Friday, November 18, 2011

4. Get a new pet for our family.

Ok, fine. We got a dog.

When I put “Get a Pet” on my list, I had romantic visions of us going to the pound, seeing THE puppy in the kennel, and taking it home amid kisses from the kids and laughs from us. We’d name it something super cute and meaningful to our family and within days we’d have the Christmas card picture already taken – the Ralphs, a happy family of 5.

Wait… 7. We already have a cat that hates everyone and a fish we forget to feed.

Our reality was a bit more… real… than expected. We knew if we ever got another dog we’d want to rescue one, based on our inability to re-home our last dog when it was needed. So when a coworker of Jay’s explained the sad story – her sister was getting a divorce and moving to an apartment, unable to keep her sweet, 2 year old dog – our hearts went out to her. She was good with kids, sweet and loving, and they were heartbroken to have to get rid of her. On our quickly-made pros and cons list the "pros" totally won out, so we arranged a meet and greet with the explanation that if Samantha was afraid, it would be a definite no.

The next Saturday, Sugar (you can bet that her name was on the “con” list) came to visit. She was cute, friendly, and a little skittish but warmed right up to us. Even Sam fell in love, hugging her within minutes, so we agreed to a trial weekend. Her owner told us over and over again how happy she was that we were interested, as we have a large fenced in yard, and made sure that we knew we could return her should Sam become afraid or if we couldn’t keep her vs. sending her to the pound. Win win for everyone.

Addi meeting Sugar for the first time

Sugar pretending to like our yard

After a few days I gave the old owner a call to iron out a few details. Yes, Sugar (the kids wouldn’t let us change her name) was sweet and good with the kids. Yes, Sugar loved her belly to be rubbed and got along well in our house. But, Sugar seemed afraid of the backyard, not leaving our sides even to go potty. She actually preferred peeing in our playroom, if she went at all… Was that normal for her? Michelle said, “Oh, yeah, she has a shy bladder. Try walking her and turning your head and she’ll go then.” We tried it and it worked.

When I called her the second time and asked if Sugar (seriously, who names a dog that??) was used to being outside alone, I was told, “Oh, yeah, she’s afraid of grass. And the dark. And bubbles.”


The third time I called and asked why I woke up to a dog on my head having a heart attack because of the thunder, I got a crisp, “Thunder scares her. Gotta run!”

And when I called to find out why, after crating her and working all day, I came home to a broken crate, trash shredded all over the floor and an entire wall missing, I was met with silence. And no returned call.

We might have been duped. Perhaps you can see my delay in admitting we had a new pet.

I’m unfortunately leaving out a lot of details but I’m happy to say that after 6 months of dog classes, Zanax for both the dog and us, two Dog Whisperer books, three crates, and endless patience, we have a dog who will stay home alone, go in the yard by herself for short periods of time, and hasn’t chewed on drywall in months. We love her despite her name and have our fingers and toes crossed that she doesn’t develop a fear of snow.

To help admit “we have a new family member” to the world, I even got her a tag with our real address and phone number on it.

Welcome to the family, Sugar.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Oh no... I'm glad things seem to be turning a corner :)


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