Monday, March 8, 2010

Must Love Dogs

Yes, we got a Dog. And we named him D'Artagnan, after the character in The Three Musketeers. And actually, it was splorp! who came up with the name.

We both had great dogs growing up, and we agreed (long, long ago,) that we wanted to get a dog. But we would only get a dog after we were settled in a house of our own. Somehow it has never seemed fair to us to keep a dog in an apartment. Oh, I know some people make it work, but it would not have worked for us.

For one, we are aware of our limitations when it comes to pet-parenting, and if the dog didn't have access to a yard to do his business then we were going to have a rough time with taking the dog outside on a leash. (Again, I know lots of people do it. We're just not that organized and we know it.)

Side note, the only apartment we ever had with a yard specifically stated in the lease that pets were not to be allowed out unattended in the yard. So that eliminated the possibility of having the dog to do his business outside when we were not home. Which is good chunk of the day seeing as how we work full time jobs and all.

Second, if we had a dog while living in an apartment it seemed unfair to the neighbors, who tend to live very close together in an apartment building. If the dog was noisy, then the neighbors who shared our (usually very thin) walls would be stuck hearing him all day long.

So we waited to get a dog until we were settled in our house. We had talked earlier in the house-hunt process of hopefully moving and being settled in time to adopt a dog by Christmas. That didn't happen (what with the wait to hear from the bank on the short sale, then moving during our crazy month of December), so we waited a little longer.

Once we got our routine settled splorp! basically agreed the dog could be my Valentine's Day gift. There wasn't a lot of negotiating - he was on board with the dog idea from the beginning - but I think he wouldn't have minded waiting a bit longer.

Anyway, we went off to the county shelter on Valentine's Day, and took a tour of all the dogs available.

Let me just say it is very sad the number of dogs that were (and are) in the shelter. If you are looking to bring a pet into your home, please check out your local shelter and rescue groups! There are many dogs in need, and they are frequently purebreds, so you're sure to find someone to come home with you.

Some dogs (only a few) were being held for their owners to pick up - they had names on their cages and their "adoption date" was far out in the future (if the owners didn't come by a certain date they would be adopted out). Others (like our Dart) had no names, and were available at much sooner dates.

Dart caught our eye because he was surrounded by very large barking dogs (pit bulls, mostly, with a few boxers), and he was just sitting quietly in the sun in his kennel. No barking, no lunging at the kennel walls. Just enjoying the sun. He seemed very calm.

When one of the shelter workers brought him to the exercise pen, Dart was NOT calm. He was very hyper, running around in circles and rolling on his back to have his belly petted. He was not afraid of men (very important for us!) and he only showed a small amount of aggression to other dogs - barking at the dog in the next exercise pen. He liked treats, he came to both splorp! and me easily, and he rolled on his back and showed submission easily. It was a fairly quick decision to give him a home.

We had to leave him at the shelter to be neutered, and then we were able to pick him up on Wednesday. He rode in the car like a champ, and has been settling in to our household quite well.

After a couple of days at home with us, we were pleased to discover he is already housebroken. We got one of those doggie door inserts for the sliding glass door, and my sister came over with her little dog (Loki), who proceeded to show Dart just how easy the door was to master. I think that contributed to a very fast learning curve - Dart was using his door in about 15 minutes, and now loves his door.

Having a dog in the house is still a bit of an adjustment, and there is a lot of training left to do. Though housebroken, Dart has no "people manners" and tries to jump all over you when you come in the house. We're slowly working on "sit" and "settle" (AKA "lie down").

As far as age, our vet told us Dart is about a year old. I'm leaning on the younger side of a year, as he still mouths things and chews like he is teething, though he has all his adult teeth. And he has a LOT of energy. Still, it is good for us. splorp! and I try to both get out for a walk with him after work, which helps to burn off some of that extra energy. However, he is easily excited on our walks, and "heel" is going slowly.

But practice is important, right? And we're certainly practicing.

1 comment:

Gayle Ficarra Wolcott said...

Felt like I was right there with you both. I could feel Dart pulling on the leash. Down, Down!!