Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Horrible, Awful, Fluffy, Puppy of Joy

I would say that it is safe to say that I have always been an animal person. When I was a little girl I loved puppies and kittens and any other animal I could get close to. Growing up we had pet fish, rabbits, chickens, dogs, cats, and birds that I can remember. With the exception of the chicken (which was filthy and smelled awful) I loved them all.

For the most part growing up I was a dog person out of necessity. I would have much preferred a cat over a dog however my wretched allergies kept me from being in prolonged contact with anything in the feline family. It made me sad but I was content with my dogs instead.

When I got into college I discovered that I had miraculously outgrown my cat allergy and I never looked back. I am a cat person through and through and if it weren't for the fact that our middle cat is intolerant of new feline additions, we would have more than three cats in our home.

The husbeast is also an animal person but I don't think anyone could deny that he is, and always has been, a dog person. When he was growing up his family actually ran kennels and bred dogs. He raised champion dogs in all shapes and sizes from Maltese to Rottweilers, the latter being his favorite.

The problem with being young and just starting out is that you don't really have a lot of space or time, both of which you need for a dog. Cats are pretty self sufficient what with that litter box thing and all. Dogs require more attention and a lot more space. With this knowledge we decided early on in our relationship that there would be no dog until we had a house with a yard to be fair to the dog.

About two years after we moved into our house we adopted our sweet Rogue from a local no kill shelter. She is a sweet docile little omega of a dog that is half border collie and half black lab. She is precious and sweet and so very loving. We love her very very much.

Still, somewhere in the back of the husbeasts head, he kept coming back to the memories of his Rottweilers and thinking how much he wanted another one. We tossed the idea around for several years but the time never seemed right to add a new member to the family so we tabled the idea.

Last summer as we were slogging through bathroom remodeling we suddenly both came to the decision that it was time to start looking for a new puppy. We have spaced out the acquisition of furry family members by about two years, and it was coming up on the two year point of us having brought Etta into the family.  We were at our cat limit so a new puppy was the obvious choice.

We didn't start looking right away. At that time the husbeasts sister was moving in with us and bringing a cat and dog of her own into the mix. We wanted things to settle down from that introduction before we tried to add a puppy into the mix.

Our search started in earnest around Christmas.

Two days before Christmas we went into our local no kill shelter to say hello to the puppies and pass the time on a pleasant afternoon. We weren't expecting to find any puppies that we would fall in love with and want to take home since we had some pretty specific requirements we were trying to fill. We wanted a male Rot/Rot mix with a laid back and docile temperament that was under four months old. Not something you find every day.

So of course we walked in and found a litter of Rot/Lab 10 week old puppies with one male left who was sweet and docile; the perfect puppy. We should have seen this coming really. So the debate began about whether or not we were really ready for a puppy at this time. Our sister was still with us until June and so we were still heavy one dog and one cat. It was Christmas so money was a little tight. Faire was about to start and we didn't have a ton of free time.

We went to lunch to discuss all of the things that needed discussing. We both had some concerns and decided we needed to maybe sleep on the idea. By the time dinner rolled around we both knew that we really wanted the puppy and that as soon as the shelter opened in the morning we would be going to pick him up.

When we got to the shelter the next morning we were told he had been adopted about 10 minutes after we had left the day before. We were both very very sad about not getting the puppy that had seemed so perfect. We decided not to look again for a while.

The week after New Years Eve we were in San Antonio visiting my parents. Despite having decided not to look for another dog for a while I was cruising the internet looking at puppies when I came across a litter of Catahoula Leopard Dog/Rottweiler mix rescues. It just took one look and we were both in love.

I contacted the rescue about the one we liked best and they started to set up a sleep over with the puppy when we got back into town. A week passed and we heard nothing. Another week passed and we finally heard back that the puppy had already been adopted when we had inquired about him and that it had been a miscommunication. We were a little agitated but decided it was fine and we actually  liked one of his brothers better.

We showed up to the adoption event at a not so local PetCo. a couple of days later to actually meet the puppy. He was so incredibly adorable. He was sweet and a little more feisty than the other puppy had been, but was the sweetest little cuddle bug. In short we fell in love on the spot.

We spoke at length with the people who ran the organization and they scheduled a sleep over with the puppy since we couldn't actually adopt any of their animals at the adoption event. This rescue organization was very insistent on having multiple references, home visits, and access to your vet before they would consider adopting to you. It seemed like a lot of stuff, but we were willing to jump through the hoops.

The morning of our sleepover arrived and we had not heard from the organization in a couple of days. I called one last time to confirm everything and finally got the president of the organization on the phone. This is when she told me the puppy was not up for adoption.

The foster family, who we met at the event, wanted to keep him. This was understandable if not upsetting. The worst part was that they had decided this a week before the adoption event but had brought the puppy out to meet potential families anyways. They had let us get our hopes up for nothing.

((The woman tried to talk me into adopting another dog that in no way was what we were looking for. In the end I was actually glad to not be working with this organization because it was questionable at best. I am fairly certain they were stealing dogs from people that they did not feel were good pet owners. Also their definition of abuse was leaving a dog outside unattended ever. It didn't matter the size of the dog, or the yard, or if the dog had a nice dog house and wading pool to relax in the shade; if you put your dog outside unsupervised you were abusing the animal. Also if you kenneled your dog inside for any length of time no matter the reason you were abusing them. She also didn't believe that people who worked should own dogs because the dog would be alone for more than an hour (which according to her was the maximum amount of time any dog should be left alone without human contact). She was a little crazy to say the least.))

At this point we were pretty disheartened. We decided to really not look for another puppy for a while. We just couldn't handle the heartache again. Like I said we are both animal people and get attached very easily. There is only so much disappointment a person can take.

