Year 2, Day 80
Sometimes I think I have lost my mind. All four of my children are growing up, moving out, and becoming more independent. As a result, I can begin making plans for things I want to do personally. Pursue interests and hobbies I have only thought about in passing for years. Have long lunches with friends. Run errands or shop all day. Things like that. But I suppose I am not ready to gain that much freedom because we decided to get a puppy.
I understand now why people say getting a new puppy is like having a baby. You have got to be attentive to your new “bundle of joy” 24-7. They need to be entertained, and potty trained. If you turn your back on them for a second, they use the opportunity to get into trouble. But, also like having a baby your heart melts instantly to them. You cuddle, snuggle and quickly learn to love the individual personality they have that makes them uniquely yours.
We have had a few puppies and dogs in the past. However, we got them at bad times in our lives; when we had very young children. We could not divide our attention between training a puppy and taking care of the kids. So for various reasons our dogs either found a new, more suitable home, or they ran all over us having not been trained properly. You may know how it goes. You and one of your children happen by a dog rescue event, look at all the adorable pleading faces, and end up convincing yourselves you need a dog right then and there only to realize within a week of getting it home you may not have made the best decision.
This time we decided to do things differently. We talked long and hard about whether this was the right time to add a new member to the family. The pros and cons were listed and once the numbers were tallied the pros won out. So the research began. What breeds would be best for our family? How do we train a puppy? What should we give him to eat and play with? Where should he sleep? We were bound and determined to get it right this time. The only problem was, Brett and I had vastly different opinions on what type of dog we wanted. He wanted a French Bulldog, a real man’s dog. I thought they were incredibly ugly and wanted a little purse dog I could take with me anywhere. I could be just like Paris Hilton with my doggie accessory. The boys didn’t care which kind we chose as long as it was cute.
The day came when we would go look at puppies. Brett was given a recommendation of a lady who sells puppies on WeChat (an app that is a cross between texting and Facebook). After looking at the photos of all the puppies she had available, we decided to go look at a few of them in person. Although it was agreed we would look at all of them with an open mind, I secretly knew I was NOT going to entertain the thought of the ugly French Bulldogs.
After a short drive, we arrived at our destination, a very local Chinese apartment complex. The residents who congregated outside stared openly at our huge van as it barreled down the narrow lanes of the complex. After finding a place to park, we went up to the apartment. Inside was a very simple layout with an open kitchen/living room and perhaps two bedrooms. An enclosed balcony was the home of perhaps twenty to thirty dogs all living in crates stacked three high. “bark, bark, yip, yip, woof, woof” was practically all that could be heard. The lady’s boyfriend stood in the living room with us smoking a cigarette and watching as she brought out puppy after puppy, placing them on a small white and pink couch. The puppies were running up and down the couch, and all of us corralled them trying to keep them from committing Harry Carry by jumping (or falling) off the couch. If you like puppies with their soft fur, puppy kisses and distinct puppy breath you would be in heaven. At one point I had four of them in my arms all licking and squirming. We quickly analyzed the couch puppies and ruled out the ones we knew would not fit into our family. Two remained. My Paris Hilton little fuzzball and Brett’s French Bulldog. “Just hold him and see what you think,” Brett said to me regarding the smooched-face dog he wanted. Reluctantly I held out my arms and took the solid, wrinkly little guy. To my surprise, he snuggled right into my arms like a baby and almost instantly fell asleep. It was so sweet. Dang it! I didn’t want to like him, but I kind of did! Both dogs were so cute and sweet, none of us could decide. Both puppies had roughly the same temperament. So we gave each a hug and left to ponder our decision.
We talked all weekend about pros and cons. Which puppy would fit best with our family and reminded each other why we decided to get a dog. While we slept one night a few weeks earlier our house had been broken into, and with all the traveling Brett does I became afraid to be in the house alone at night. While we had talked about the possibility of getting a puppy before this incident, the break-in sealed the deal for the decision. So after many lists of pros and cons for each dog, we decided the French Bulldog would be the better fit for us and what we needed. After all, the little purse dog was so small. Who would be afraid of a six-pound bundle of fur greeting them as they snuck into our house? They may stop to pet it but not run away from it. Plus Brett was genuinely afraid he would step on the little guy and squish it. A concern I shared as well. After all, we were calling him “Tiny” for a very appropriate reason.
The day we returned from our Chinese New Year trip we all piled into the car and excitedly went to pick up our new puppy. The best part of the timing was that Autumn was with us and would get to meet our new little guy. Back to the apartment, which was still filled with smoke and incessant barking, we went. We waited in the living room for a couple of minutes while the lady went to retrieve the newest addition to our family. I laughed to myself at the thought that we were buying a puppy from a woman on WeChat who spoke no English. Out she came with him. He was still sweet and snuggly. I took him in my arms, he snuggled in, and I found myself instantly falling in love.
We are all very happy with our little Thor. He is small but mighty and is everything we wanted in a puppy. He plays when we want, but will rest a good amount. He protects us and gives the best snuggles ever. The boys love him and have started playing badminton with him. Well, really it’s more, they try to play badminton, and he steals the birdie then proceeds to run all over the yard with them in hot pursuit trying to retrieve it. But they all have a very good time. And you know what? I don’t even think he is ugly anymore. In fact, I think he is pretty much the cutest puppy on Earth. I am training him to be good but still spoil him rotten and even bought him a doggy stroller. So I suppose he may not be the purse dog I wanted, but he can still go with me anywhere in his stroller (if I can get over the embarrassment of being such a yuppy). I may be crazy for going backward in my journey towards freedom, but the love I get from this little guy is worth every step regardless of the direction.
Welcome to the family baby Thor. We love you and look forward to many years of memories made with you by our side.