Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The P Word

When people tell me, "I support rescue, but I also want a puppy," I definitely understand the sentiment. Many dog lovers do both - raise a puppy and also adopt an older dog later on. I often tell people, "I think everyone should raise a puppy from the ground up at least once." Well, unless you're a cat person, I guess. Cat people are excused from this assignment.

I have indeed raised a puppy from scratch. Lucy Annabel came to us back in 1998, right after we bought our house. We lost her to cancer when she was 8 1/2. Oh, how I loved that dog. I still miss her. She was my sidekick. My right-hand girl. We also adopted three dogs over time: Karl Lee (who was Lucy's contemporary), Gideon, and Gretchen. We've also fostered countless dogs.  Some of those dogs were puppies, which is what caused me to adopt the mantra, "I'll never have another puppy. Never." Puppies wear out their welcome pretty darn fast.

I was pretty sure I never wanted another puppy until . . . recently. The Mister and I have been talking and we are toying with the idea of getting a puppy. Gideon's passing is still very fresh (I got all teary at yoga last night just thinking about my boy), so it's not like we're going to bring home a pup right away. But, we're pondering it.  I am currently fostering a German Shepherd. He's a very nice boy and he gives me something to focus on besides my grief. I fostered Boxers for 15 years and often had a brown (fawn) shadow. Now I have a black one. Agent is quite attached to me so that makes me feel needed. Gretchen is being unusually conciliatory and has not given the new guy the business like she does with most foster dogs. She is also getting used to this new concept of being smacked in the face with a long furry tail (something that does not happen in a house full of Boxers).

If we do get a Boxer puppy, we might end up being in a weird spot. I have spent much of my adult life crusading against puppy mills and backyard breeders. I would not buy a pup from either source. However, I can't really afford the going rate for a pup from a reputable breeder. I knew of two breeders recently who each had a fawn male available (I can only get a male because I think Gretchen will not be a fan of any doggie who has a vagina). One breeder quoted $1400 and the other quoted $1600.  I am not in any way suggesting that these prices aren't fair - I'm just saying that I can't afford it. So, that makes it tough.

I think we'll just wait and see if some opportunity arises on its own in the next six months or so. I am not so sure I'd want to housebreak a baby dog in the middle of winter anyway. My reason for wanting a pup instead of an older dog is that I'd like to get back into Agility. I competed in Agility with Lucy and it was a lot of fun. I thought maybe I could get Gretchen into Agility but I took her to some obedience classes and she basically gave me the finger the whole time. She had no interest in it at all. If I can start with a pup, I think I have a better shot. Who knows, I may want to get involved in other stuff like therapy work, etc.

If I get a puppy and then start complaining about poop on my carpet, please feel free to say, "I told you so."

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