Saturday, October 13, 2007

Well, Well, Well

Another dog post. Skip on by if you're bored to tears.

All week, with Jerry at our feet, we've been researching dogs, breeders, shelters, etc. Do we get another dog? Do we wait? Maybe we could wait and get one in spring, giving us one winter free of freezing our tails off walking a dog and taking it outside. Do we get a shelter dog? Do we get a purebred? What do we do?

Jerry's still doing fairly well. Right now he's begging me for some food. We go to the vet again on Monday to get his prescriptions refilled because he's not hurting, he's happy, he has a healthy appetite, everything is working right. Looking for or even thinking about a new dog with Jerry still here is horrible. We are guilt ridden! I'll look online a bit, look down at old faithful, then apologize to him. He doesn't know what we're doing, but it just seems so wrong.

Then again, maybe not. We've never not had a dog. We've spent the week scouring our dog books for breed, looking online at petfinder and rescue organizations, and breeders.

Today we called breeders. Bob talked to one for over an hour and handed the phone to me and I talked to her for a long time. It just felt right. We are going to sleep on it, but I think tomorrow we are going to call her and put down a deposit. She's about three hours from us, so we will try to go to visit soon.

We debated back on forth on breeds. For some reason we like herding dogs. We like big dogs! We're NOT a small dog family. ***So to someone in particular who may read this blog that I know (and love) in real life who has a poodle who was just bred, PLEASE do NOT send us a puppy. We love your dog, we know her pups would be precious, but we don't want a poodle.***

We narrowed our choice down to a Border Collie, an Old English Sheepdog or a German Shepherd. I really wanted an OES. Really bad. But Bob and Thomas did not. That's okay. Someday I'll have one. We are going to get a purebred German Shepherd. Big surprise? That was my second choice and Bob and Thomas' first choice.

If this works out, we'll be getting a bitch. (ha ha, I got to say that word on my blog and it's not swearing, and still G-rated.) Grow up, Frankie. She will arrive in December. Bad month for a new puppy. Everything you read says don't get a dog near Christmas. However, it's just the three of us and we will puppy proof. I think it will be good timing in our case.

That gives me time to puppy proof the house. I look around and think how spoiled I am. I don't have a toddler and I don't have a baby puppy. Jerry doesn't get into anything except Kleenex. Nothing is baby proof here anymore, so I will have my work cut out for me. (Why did I sell that baby gate at the garage sale?)

Then we'll have to research. I've never had an 8-week-old puppy. I've had older puppies. Oy! (Minnesota slang thrown in for emphasis, I don't really say that.) My blogging friend Elisheva from Ragamuffin Studdies just recommended Cesar Millan's book Cesar's Way. I think I will buy it. We love to watch his TV show. I have a whole host of dog books that I got out tonight, stacked on the table and told Thomas to start reading. He decided to go to youtube instead and watch videos on clicker training. lol (By the way, there are some excellent clicker training videos there. Thomas was amazed at what he watched.)

We will make this into a homeschooling project, just as Elisheva has.

The past couple of weeks I have cried myself to sleep almost every night. Bob has dozed off on the couch every night (I'm sure for my benefit) and Jerry and I have snuggled in bed. I'm coming to terms with it, but I don't like it. My mom once told me that death was a part of life. And she died shortly after she said that, too. She was right, though. We have loved Jerry and given him a good life. We will be picking up a tranquilizer from the vet on Monday so that he will have a peaceful death.

But now we have something to look forward to. Hope. ? Is getting a new puppy hope? I guess not, but it is something to lift our spirits. It's something to look forward to. It is something that we can share our love with.

One final comment. It was a tough decision to choose a purebred over a rescue dog. Please don't give us grief over that. We have adopted three cats from shelters. Two have already passed, and one is 13 and still with us. We have adopted dogs from the shelter. We have adopted one stray dog and one stray cat. We have gone above and beyond with rescuing dogs and cats. We donate to our shelter when we can. I'll be donating several cans of the expensive special liver food that Jerry won't touch to our local shelter. I have been a foster mom for cats before. To be honest, that didn't work out because I ended up adopting those that I fostered. I don't feel guilty over choosing one purebred dog.

And one other thing. The puppy we get will already be named. The breeder we have chosen does that; however, she said we could choose a nickname. he he So we need to come up with a girl name. Any ideas?


Carole in DE said...

I adore Cesar Millan, and borrowed his book from the library. It was an easy read and not one that I'd go back and re-read. So borrowing it was good. I found the tv shows much more beneficial. ScienceKid did all Brutus' obedience training and it really helped him too.

Oh, baby gates, $10 at WalMart. Wish we lived closer cause we just moved all our puppy-training gear to the basement.

