Friday, March 7, 2014

The Mission

As soon as my friends found out we were in the market, my inboxes and Facebook page were flooded with links and posts and emails about dogs who needed homes. It was a literal smorgasbord of cute canines—little dogs, big dogs, young dogs, old dogs, purebreds, mutts; you name it—with an emphasis on pit bulls because the shelters are loaded with them, and brindles, because that’s what Motley was.

My friends were on a mission. They’re animal lovers like me and if you can’t get another pet yourself because you have too many already, the next best thing is helping your friend get one. It’s like shopping by proxy. It’s not the real thing but you can still get your rocks off. This happens in the horse world all the time. We’re always finding horses for each other and going out on shopping expeditions together. One of us will say, “Hey, you want to take a ride and go look at a horse?” and the next thing you know, you’re driving three days to Texas.

The problem was, I didn’t like any of the dogs. I’m sorry, but after Motley, I want it all. Motley spoiled me. I want a dog with a nice disposition. I want a dog who, when people come and go on the farm, they won’t get scared when he runs up to greet them but who will make someone think twice when they knock on the door and hear him bark if they had any intention of robbing me. I want a dog who I can let loose to trot alongside me as I go in and out of the house to do my chores and who will follow when I ride my horse around the pasture and come when I whistle. I want a dog who, even if he is untrained, is willing and trainable. I don’t think Marley and Me was very cute at all. Yeah it was sad at the end and it brought a tear to my eye when they buried him but I would have been burying that dog about ten minutes into the movie because I would have killed him right around the time he ripped up my couch.

So we ruled out the high energy, couch-eater types. And the ones who looked like they belonged behind an eight-foot fence with a curl of razor wire on top in Nazi Germany or in a drug den in Camden. We ruled out the ones who hated cats and small children. Little dogs because we’re big dog people, though we wouldn’t rule out a little dog as the second dog. And all the ones with pushed-in faces because we want a dog with an actual snout.

My friends were getting frustrated. They kept sending pictures. What about this one? Nope. What about him? Nah. How about her? No, I want the ears a tiny bit floppier and the tail just a little more waggedy.

Yes, I discriminated based on looks. I don’t want any Dobie-wa-wa in my pocketbook. (See Dobie-wa-wa here: I want a good looking dog. The grim reaper in the dog pound doesn’t care what it looks like. I can just as easily save a pretty one as I can an ugly one.

Plus, getting a dog is a big commitment. It’s almost like adopting a baby. You’re going to have this animal for ten or fifteen years and you will never again be completely free. You certainly won’t be able to go out all day and all night without making a pit stop home to let the dog out and that can be a pain in the ass if you’re in the middle of having fun, say, you’re at a barbecue and your ex is about to walk in with his new wife who you heard gained quite a bit of weight since the baby and now you are going to miss that. You have to go home and let the dog out. And they can be expensive. You might even purchase the new pool for the vet’s summer home if you get a sickly dog or a dishonest vet who takes advantage of you because now you are paranoid since you lost the last one, and you keep running to the vet every time the new dog looks crooked.

And what if the dog doesn’t measure up to the best dog ever? What if he pees on the floor or steals a steak out of the garbage or doesn’t stop to let you wipe all four feet, patiently lifting one at a time, because, it’s a dog after all. And you realize, perhaps, Motley was not a real dog.

I felt bad, ruling them out left and right, especially since my girlfriend was trying so hard, texting me pictures of dogs when she should have been cooking dinner, and keeping an eye on Craigslist for new posts like someone waiting to make a run for it when there’s a break in the traffic. She forwarded me new ads at all hours of the day and night, at midnight and dawn, whenever they popped up. She was relentless. It was a lot of pressure. So in a moment of weakness, I threw caution to the wind and I just grabbed one. I knew it wasn’t going to be the right dog like a drunk girl knows it’s not going to be the right guy but she does it anyway. Plus I was afraid the dog was going to freeze to death if I didn’t.


Tanya Breese said...

is this your new pooch? it's hard getting another dog after losing one that meant so much to you :(

Grey Horse Matters said...

You never know this one might be right for you and your family. They all need a chance and you'll give it a great home to appreciate.

I wouldn't hold up Motley as a standard because there will never be another Motley. Good luck!

Gilly said...

I had to laugh at your description of the difficulties of having a dog in the house! Particularly about trying to dry all four paws! sometimes I reckon they have 16 paws!

But choosing another dog is a serious matter. When my beloved Wags died, we went to the Rescue Centre to find another one. I wanted a lovely black one with a waving tail, but my husband found a little huddled ginger job and we had him. It took him ages to uncurl enough to feed and accept us, but he was great fun when he did. However, he made it abundantly clear he was a man's dog - I was tolerated as main food-giver and shared walker, but that was it. He was Mr.G's dog. He died when he was 16, and now we have a very greedy cocker spaniel, which was my ex-sson-in-law's but to whom the grandchildren were devoted so when ex s-i-l b******* off to the States, would Granny and Grandad have him?? So we did, and he is a big tie, but there we are, once you have a dog you have a dog.

Hope your dog finds a corner of your heart. I'm sure he will. As himself.

Jeff said...

My guess is that you aren't ready for another dog yet. When the time is right, your dog will appear, almost like magic. These things have a way of happening - don't try to force them.

Chris said...

Good luck with the new family member! Let us know how it works out after the honeymoon. Thanks for not letting it freeze.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Tanya, no, that's not the dog.

Grey, I know, there will never be another Motley. But I'm so spoiled now. He ruined me!

Gilly, that made me laugh. You got a "little ginger job." And that's nice you took the grandkids' cocker spaniel.

Jeff, you are right.

Chris, I like them more when I can save them, lol.