Neither my husband or myself have ever considered ourselves dog people. He's had cats, I've had cats, we have cats. Neither of us wanted to own a crotch sniffing, door rushing, jumping, barking, begging, pulling dog--and those are the kinds of dogs that we mostly know. I like animals, and in the company of such dogs, I'm happy to be with them. I just never wanted one of my own.
But the last couple of visits with my sister and mom and their dogs made me really think that having a dog would be a good idea, and that maybe dogs CAN have good manners. Mom's dog, a beautiful golden retriever named Tango, is inside much of the time, but is so good that he doesn't take up the room, when you ask him to take a hike, he goes away, and he was successfully taught not to jump up or mess around. Lisa taught him, and her dogs are the same. Really well mannered. And it was so fun to see the kids with them.
So what with one thing and the other, Meryl and I talked about it. I was thinking about a border collie/lab cross, both being smart and one breed perhaps cancelling out some of the problems of the other. So I would look at the Humane Society listings every once in awhile, and finally a young borador came up. So we went to look. Oh, she was beautiful---but absolutely crazy. She jumped up, nipped, and almost turned herself inside out. Made Adam nervous, and I didn't think I had it in me to housebreak if necessary and deal with the potential damage such a dog would cause. But the lady at the shelter said they had another dog that had just come in, a 2-1/2 year old boxer/collie mix, and she was still a bit scared, was really good, had been in a family with kids, and did we want to see her? At first, I said no but then decided that it wouldn't do any harm.
And in came Belle. Shivering from fright. Her family had moved and didn't bring her with them, and she was pretty scared. So we played with her for awhile, and she loosened up a bit. Adam fell in love with her because she was so gentle and teachable. She knew a couple of commands, and when we brought her for a walk, she quickly learned not to leash pull. I didn't make a decision then, wanting to talk it over with Meryl again. But I couldn't stop thinking about her.
The next day, Adam and I went back. She remembered us and we had fun. We walked her through the cat room, and she was completely uninterested--an important consideration, seeing as how we have two cats! And then, even as I wondered what I was saying, I heard the words, "We'll take her," coming out of my lips, and the next thing I knew, we had a dog, and Belle was coming home.
And oh, how glad I am! The past week has been fabulous. We brought her home on Wednesday, and that night a friend came over. And Belle barked. And I thought, "We can't have this. A warning bark is fine, but she needs to know proper door etiquette." The next day was a cookie exchange at our place, so I put a sign out letting people know we have a dog, great with kids, but she'll bark, so give us a few minutes to train her at the door before coming in." And within two people, she had learned to stop barking, sit, and wait. Great! No problem with visitors. There were kids aplenty, fauning all over her, yelling in her face--it was a bit of a zoo. No problem. She happily laid around. Julia can walk her, because she doesn't pull (much!), and it's fun to try teaching her tricks, because she's so quick to learn. I'm so happy that we brought her home, because, quite frankly, I don't know whether we would ever be this lucky in a dog again. I wanted a dog that could really be part of things, one that we wouldn't have to lock up when people came by, one that we could count on--and we found her.
It's funny how quickly she has become a member of this family. Can't imagine it without her, now.
And all this from a girl who isn't a dog person! Ah, how quickly I fell.
So, I'd like you to meet Belle. Looking a little bit worried in this shot, seeing as how she'd just come home. No license or anything on her, yet. Now she's bedecked with the Humane Society tag, licence tag, and a Christmassy bauble that Julia tied on to make her all festive.
So far she has endured dressing up, wrestling, a bath, the vet, Petco, cat hisses, loads of kid kisses and hugs, and I don't know what all, and she has happily gone along with it.
She's a doll. And she's ours!