I: Independence (or lack of…) and U: The Unknown
My nine year-old daughter, Ava, has been dreaming about dogs for a good year now. Off and on. From Yorkies to Pomeranians. Dinner-time quizzes and questionnaires, weekend bursts of chore-activity to show stellar responsibility and more.
After a recent trip to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, she is slowly swaying me toward strongly considering getting a dog. Her interest level is so keen right at this moment. Her younger brother, seven year-old Calvin, is not quite as keen. He’s a bit lukewarm, in fact. Ideally, he’d have the same level of interest as her. Or I would, for that matter.
My husband grew up with dogs. I did not. I am definitely a tougher sell. I think I’m being hit up now because the family thinks the sleepless nights of the toddler years are long forgotten. I’ve had a good solid four years of predictable nightly sleep patterns. Am I ready to be sleepless again? …maybe let’s forgo puppy stage and get a fully grown dog then? It’s an option, but not one that Ava is too excited about.
For the sake of pursuing this dog-scenario, let’s say we all agree to get a puppy. How to find the right one for our family is the question. The humane society doled out sheets of info in helpful categories based on dog traits and characteristics: Toys, Spaniels, Retrievers, Property Guards, Pointers*, Sled Dogs, Herding Dogs, Scent Hounds, and Sight Hounds.
Then we hit up the library straight after our visit to check out “Everything Dogs,” “Dogs for Dummies, and my personal fave, “Weimaraners*.” Ava is also able to reference recently library books from school: “Yorkshire Terriers Are the Best!” (mid-March) and “Pomeranians Are the Best!” (mid-April) and multiple online sources.
I would say we’re an active family. Active in two senses: 1. we’re on the go (weekends at the grandparents; sports/eve activities, etc) 2. we’re physically active (running, biking, etc). So we need a dog that is fine being on their own for long stretches of time, but when we’re around, they’re eager to be very active and run fast! Leaning toward Pointer here with top as Weimaraner. But would our city lot allow for enough fenced-in outdoor space (which is a requirement for this breed)?
We do not need barking. This would rule out Ava’s front-runners in the Toy category including her beloved Yorkie. What about allergies? In this case, Labradoodles are the preferred choice for low-dander coats. However, they fall in the Retriever category which warns “Don’t expect unsupervised freedom in the house until after two years of age.” I’m beginning to believe it’s like finding a mate — you definitely have your must-haves and the rest of the stuff, you need to overlook!
To dog-lovers out there: What’s your advice on breed, appropriate age for kids to have a dog, puppy vs dog, over-thinking, costs, training, etc? Need to be enlightened so we don’t end up barking up the wrong tree.
— all photos via Instagram and Instapics at instagram.com/jengilhoi