When we went to North Texas Irish fest the last day of February the last thing we were thinking about was a new puppy. Sure they always have dog rescue set up at the festival, but they are mostly dogs with an Irish theme to them. We again had very specific requirements. We should really know better than to expect to go in not looking and not find the perfect dog.

We saw the little Rot pups right off the bat but we both avoided going in and looking at them. We casually looked at all the other animals and moved on from the rescue pavilion. We were not going to get sucked in again. We made our rounds around the festival, met up with friends, looked at pretty art, listened to awesome music, and of course ended our evening back at the rescue pavilion.

This time we were unable to resist looking at the puppies we had avoided earlier in the night. The little boy was perfect. He had just the right temperament, all the right markings, and he was the right age. He took to the husbeast right away. It was again love at first sight.

The women running the rescue group took our information but told us we couldn't take him that night. He had a parasite in his tummy that he had to get rid of before he could be adopted. We were told the meds took a week to work and at that time we could adopt him. We were promised it was a done deal and no one else would be allowed to adopt him before we got there.

There were pictures taken, we shared the news with friends, and started trying to pick out a name. Monday morning we got an update that he was responding to the meds and should be ready for pickup on Saturday. We were already into faire at that point so I started trying to arrange to pick him up on Monday morning instead of on Saturday at the adoption event but I stopped getting responses to my emails.

Sunday evening, after not having heard anything about our puppy since Tuesday, I got an email from the rescue organization. The email was short and to the point; the puppy broke with parvo and despite their best efforts he had not survived. The loss of the puppy was especially hard on the husbeast because it had been lost to parvo. When he was younger he had lost almost 200 dogs, mostly puppies, when a new strand of parvo had made it over from Europe.

Two months passed before either of us could look at puppies again.We had friends adopting puppies and kittens all around us and it was hard to be happy for them when we had had such a terrible time trying to adopt one of our own. We had both become a little bitter and jaded.

May rolled around and some of the bitter had worn off so we started to look again. We still wanted that Rot pup so we knew it was going to be a long road. Short of going to a breeder (which we really did not want to do) and paying close to $1000 we were not going to so easily find what we were looking for. Weekly online searches and visits to the no kill shelter were proving to be fruitless.

It was on a lark that I opened up Craigslist on Monday morning and started looking for puppies. It had never occurred to me to look there for possible adoptions. The list was full of people selling or re-homing animals that they could no longer care for or trying to off-load unexpected litters of puppies they had found.

It took less than ten minutes before the husbeast had two different ads that he was contacting about puppies. We were not surprised, considering our puppy search history, that within an hour of the add being posted all the male puppies were gone already. That evening though we struck upon a little male Rot pup that was 6 weeks old that wasn't part of a litter.

He had been bought as a gift for a woman from her husband, only she didn't have the room for such a large dog and needed to find him a new more suitable home. The husbeast talked to her on the phone for a while and we decided to meet Wednesday evening to see if he would be a match for us. Neither one of us were really getting our hopes up.

Tuesday morning I got a text asking us if we could meet that afternoon as she had other interested parties but wanted us to have first right of refusal. There was some finagling for getting out of work early, but we agreed to make the drive and meet her and the puppy. I was just pulling out of my office when I got the text telling us that her husband had sold the puppy to one of his friends without consulting her and she was so sorry but he was no longer available.

Par for course.

I texted the husbeast the bad news and decided to go grocery shopping. It was becoming pretty clear that we weren't really meant to have a new puppy. To say I was a little depressed would be pretty accurate of my mood as I roamed up and down the canned food aisle at the grocery store.

My phone suddenly rang and I found a very excited husbeast on the other end. He had been in contact with a second person from the Craigslist search unbeknownst to me. Apparently about a minute after I texted him the bad news this woman had called him asking if we wanted to come see the puppy they had.

Not wanting to allow something else bad to happen we agreed to come out at once. I sprinted through the grocery store and ran to the house to pick  up the husbeast. We threw the groceries into the kitchen and were out the door like a shot.

The entire drive up to Denton we talked about how we were not getting our hopes up. For all we knew this puppy could not be what we were looking for. He might have the wrong personality, he might not take to us, he might have been adopted in the hour it took us to get there after we received the call. In short we were prepared for the worst.

When we pulled up to the house the entire family was sitting on the front porch with the puppy in the teenage daughters arms. I tried not to look at his fuzzy little face and notice how ridiculously adorable he was. I tried to ignore the way his little nub for a tail wiggled with excitement. I tried not to watch his tongue lull out as he yawned widely at us. I was not going to fall in love with him just yet.

I of course failed as much as the husbeast did. The moment they placed that puppy in his arms I knew that he was the perfect puppy. He was docile and sweet and cuddly. He was full blood German Rottweiler which was exactly what the husbeast wanted. He was one day shy of 9 weeks old. He was healthy and still available.

We talked to the family for about half an hour so that we could make sure the puppy was coming from a healthy and loving environment (since with breeds like Rottweilers you sometimes get people breeding them for all the wrong reasons) and the family could make certain that we were going to do right by the puppy. Once everyone was assured that this puppies past had been good and his future was going to be better we agreed that this was a good match.

I handed the lady the money, they petted the pup one last time and made us promise we would send pictures as he grew, and we were on our way with puppy in arms. It felt completely surreal. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop as we pulled away from the house with our new pup slumbering in my arms.

It was a very long, frustrating, and painful road to find our new furbaby, but in the end I feel that we were really just waiting for this one to come along. This baby was the one meant for us the entire time. We are so very happy.

Welcome home Nero!

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