Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Doggy dilemma


Non pet-owning readers feel free to skip this post...you won't understand why I'm even having this conversation. Why would any sane person, with an already busy life, add to their potential complications? Why indeed??
Everyone else....please read on!
You'll remember the agonies of deciding whether or not to try to rehome Dillon the Evil Jack Russell and our huge relief when he settled happily in a new abode before the traumas of our house move became yet more traumatic thanks to his presence. Since then we've been a one dog, two cat family, and that's been largely OK. Mufti has been pretty contented without him, except that she has rather insecure if she's home alone (she has never been an "only dog" for more than a couple of weeks in all her days) and has taken to raiding the laundry basket so that she can snuggle up with a garment of mine to remind her that there is indeed a mum out there somewhere...After a few pairs of holey knickers, I'm remembering to close the bedroom door, so that's really only a minor issue (except as a symptom of how she's really feeling). However, she has definitely become more sedate since Dillon's departure, and even on walks is inclined to remain velcro'd to my heels most of the time, which isn't her normal way of being.She could definitely decline into premature old age, if left to her own devices. BAD idea...Solution? Another dog, of course, and St M's sweetly gave me such a huge cheque when I left there that despite having bought a rather splendid cope I still have a sizeable chunk in hand, which has long been labelled "puppy fund". I'd love to have something as special as a dog to remind me of all those wonderful people each and every day - and if it doesn't get spent soon, it will disappear on petrol. Not the object of the exercise, I feel. So, there is £500 in the puppy fund, just waiting to be spent.
The only problem is...what puppy?
The Dufflepud has a yen for a Golden Retriever, - and certainly they are delightful dogs, very well suited to the comings and goings of vicarage life...but they are also on the large side, and it must be said that I've quite enjoyed being able to stick my dogs under my arm when the need arises - and also have limited time to take them for cross country walks. So, a bit of me worries that a retriever might be more dog than I need, might get bored, might become - heaven help us - a problem dog itself. A large lollopping well meaning problem, but all the same...
On the other hand, if I'm ever going to have a big dog, it had better be now - and there's something rather wonderful about being able to bury your face in a canine shoulder if the world is out to get you....

Having grown up with a spaniel who was one of the two best dogs ever, I'm pretty sentimental about them too...and they have the advantage of being more portable, and maybe a better "fit" in the narrowboat too.

On the other other hand (yes, you'll need to be as multi armed as a Hindu god to cope with this) they seem to cost a phenomenal amount - more than feels quite moral, to be honest.The local animal shelters don't have any puppies at all, and mostly seem to have dogs like collies, lurchers and some rather fierce bull terrier types...those being the predominant breeds in these parts...none of which they are prepared to recommend to a household where all sorts of people will be visiting, and the dog needs to be an agent of pastoral care, or else blend into the background completely.So, while I'd love to rescue a dog in need, that looks almost impossible at the moment.

A fresh set of hands is now called for, as I've found a website that sets out to offer a puppy register for ordinary dogs...not those from top breeders, but reputable owners who care about the welfare of their puppies...and they offer both cockers, retrievers and (very tempting - see their picture above) retriever/spaniel cross puppies at a rather more realistic price than the superior breeders I'd been exploring to date....
I've spent the last 2 hours using time I don't have to trawl the site...I have a short list of possibilities that are available here and now, many of whom have had their first set of injections, so could be ready to come on holiday with us...but I don't know what to do!!!!

11 comments:

JP said...

Has to be a border terrier. Great fun, lively, intelligent, not too girly, but small enough to pick up and tell off when necessary. Also, not prone to any serious problems in older life.

I used to think of myself primarily as a cat-lover, but our border is rapidly converting me!

Mary said...

Just put your short list in rough order, do a quick ring round, and go and see the first that's available... and so on. You'll never know about the ones you don't get to, only the one that joins your family. I'm definitely a cat person (I'd get an Abyssinian if someone gave me a kitten fund)but the puppies in the photo do look adorable.

Mrs. M said...

Good luck in your search! (If it helps, I've found miniature Australian Shepherds to have fantastic dispositions, and reasonable portability.

Sam Gamgee said...

My favorite dogs ever:

1) Collie mutt. Bigger than you think you want, but a sweeter, more gentle beast you'll never meet. She was adopted from someone who couldn't take her to their new residence.

2) Cockapoo. Adopted as a puppy from a family we knew whose dog had had puppies. Schwartz was little and energetic, and he knew he was Guardian Puppy to me and my brother. He was our second cockapoo. These are very smart dogs.

Sally said...

Hope you find the right dog. Had you thought of a rescue pet, some of them are well trained and would make excellent company for you and Mufti.

cheesehead said...

Oh my! I was just informing WonderGirl last night that after she leaves for design school next year, I'm getting another dog, as we have always been a "two-child" household and Tanner will need a sibling with her gone.

She was beside herself at the thought of being "replaced" by a pup, which make us all laugh quite a lot.

Good luck!

Songbird said...

You know I love big dogs, but let me say this about the cross-breeds. While the incidental mutt is often a fine pet, the deliberate mixed breed crosses are less likely to have hybrid vigor and more likely to have enhanced risk of the genetic problems on both sides of the ledger. (I have been reading about this on Bernese email for years now.)
We had the same experience here looking for a rescue dog, lots of pit bull mixes and not much else the rescue people would place in a house with cats and/or young child, which we had at the time. That's what drove us to a purebred.
And on the other hand, our neighbors have a spaniel/retriever cross who is perfectly charming.
I am no help, clearly.

DogBlogger said...

Well, I was thinking the spaniel-retriever cross, then I saw what Songbird wrote. I also like the idea Mrs. M. brought up, but it may not be a feasible breed for you to obtain. And I love, love, LOVE the idea of you rescuing a collie from the shelter.

But if it could be anything at all, you know that my wish for you would be a German Shepherd.

ElastiGirl said...

It's fun problem, no?! Choosing a child...

we love our bichon - small enough to tuck under an arm - everyone who walks in the door is her best friend - no shedding - and no smell

the pom is a great companion, but truly a brainless wonder - very sweet but lots of hair that sheds

David said...

My vote is for Cavalier King Charles. Mine, Frankie, sits through mid week communions, school assemblies, and, as at today, the dedication of a flower urn on a pedestal, which he did not turn into a convenience, unlike, unusually, the end of a pew.

zorra said...

The Cavalier King Charles seems like a good idea to me, too. They are sweet,friendly, and very portable. I'll bet they probably shed a lot, though.