I wrote a post a few weeks ago about saying yes to a pet . . . a dog, to be precise. We’ve been saying no to a dog for many reasons for many years, but we finally relented in order to try to provide my daughter with a special friend to call her own.
We knew it was risky to bring a dog into our home with our allergy history, and we had been warned by well meaning friends and family not to add the stress of a dog into our lives. But while the hermit crabs are fascinating to watch, they don’t exactly give you the companionship and affection you can get from a dog. So. We decided to look into it.
I had to keep telling my kids we were “looking into it” lest they hold me to a promise I couldn’t keep.
We thought we knew what we wanted — a smallish 2- or 3-year old non-shedding dog of some type. I was already smitten with a neighbor’s shih tzu, so that is the one we had on our radar. Once we had agreed to pursue dog ownership, I contacted my friend at All 4 Paws Rescue, a foster-based, no-kill animal rescue that is saving dogs that otherwise would be put down. You REALLY need to read their About Page to see what all they do — and to understand the fate that these animals would face without them. I had no idea.
Several of my neighbors have found their dogs through this fabulous organization, and I trusted my friend not to steer us wrong, but they didn’t have exactly what we were looking for so we decided to wait.
Meanwhile I was contacted by Debbie at Fernridge Labradoodles. Evidently labradoodles are great dogs for people with allergies, and we talked with Debbie at great length and debated our options. I mean, just look at this face . . .
While some labradoodles can grow to be quite large, these will grow to be in the 30-40 pound range, and we gave this option great consideration.
We looked around at a lot of websites, and I asked questions on my Facebook page and got lots and lots and LOTS of advice.
Who knew there were so many issues surrounding choosing a dog!???
It goes well beyond what variety of dog you want; there is the whole rescue vs breeder debate as well (and let’s not even get into the process of finding a breeder that isn’t a puppy mill . . . gah!)
We finally came to the conclusion that it really depends on your needs and wants. I’m thankful there are so many options available, but it sure does make the decision making process stressful.
We decided to try the rescue route first, and if we had allergy issues then we would pursue a reputable breeder such as Debbie.
Last weekend we got a call that All 4 Paws had a shih tzu for us to meet. She was turned in as a stray in Philadelphia, which we discovered actually means that her owners probably didn’t want to spend the fee to turn her in but wanted to give her more time before she was euthanized (stray hold is 72 hours and owner surrenders don’t have to be given any time before they are put down especially if the shelter is full). Isn’t that crazy!!??
We went to meet her and immediately fell in love — all five of us. She is the sweetest thing.
She lets the kids carry her around like a doll, she rarely barks, she doesn’t get on the furniture, she never piddles in the house, and she follows my daughter around like she hung the moon.
She is everything we wanted in a dog and then some.
Except, my asthma immediately began to protest. To be fair, I had already compromised my delicate immune system earlier in the week by spending some time in the company of cats, and we weren’t sure if I was reacting more to the new dog or life in general. But when my kids started sniffling, I panicked and started preparing them to return her. It was a very sad couple of days around here. She is such a perfect fit for our family, it seemed so unfair that we would all fall in love with her only to lose her.
Then something really strange happened. I went away on a press junket, and when I returned I didn’t have any reaction to the dog at all. The kids seemed fine as well. I still can’t believe it, but everyone seems to be adjusting.
Which means . . .
Savannah is here to stay!
In fact, today is Adoption Day! This afternoon we will sign the final papers and she will be ours.
So be prepared for the onslaught of doggie photos that is sure to come. Don’t ever say I didn’t warn ya!