16 June 2009

The Dog.

Here are pictures of The Dog:

I am writing about The Dog, because I have pictures of her on this computer. (Also, obviously, because we love her dearly).

The picture to the right was the first one snapped of her in our new house. We had moved in forty eight hours before we picked her up from the shelter. The shelter which is 250 miles away from our brand new house.

Yes, really.

Here is the story of The Dog. 

It is also the story about how The Dog became Our Dog

NotMarsha had been asking for several months for a puppy. For each and every one of the several months, in fact, that she and I were staying at my parent's house while THE REAL ESTATE DEAL FROM HELL took its sweet, sweet, SWEET time to complete. In the meantime she got a baby brother at her Dad's House. She likes the baby a lot. She tried to negotiate for a baby at the New Mommy House as well, but that won't be happening any time soon.

She mastered The Art of the Potty a few days before her third birthday in January. We found The New Mommy House and made an offer in the middle of February. It was a fixer upper, for sure, but there was a huge, fenced yard and lots of interior space and four bedrooms spread out over two floors and a lot of the flooring had just been done. It was the right house for us. It was a four minute commute to her Dad's House. This was a huge improvement over the 60 minute minimum round trip that we had been enduring near daily from where we were staying (double if you forget The Bear).

After we made the offer on The New Mommy House, NotMike and I relented on the issue of getting a dog. There was tons of space for a dog! We could put in a dog run in the garage! The dog can be home when we are at work and I'm home half time anyway! It would be good for NotMarsha to have a dog! Plus, basically, she really, really wanted one and we are two divorced parents who are suckers (see next post to be entitled THE SWING SET).

We made no promises that The New Dog would be a puppy. We got some books about pet adoption and drove past our local animal shelter (not two miles from our front door) daily talking about adopting a pet into our family once we had moved into The New Mommy House. We did our grown up research too. We settled on some sort of Labrador because all the available information says they are the best dogs to have with young kids.

We were supposed to close (at long last) on The New Mommy House on April 10th.

We did not close. We would close the next week. (It went on like this until JUNE 5th, but I digress).

I asked questions of people I knew who had dogs. Rule Number 125: Do not ask good questions of smart people unless you are prepared to implement the answers.

I got hooked up with this website . I searched it. Frequently. I came across a puppy. I lurved the little puppy. I called the local shelter. The puppy was in the process of being adopted. Right. That. Minute. Sob, sob, sob.

I came across this website .
I found a dog! A chocolate lab. It was just under a year old. Perfect! I shot off an email, describing our family and what we were looking for in a pet to the email address. I did not exactly notice that when I had searched by state rather than city this time and that I was inquiring about a dog in Valdez. A few days passed. I got a response. Based on what I had said about our family, the dog I had emailed about was probably too high strung and wouldn't be a good fit. There was, however, another dog. She might be ideal. Would I like a picture and more information?
Gulp, yes...but, we can't make it to Valdez for three weeks so would waiting for pick up be a problem?

And the next time I opened my email there was this:

NotMarsha was sitting on my lap when I opened that email.

Her immediate reaction was "Mommy! Look! It is OUR DOG!"

And she was.

We made arrangements to drive 500 miles in two days three weeks later to pick her up from the shelter in Valdez on a weekend when NotMarsha would be at her Dad's House. We may be crazy, but we are not totally insane after all.

We took NotMarsha shopping for some animal stuff and sent a care package ahead of time to the shelter.

We got a little desperate to get moved into the New Mommy House before Our Dog arrived.

When the closing was postponed for the fifth week in a row, we sort of lost it. We relented and agreed to early occupy the house, which was a ridiculous risk given the months and months and months of complications that had led up to that point. We started sleeping in The New Mommy House on a Thursday night. We left Saturday morning and returned with Our Dog.

Our Dog is pretty much awesome. She is generally quite. She only chews on stuff that is designated to be hers. She doesn't scratch at stuff. She sleeps a lot. She likes to go for a run in the mornings. She is unbelievably patient with NotMarsha and as such is often sporting a Pink and Yellow Duckie Blanket Cape and being hauled around by her collar on the deck to the theme song from Dora 
or wrapped up in a full body hug and being told "Our Dog, I TOTALLY Love You." 
She learned very quickly that NotMarsha is, like most three year olds, a fairly sloppy eater and she lays, patiently, at the foot of NotMarsha's place at the table for the treats to fly.

She does, however, hate to leave the house. She hates it when ANYONE leaves the house. She does not like to be left out of the house and is not above finding ways to break back into the house for the sole purpose of lying on her bed. (Like jumping through a screen on an open window which worked once, or tearing the screen from said window because the window was closed the second time around.)
I did not realize until we were on the way to get The Dog, which would become Our Dog, that she was our test baby. Apparently, I am quite dense. So far, she is pushing us pretty hard towards the Realm of the Possible Real Baby. What with that extra bedroom and all...Man, I really am stupid.

NotMarsha is working that whole thing pretty hard too. Pointing out that while Our Dog is great and she "Totally Love Her", she is not, in fact, a puppy... thus, we owe her a baby, or a puppy, in the future. Huh.

As for Our Dog. She is pretty settled in and she has really made us a family in a way that we weren't before. 

And that is nice. 
Note to Reader: The guy in picture four is my dad (aka Papa), not NotMike, just in case you were curious. . . or dirty minded like this ego-manicical governor that I know.

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