The girls had been relentlessly hammering Mrs. Wife and I for a dog for quite some time. There’s been a big influx of puppies in our suburban enclave and it put ideas into their tiny little heads. We thought if we didn’t talk about it, their resolve would simply fade and dry up. We should have known better. A big thanks-for-nuthin’ to area parents who gave in too easily.
I had two Lower East Side Siamese cats for about 12 years. Women walked in and out of my life but those two cats were always there and happy to see me. I like cats. They’re graceful and mysterious. I admire their aloofness, which is the very thing that turns a lot of people off. Personally, I would prefer a cat. But since we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and I was outvoted 3-1, we got a dog.
You don’t just go out and buy a dog. It’s not like selecting a shirt or a sandwich. You have to conduct your due diligence. Each breed has a specific personality trait. (Who knew?!) Some breeds are better with kids than others. Mrs. Wife did all the research and heavy lifting. Originally, we wanted to rescue a dog from a shelter but each time we visited, our choices boiled down to either a pit bull or other psychologically questionable breed or a dog on its last legs. Apparently, the nice family-oriented breeds disappear almost immediately. Your timing has to be impeccable.
We ended up doing the very thing I wanted to avoid; we went to a breeder. I couldn’t see the sense paying a lot of money for a dog when there were free dogs littering the county. But if we were to get our kid-friendly breed of choice, we were going to have to pay for it. And pay we did.
I pictured our breeder living on a farm way out in the pretty New Jersey countryside. Ma and Pa would greet us at the door and take us out back to the barn where mama was nursing some of her pups in a big bale of hay while others frolicked and played in the blue open spaces. We got a recommendation for a breeder from a neighbor, punched the address into the GPS and headed out. It was no bucolic farm.
What we found at the end of the rainbow was a run-down house in a dicey neighborhood. We walked into a small living room that had the thick drapes drawn, blocking out all light. A massive flat screen TV that covered an entire wall was blasting Fox News. When we walked in, volume wasn’t lowered and no lights were illuminated.
We had put a deposit on a puppy back in November and she was just now old enough to take home. It felt like we were rescuing the her from a horrible place and that WE, in fact, were the ones who should be paid. But we were the ones who wrote out a check for $850.
This is Coco. She’s a chocolate cockapoo. If you pay $850 for a dog, it’s chocolate. If you get it from a shelter, it’s brown.
I’ve raised cats and I’ve raised dogs. Cats are a lot smarter. Coco is trying to consume our entire back yard. She eats grass, twigs, dirt, moss, little stones, sand, leaves and pretty much anything else she can get in her mouth. Can anyone tell me when this dog will stop being so dumb?
I’ve done an awful lot for the girls but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has made them so happy as getting them a dog. I am away at work all day so Mrs. Wife is charged with the unpleasant task of training the dog. She’s doing an exemplary job. We are about to take Coco to dog school. The expenses will start to mount. But I think it’ll be worth it. I think it’ll be cool for the kids to grow up with a dog.