Thursday, October 18, 2012

change of heart

I am not a person who has ever cared about animals. Ever. Mostly, I just could not understand people who seemed to care about animals at the expense of human relationships. That I still don't get. But we're adopting a puppy! And holy crap. I can't BELIEVE pet sales are allowed to happen. For health reasons like allergies, OK. Not all breeders are terrible people, and there are lots of people who sell ethically. But even when they're selling, there doesn't seem to be much follow-up.
Here's what we wanted:
-2 puppies
-Small ones
-Super tiny smushable ones
-After the baby arrived
We figured we'd have to buy. We went to the puppy store and SWORE if we bought we'd just never tell anyone that's how we got the dogs because people are a leeeeettle ridiculous about their puppy store anger.
And the lady at the store was talking to us about breeds and needs of brand new puppies (they sell miniature breeds of dogs almost exclusively, and their thimble sized bladders need to be relieved like every 45 minutes) and suddenly I was all, "huh." We walked out of there with me springing a new plan on The Foliage:
-1 dog
-A medium sized one
-Still pretty young
-Maybe nowish
Because we like to go on hikes! The Foliage is a frisbee addict who runs FOR FUN ON PURPOSE! We like to do stuff and I have no desire to carry a dog! Also I kept visualizing a tiny little Maltese-mix totally exhaused and tangled up in weeds on a trail. And I was already annoyed with this stupid little dog. And we want to be able to train it and socialize it and get it settled pre-baby. In my family, babies happened first and there were no dogs until I was in college. I feared the same thing would happen to us. I really can't picture having a kid and then being, like, "Hey! Let's add something potentially messy that can't communicate and has the strength and claws to rip apart a baby!" Somewhat unlikely. But I would like our kids to grow up with dogs.
So we went to the humane society! And there were several dogs that were pretty adorbs, but MAN it's hard to get a sense of the dog's temperament in that setting. So many things happening! So much barking! ZOMG all the people! I can imagine if I were a dog in there, I'd be pretty overwhelmed and terrified.
Are you reading this?? Empathisizing with DOGS??? It's like I'm a totally new person! A totally new super annoying animal liking person!
And while I really liked 2 dogs at the shelter (we were still debating between 1 or 2 at this point) - a female snow-white American Alaskan and a male red long-haired Chihuahua (who seriously looked just like Sir Dydimus, I shit you not) - The Foliage was not convinced. They would have been named Zuul and Vince Clortho, by the by. So we went home. And I went online to adoption websites. And came across a puppy being boarded just a couple miles from us and ZOMG HIS FLOPPY EARS AND CUTE LITTLE FACE OMGGGGGG.
The Foliage agreed. This dog was cute with a capital HOLY EFF. And we emailed. And the adoption rep lady said there were a bunch of inquiries, so we figured no dice. Keep looking. But all the other dogs, while still adorable because duh puppies, were just unsatisfying. But then they asked us to come out for a visit! And said our application was at the top!
So yesterday we visited. And today a guy from the agency looked at our house. And the agencyguy and the puppy foster mom are recommending us!! And we could have this dog as early as this weekend. Which is nuts because 1 week ago we had COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLANS for this whole thing. As soon as we get him, pictures will be forthcoming. Assuming we can get him to hold still for the camera. That cannot be guaranteed.
Anyway, here is my rage: looking on CraigsList for dog supplies on the cheap, I keep seeing dogs for sale. Puppies. Older dogs. For hundreds of dollars. No questions about the buyer. Nothing about the dogs' health/reproductive status. I couldn't help but think of all the dogs in the shelter, many of whom were probably purchased from people who, "just can't handle it," or are, "moving and new place doesn't allow pets." Dogs aren't always convenient - no commitment is. But HOLY MOTHER. Did you not think about this at ALL?! I think not being able to handle a dog is a totally valid status. That's how I've been in my adult life until now. But people getting dogs without actually committing to see that shit through? That is just unfathomable to me. Just don't get a dog! For crissakes! And how can anyone look at a litter of puppies and just take money for them without making sure their new owners don't suck? Or neutering them?
Separate rage: 101 Dalmations. An entire plantation of inbreeding, sexually intact dalmations? Seriously? That's your dream world? You are douchebags, Mr. and Mrs. Radcliffe (Dearly in the book, FYI).


E. said...

So a friend of mine got a dog because they were struggling with infertility and I think they thought it would help them emotionally, but the dog turned out to be so difficult that when the baby came, the dog tried to bite the baby and attacked the visitors and could not adjust and they wound up having to get rid of the dog.

I worry a lot about people that get dogs when they are pregnant, because it just seems like a bad plan. I understand the value of getting the dog settled, but I know a number of my other friends have had major problems getting the dog to adjust to the baby, and that the dog does not realize that it is not #1 anymore after the baby comes. I think actually that getting a dog when you are having a baby probably leads to a lot of people giving up the dogs because they can't handle it. Obviously, this will not be you, but it is pretty heartbreaking.

The Foliage said...

I think it's really a matter of training and reinforcement. You establish an appropriate relationship with the dog so they know that you care about them as well as others at the same time, and when the baby comes, you don't suddenly change your behavior or attention level, you love the baby and the dog. That way the dog doesn't feel that the baby has taken their place in the pack, and they in fact perceive it as a new pack member to be protected and loved just like the parents.

Johannah said...

Yay puppy!!
I love that you're smart and adaptable.