full time was before Hanna died at 13, six years ago.  Hanna was a wonderful family dog. She was gentle with the kids but was a fierce defender of the property. I wanted a Lab, but my ex husband wouldn't go for it. He thought it was ridiculous to spend five hundred dollars for a purebred. We ended up with a Lab mix that we bought for twenty-five dollars in upscale Atherton. Hanna and the other pups were unplanned. Their mother  went off on a frolic of her own and turned up pregnant.

Unfortunately, the sire, in addition to being a roving horn dog, must have been a German Shepherd. Thus, my desired gentle, not very smart Lab was in reality pretty sharp and had an edge. She was to be the antidote to my previous two dogs - Doberman Pinchers. They were large and had a lot of bark and a bit of bite. It seems that choosing dogs is a bit like choosing men. The next one is to counterbalance what came before.

I did not choose our new dog. Eric (along with the rest of the world) has gone crazy for French Bulldogs. Who can blame him? Charming and sweet - Frenchies aim to please. Their sole purpose is to be your companion. They are so popular it was kind of a challenge to find one. The timing needs to be just right. I'll have two months off from school so I can be with her and train her.

It's been 19 years since I had a puppy, but I do remember it was a lot of work. I'm hoping part of what I remember is what it was like to have three kids AND a puppy. I believe a puppy is like anything else. You get out of it what you put into it. Early training, socialization and bonding makes all the difference

We so look forward to Ruby getting big enough to come live with us. I've never seen Eric so excited about anything. We can hardly wait. What I did not expect was the harsh diatribes from dog "lovers" who rue our choice. We shouldn't get a designer dog. We should get a rescue dog. There are thousand of dogs who need homes. Blah, blah, blah.

Stop raining cats and dogs on our parade! It's not our cause to save dogs that nobody else wants. Save all the dogs you want, but back off. Fanatic extremism is unflattering at best. At worst it's abusive. You're not better if you adopt an unwanted animal. Trying to make people feel bad about their choices is just not nice.

Sometimes you need to get what you want. Sometimes you'll plunk down your whole tax return to make yourself happy. When you're almost 62 and feeling a little tired and achy and like there's not that much to look forward to. When you've worked really hard for a lot of years in a stressful job. When you've put people through college and paid mortgages. When there are potentially scary issues with your health. Sometimes it's not the dog that needs saving. Sometimes it's the person. Ruby is going to be a rescue dog after all.