I’ve had puppy fever for a year now. I wax and wane on how to resist this but I realize the best medicine to fix this pox is a cute squirmy puppy. That disease resurfaced again when my husband suggested I choose what I wanted for Christmas; perfect timing to press my desire for a new dog. I told him I wanted a puppy, he remained silent about my choice while protesting with his eyes. This wasn’t a brick wall response so I was on the hunt. He didn’t particularly want a new inhabitant of the house. I think Men like homeostasis, but women don’t see limits for their care-taking efforts. I knew it was going to be either a dog or another species of cute and furry, a mini-horse; an animal that wouldn’t share my husband’s fixed idea of numbers for his den. For me it’s a given that an additional soul living with us was just more of the merrier. So I knew I had an opening and was going to use it to my advantage when I argued my choice.
I’d been perusing the Humane Society ads for the past year; I visited their facilities and looked at all the sad faces trying their hardest to make a pitch for taking them home with me. I’ve been doing this for some time, knowing the right time would present itself. I had settled on two choices from the local area. But my heart sunk when I got an email notifying me that my choice had been diagnosed with Parvo and was no longer available. That was quite a jolt. A certain sadness came over me when I saw those words and wondered why they weren’t going to treat her and then allow me to adopt her. They weren’t explaining much. The other dog had been placed according to my next phone call. I was disappointed. I started over on my quest. I had a specific need with a new dog and really no deadline. I don’t like knee jerk decisions, seat of the pants choices yes, but a choice with lots of research behind my final decision.
I have two Jack Russell Terrier’s; my male Shiner is a boastful sort, he’s a retired show dog with a rather impressive record attesting to his charismatic behavior in the show ring. That attitude means as a house pet he’s a bit distant and offers affection with a wily eye towards what it will get him in return. My Vivid, a 13 year old female, believes her world is my world. She considers other “dogs” something to compete with for my affection as she sizes them up for the possibility of doggie smells or petting activities that might be linger on her human. I needed to be very careful on adding a new dog her house.
I tried out some breeds during this past year. I borrowed a Scottish Deerhound and fairly quickly found my terriers looked like prey to her and nixed that idea. Yes, I could start a puppy and maybe quash that desire to chase, but my old dog didn’t need the hassle or the risk of injury if she was rolled by a persistent chaser. I decided a big dog was the best route because Vivid wouldn’t consider a small dog as a replacement. And this dog isn’t a replacement for Vivid.
We’ve had Bouviers for years since my kids were small and they tolerated a busy home and a pack of kids. But they’re very exuberant and I needed a soft landing type of dog for our household now. I consulted all of the experts who I felt comfortable with their opinions. I started looking for a Bernese Mountain Dog. The rescues had older dogs and I was keen on a puppy, in deference to my older dog. If she helped to raise the puppy then all would be good in our home.
I put out feeders of what I needed and found a breeder in the area. My daughter and I went for the first puppy greeting. From a litter of 12 puppies there were 8 still remaining. The breeder turned them out after we met the parents which are her pets. I was adamant that I wanted a dog that had a great temperament and dog showing wasn’t in the cards for me. We did this in the past primarily as a way to spend time with my daughter and not for the sport of winning although that was fun too when it happened. We were on the floor immediately and let the pile of puppies roll over us as we met all of them. Making a decision is hard for me because I don’t like the selection process, they’re all worthy and it feels weird to me to pass over a perfectly wonderful soul who was presently nibbling on my shoe laces. We took pictures of the potential pick so I could get a grasp on who was what. They’re different but when meeting them for the first time they all looked like peas in a pod. We left with puppy smells all over us and were satisfied with the experience with the breeder.
We had a pre-Christmas dinner at our house since my oldest daughter was not going to be here for Christmas. We discussed the merits of the trip into town on our puppy mission. Still not convinced that this was a good idea, my husband pointed out the leaky puppy issues of starting a new dog. I waved this off, no problem, it’s a pleasure to start a new friend but very aware of the work involved to start a new puppy.
We met in Midway after delivering a horse to Midway College. I mentioned the puppy again, just to see if he was pliable enough to keep pushing. He said to me as I stepped out of the truck, we need to talk. Ah no I expected the brick wall. He told me he would agree to the dog. I was ecstatic. Nicole and I called the breeder and asked for another visit that very evening. We arrived with four male puppies in the large crate in the kitchen. I had decided that the Jack Russell male we had wouldn’t take up an argument with a soft tempered male dog, he likes the ones that challenge his authority. Again we spent quite a long time on the floor playing with the puppies. My daughter’s recommendation came down to the charismatic show dog attitude of a big male who was hard to resist, or the second banana who was just as glorious in his looks but not so in your face.
The decision was made for the puppy with freckles on his nose.