Forgive me for having been absent so long. I haven't crafted for months and months, and so have not had many adventures in the land of Etsy. I have another adventure in my life, however, that I can write about!
My husband and I have always planned on having children. I have always seen a dog as a member of our expanding family, as well. After spending some time with my sister, her newborn baby boy, her three-year-old daughter, her husband and their dog, I learned a few things about babies and time management! The two do not seem to co-exist. My sister told me that if I wanted a puppy, I should get one before I have kids. Their labradoodle Buster was a lot of work, and well worth the effort. What a fantastic dog! But they trained him before their daughter was born. By the time she came along, the dog was well-trained and able to adapt to life with a baby.
When I came home, I discussed the idea with my husband. After a few weeks of careful research into dog/puppy training and learning about breeders and shelters in our area, we decided that adoption was the route for us. We eventually decided to look for a Beagle or Beagle mix, because these dogs are known for being good with kids and seem like the right size for us (not to small, not too big, just right!). My husband wanted to wait until summer, but when we decided to move in August, it seemed that sooner was better than later--let's not move a poor puppy to too many new homes in just a few months! (We decided not to adopt and adult dog for the sake of our cat, although I appreciate that that might sound odd. Dinah the Cat is an extremely important member of our family. At twelve-years-old, she was not going to change her ways for any dog. We read that adult cats adapt to life with puppies pretty well because, well, puppies annoy them but don't try to replace them in the "pack order"!)
We began to look for puppies at www.petfinder.com, a great website for anyone looking to adopt any kind of animal of any size or age. We submitted an application for a Beagle Mix puppy known as Sea Monkey. He was perfect in every way! He had been born and fostered in a foster home in the country! He had never known life on the street! He would have none of the issues common among shelter dogs! He went to another family.
I was shocked at how hard I took this. Had they rejected us for some reason? Had someone else just gotten there first? What did we do wrong? I wanted to visit a shelter the very next day. I wanted a puppy. I wanted a puppy right now! My husband calmed me down; he always does. He got me to agree to wait two days.
On Saturday, April 24th, we visited two shelters. The SPCA of Westchester County was a wonderful place! The cat house was enormous and full of wonderful places to climb! The dogs had plenty of room and were walked regularly! This was no crowded building with sad animals in cramped cages. This was perfect! Except for one thing--the two puppies we had come to see were at the vet. Kennel cough. We left, slightly encouraged, but also sad. We drove to New Jersey, to the Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter, telling ourselves that we would not get our hopes up too high. This was the first day the two Beagle Mix puppies we wanted to meet were available for adoption, but "members" who pay a fee for extended adoption counseling services were going to get first pick. We got there as soon as members of the regular public were allowed in.
Right inside the door, just in front of a tall reception desk, we saw them! Two perfect, adorable, tiny eight-week-old puppies with eyes to melt your heart and full of kisses. Before we knew it, we had one, then the other, then both with us in a quiet room to play with and get to know. Suddenly, a strange and unanticipated possibility arose--we would have to choose between two adorable puppies and leave a sibling behind! Steeling ourselves, we checked out the puppies' interest in people, ability to react to loud sounds (a hand clap, keys dropped on the floor), submissive behavior (would he let us hold him on his back, belly exposed?). One puppy just tested better, as cold as that sounds. We had made our choice. Before we knew it, they had called our landlord, approved our application and had actually given us a puppy! We had a puppy! We couldn't believe it! He was happy and loving, with a waggy tail, floppy ears, a patch over one eye and funny coloring all over--a Beagle mixed with either an Australian Shepherd or an Australian Cattle Dog. He loved being held. He was neutered and microchipped. He was perfect! How had we ever considered another dog? This was clearly meant to be! And he even fit perfectly into the name we both loved--Lewis. After a very long time trying to pick out the perfect equipment at the PetSmart across the parking lot from the shelter (new-parent jitters! was this right for him? what about that? oh we have so many coupons!), we got in the car, Lewis on my lap, and started for home. We were sad to leave Lewis's brother behind, but he was just so cute, we were sure someone would take him home soon. This puppy, this Lewis, was our puppy, and our home was now his home.