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Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Member Name: cbpotts
Date: 03/09/01, updated on 04/09/01 (2572 review reads)
Advantages: loyalty, fun, trust, companionship
Disadvantages: hair, slobber, hair, loss of sleep, hair
Instead of using this poem to describe the difference between men and women, I'd like to continue on the puppy theme but use the thought process that went on with my husband and me after we recently discussed adding a dog to our family.
Doug: "Riding in the jeep with the top down and her in the back would look cool."
Me: "Hair, hair all over."
Doug: "She could sit at our feet while we read by the fire."
Me: "And, slobber. Dogs slobber, you know."
Doug: "We can get exercise taking her on walks."
Me: "It's still dark at 6am when she needs to relieve herself. And what if it's raining?"
Once pessimism and the absolute lack of a sense of reality had met in the middle we did acknowledge that a dog would be a great addition to our family, which already consisted of two cats and a betta fish. At this point we had two initial questions to answer before we could proceed further.
1. Do we buy a pure bred or do we pick one up at the pound?
2. Do we get a puppy or an adult dog?
The first question was tough to answer. We both feel very strongly about rescuing animals from humane societies. In fact, both of our cats were gotten that way (the fish was bought at a pet store). Doug and I spend many Saturday afternoons wandering the pound and playing with the strays that have managed to end up behind bars. Unfortunately, these trips usually end up with Doug leading a weeping me out of the bui
lding because I can't stand seeing the betrayed look in the dogs' eyes. However, our decision to buy a pure bred was mainly arrived at because of the fact that we do own two cats. When bringing in pound animal, there's no way of knowing what its reaction to the cats would be, even if it were a puppy.
Once we had decided on a pure bred, the second question was answered easily too. It had to be a puppy. Who could resist the romping, cute, rolly-polly ball of fur of puppydom? The question as to what breed was also quickly settled. Doug's a fan of the Siberian Husky. Unfortunately, North Carolina is a little on the warm side for this breed of dog and, because of their aggressive nature, they raise the price of home insurance considerably.
For anyone who's looking to purchase a pure bred dog, it's important to consider various aspects of personality and behavior before making the decision. For instance, where labrador retrievers score highly on trainability and obedience, bulldogs prefer their own agenda and are tough to train. Likewise, if you're looking for a dog that will serve as a protector for the home, the german shepherd may be a better choice than the golden retriever, who will probably bark, but do so out of happiness, and then carry the flashlight around and show the burgler to the family vault.
We ended up deciding to get the flashlight carrying golden retriever. We found the name of a breeder that had both parents on site and headed over to meet them and their children on a Thursday evening. Immediately upon arriving we were besieged by ten golden balls of bouncing fur and flopping ears. It was hard not to just pick up the first pup that ran towards us and take it home. However, there are a couple of great "tests" to put the little guys through in order to pick the right one for your household, so we decided to give it a try on the dogs that had the coloring we were looking for. <
Coloring, you're asking? Well, yes. Goldens aren’t just golden. They come in three main shades: light golden (or blonde), golden or dark golden (red). We picked out a potential pup and put it through its paces. The first test was the dominance test. We picked the little girl up and brought her eye to eye for a stare-down. If a dog has dominance issues it will stare you down. A dog that realizes that it’s being faced with a superior intelligence will look away quickly. Our pup was great at looking everywhere but in our eyes.
Second test was the IQ test. We took a small towel and put it over her head. Einsteins will make quick work of removing the new chapeau, but the less brilliant light bulb of a pup will sit there and wonder who turned out the lights. Thirdly was a temperament test. We moved a distance away from the puppies and watched them. A couple were highly active, bouncing around, running over their siblings and in general proving that dogs can have ADD as well as people. Others were the opposite, content with living vicariously through their brothers and sisters as they lay there and watched the world swirl around them. Our puppy sat somewhere in the middle. She wasn't hyperactive, however she definitely wasn't lethargic either.
Now that we had decided which dog would be ours if we indeed bought one, that last and most important chore was to meet the parents. In addition to the general activity level and color of the dog, there are two breed-specific health problems that plague golden retrievers; hip dysplasia and hereditary eye disease. Hip dysplasia is a condition that is part heredity and partly due to excessive weight. Eye disease can consist of cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (the retina dying). While it's hard to see it in the parents, asking breeders for the health record of their adults is recommended.
Once the parents had been given the all clear,
we wrote the check, received the registry paperwork and took our six-week old puppy home, with a quick stop at the local store for puppy necessities. We are now the proud owners of a soon to be registered golden retriever.
The golden retriever probably originated from the large spaniels found in Spain and Europe over 1,000 years ago and through breeding have become our pointers, setters and retrievers. The golden's early origins can be traced back to the Portuguese and Spanish water dogs, with a touch of Irish setter blood thrown in.
Eventually our puppy will grow to be a generally easygoing, placid animal. The breed is known for its loyalty, friendship and generosity. She will have an even temperament and be a companion and friend. While the breed is known for their prowess as hunting dogs, the most our dog will hunt will be the two cats.
Today, however, is another story. She's teething and while we have a plethora of chew toys scattered around the house, our shoes, fingers and toes seem to attract her more than the others. She's in training mode, which means that she requires a large amount of attention, affection and time. Having been recently laid off work, this is the perfect time for us to have gotten her since I can spend a large amount of my day entertaining her. Indeed, it seems that I need to dust my computer off before I can use it now (how people with kids can be on dooyoo, I don't understand). There are those brief reprises when she naps and I can slip away for a few minutes to take care of necessities, like brushing teeth, etc., but it's not long before I feel that nip at my toes and it's time to re-focus my attention. We are lucky in one area. We haven't found any "presents" around the house yet. True, we take her out every time she wakes up or eats, but even so, she's managed to wait through the night and go do her business outside.
Even as a puppy, the golden i
s a magical, wonderful animal. Ours is no exception.
Her name? I'd like to introduce you to Bailey.
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