I'll think about a name. Exciting. But I still think you should look at Leonbergers. Ours is just going to be the size of a large German Shepherd --- 30", 120# --- and a bitch would be a smaller.

audrey said...

My only comments about your choice of dog just have to do with some "things to think about."

Purebred Shepherds are notoriousfor arthritic problems and hip displasia. Our nearly pure GS has these problems. They aren't unmanageable, but I'm just giving you a head's up in advance. He hobbles a lot and sometimes looks a bit pained. Loves the colder weather better though -- lucky for him, we have plenty of that.

I'm sure your new dog will bring you a lot of good times. :-)

Meg_L said...

Do not get Cesar's book. IT is not positive dog training methods.

My sister is an internationally known positive dog trainer. Let me get you a list of better books. (it will include hers, but I'll have some others to recommend also.)

Kate in NJ said...

Best of luck with your new puppy,
and I'm glad Jerry does not appear to be suffering yet.
Try there should be a group in your area, you can probably
get some puppy training supplies..and definitely baby gates there.
We had a OES when I was a kid, my Mom had a high school friend who bred show dogs and we got a retiree.
Best dog we ever had. :-)

Angela said...

I am so glad you decided to get another dog. As a big dog lover (as well as lover of big dogs!) I know this will help you all heal over the loss of your beloved friends. What a wonderful journey for you all!

And don't feel the need to apologize about not doing a shelter dog everytime. We had three great rescued dogs, and two that had terminal conditions that didn't last a year once we got them home. I could not do that to my kids again, and we got our last pup from a breeder. Our hearts were too tender to risk breaking agains so soon!

ineffableraven said...

Just a thought about the GSD issues- while those issues can be problems, the reason they are "notorious" for them is that they have been discussed publicly for decades and the breed has been one of the most common breeds for decades. There are many breeds with far bigger problems that people don't even know to ask about because it's not discussed. Working with a breeder who is thorough on doing health checks is key to any breed.

Condolences and congrats at the same time Frankie.

Sometimes the time is right for a rescue, others are right for this route, and only you can feel what is right for you.

I was considering another GSD myself, but ended up finding and falling in love with Icelandic sheepdogs. I understand the herding dog call.

We read books like The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, A Dog like Jack and Jasper's Day when faced with the loss of a pet, sudden or predicted. They aren't with us long enough, but I wouldn't trade the good times not matter how short they are.

Carole, I know another homeschooler here in CT who has Leonbergers, small worlds and all, maybe you'll run into them. Though that size--that's larger than any GSD should be. :)

Frankie said...

ineffableraven, i did bring up audrey's coments with my breeder. She stated that hip displasya is common in the breed, but that they breed so that won't happen. There is a hip guarantee on her website and I'm going to have to ask her about that furhter.

She said arthritis is common in all dogs, especially the bigger dogs. One of our shelter dogs, Grizzy Bear, was a beautiful Samoyed. We adopted him later in life. He had both hip displasya and arthritis. We finally had him PTS becuase the arthritis was so bad that walking was excruciating. He was old, poor thing. He was a lover!

So I am aware of those issues, yes.

We chose a breeder that breeds good temperment. THat was high on our list. With the shelter dogs, it's the luck of the draw. We were lucky twice and unlucky twice. We had a beautiful border collie shelter collie that bit Thomas in the face when he was crawling on teh floor. I was right there yet not close enough to get the dog. Our vet recommended we put the collie to sleep. I loved that collie, but I loved my baby more. We did have her put to sleep.

From what I've read, a lot of the German Shepherds that end up in shelters are there due to aggression. Now I can train a dog pretty well. My dogs are well behaved, walk nicely, are semi-socialized. We don't take them to very public events, but we do take them out into the community. Aggression is an issue that I'm not comfortable handling in a full-grown dog that I don't know well. With a puppy that has been bred to have a good temperment, I feel I could handle agressions along the way. Hopefully there won't be any.

The Icelandic Sheepdogs are BEAUTIFUL! I don't know much about them, but they are gorgeous.

Thank you for commenting!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Hi, Frankie,

I do think that the new puppy represents hope! And I am glad you are researching what you want so carefully.

About the comment on Cesar Millan: The work he does with problem dogs is not what he recommends for run of the mill dog issues. And I like his books--we now have and are reading "Be the Pack Leader"--but you will probably want a book that goes more specifically into puppy training. So get "Cesar's Way' for the fun of reading it and learning about how he sees dogs. He also recommends other books specifically on training dogs and puppies in his books. I also enjoyed the dog books by Patricia McConnell, "The Other End of the Leash" and "For the Love of a Dog." But again, these are more about dog psychology and the philosophy of training than they are about specific training methods.

Have much fun with your new dog and cherish the time with Jerry. It's all to the good.