We’ve got a new member of our family.
She’s a black-and-white mutt, 9 months old. Code name ND.
No, we haven’t taken leave of our senses, although that seems to be the trending thought among some people we know. (Mostly people who don’t have dogs.)
The truth is…we have always wanted to get a dog. Like from before. Before we made aliyah, before we had kids. Back when we lived in a 1.5 bedroom rental apartment we talked about growing up and having a house with a yard and kids and a dog. I grew up with a dog, living in houses, and missed living with one; Taxman was the surprise element, growing up in a city apartment, no dogs around. But there it was…the future hypothetical.
The future is, apparently, now.
After Keshet-the-ironically-named-black-dog spent the night, I started to feel the pull more. There is just an added element of contentment when you’re sharing your life with a dog. I can’t explain it better.
Because I grew up with a dog (that we raised from puppyhood), I did not have delusions of what this life would be like. I knew there would be walks in the rain and vet visits and muddy paws and food stolen from the table and messes. (Childhood dog once chewed through a $5 bill.) But also licks and love.
I knew I didn’t want to adopt a tiny puppy. I knew I didn’t want to buy a purebred dog. I wanted to adopt a healthy, young, neutered, mixed-breed dog, good with kids, not too large, ok with being left alone for a few hours at a time. It was actually really easy to say no to adorable tiny faces, age 8 weeks, because I knew I could not, right now, invest the time into house-training and training-training.
ND came with her own story: found on the street by a college student as a tiny puppy, who then house-trained and kept her for seven months. Of course, most college students here have part time jobs in addition to studies, so her irregular hours made it hard to keep a dog. We all met last Friday, and we were deemed worthy successors. I had second thoughts–an overnight trip in the spring, three weeks away in the summer–but Taxman assured me we’d manage.
We hadn’t told the kids this was even a possibility; our correspondence about ND was a secret from them, because we didn’t want to get their hopes up for no reason. So surprise! was…understatement.
So far, we’re all adjusting. ND has a lot of that to do, what with these noisy creatures underfoot. They do, however, DROP FOOD FROM THE TABLE. Worth it.
We’re forced to take a few walks a day, even in the rain, at night, et cetera. We’re forced to take the stairs because Miss Priss is afraid of the elevator. By the end of the week I assume we will be going to bed earlier, because, like a toddler, once ND hears you moving around, HEY, HEY, IT’S MORNING! FEED ME! WALK ME! PLAY WITH ME! (Then, two hours later, she’s zonked and taking a nap. Must be nice.)
The kids take turns giving her food and water and helping to put on the leash. They’re happy to go out on walks with her (as company–she is too strong for them to handle alone). Miss M actually leapt out of bed yesterday and dressed without reminders because ND was waiting for her kibble. Um, whoa, should have done this dog thing YEARS ago. (Kidding.)
The lovely college student, pained to give her up, explained that we had to give her love and affection but also rules. It all sounded vaguely familiar to…parenting. Then she said that ND was not allowed on the furniture. So we made her a little bed on the floor. First night, I checked on her during my bathroom run…and she had helped herself to the couch. No dummy, this dog.
She’s a little nippy and mouthy and jumps up. We’ll work on that. She yowls when she has to go out. We actually appreciate that. She’s anointed Taxman as her pack leader, but is thrilled to see any of us when we come in the door, even if we’ve only been taking out the trash. (Alissa explained to me that dogs have no sense of time passing, so 5 minutes or 15 hours is all the same to them.) We hope that we’re going to spend years with her, so we have no qualms about investing the time to teach her not to jump, not to nip, not to climb on the kids. The trickiest part so far is trying to discipline her in front of the kids, who are either yelling or giggling when I’m trying to get the dog back on the floor and get my hand out of her mouth.
Really, though, she’s a sweetie. Lots of potential. What more could we want in a new, long-term companion?