I have mentioned several times on the blog that our dog Sophie is 13 years old and is having issues with bladder control. It has finally gotten bad enough that we were discussing putting her to sleep. As sad as it is, it is time. Three times of cleaning up her accidents in one day was enough to convince me. But the mere mention of doing so caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth around here amongst certain children. I knew that putting the dog to sleep was not going to be met with a great response. (Not that I expected it to, but still.) So, I broached the subject of getting another dog right away to my husband. His response was that he wanted to go several years without a dog to take care of or be responsible for. Oh. Years?
Hmmm. I had some convincing to do. And so, like any submissive wife, I began to secretly research dog breeds. I kept coming back to Springer Spaniels. They seemed to be the right size, right temperament, etc. But I couldn't find any available within a reasonable driving distance from us. So, I gave up and went with the original plan, which was, put the dog to sleep and then just deal with the kids' grief. But I still had romantic notions in my mind of a puppy for the kids for Christmas. I will admit it.
Then one day last week I was running last minute errands, one of which was to stop by the homeschool store to pick up some books that I had consigned that they didn't need. As I was walking by the bulletin board they have in the store, I saw a sign that said, "English Springer Spaniel Puppies Ready for Christmas." I couldn't believe it! I had looked and looked on the internet, but found nothing. And there was the exact breed I had been searching for.
It was a sign straight from God.
And you better believe that was what I went home and told my husband.
He, however, was not at all convinced that God had declared us ready for a puppy by placing a sign in the homeschool store. And so, I lobbied. I begged. I launched an all-out effort to get him to just go see the puppies. All the while reminding him of how submissive I am, and how he could put the skids on the whole thing at any point. He agreed to let the breeder send us photos of the puppies. A small but significant victory.
Then he came back and said that he was actually very interested in the puppies, but that he did not see a way possible to pay for this rather expensive last-minute Christmas purchase. We are a cash-only, no credit cards family. Which means everything is budgeted and planned for. Which means last minute purchases are just not possible, as there is no way to go and get money we don't already have. This was, for us at least, a revolutionary way to live when we first started it several years ago. We had always used credit cards for "emergencies." Until we realized all these emergencies spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E. And so, now we have waaaay fewer emergencies, and make waaaay less impulse purchases. It's a great way to live.
Anyway. The old saying, "You can't get blood from a turnip," proved true in this case. And so, I wrote the breeder, who it turned out, was an acquaintance of ours (she works at the homeschool store), and told them that we loved the puppies but just couldn't swing it. He wrote me back the first time and said to let him know if we could work it out, as he would still have some puppies in January. Then about fifteen minutes later, he wrote again to say that he and his wife had discussed it and wanted us to take the puppy and just pay them as we could! I went back to Curt and told him what had happened and he just made a face that said, "I've been had." He smiled really big and said we could go after church on Sunday and look at them without the kids, then make a decision. We were thinking that if it seemed like a good situation, we would choose one, then bring the kids out to pick it up on Christmas night or the day after.
So, we got everyone settled down for naps after church and headed out for our secret mission. We were going to look at the female liver and white puppies they had. That was the plan. And then we walked into the garage and there, in the middle of all the puppies, was Winston. He was the only tri-color one they had left, and he stood out with his distinct markings and calm behavior in the midst of all the puppy merriment going on in the pen. He and Curt locked eyes, Curt scooped him up asking, "What's the story on this little guy?" and I knew he was a goner. I tell people it was truly a case of puppy love!
Within a few minutes, Curt was saying, "Well, why can't we just take him home now?" And that was all she wrote. We brought him home that day! And the funny thing is, he is Curt's dog. He shadows Curt everywhere and lays at his feet to sleep. Curt is smitten with him, which makes it nice. I keep asking him, "You don't regret it do you?" And he smiles good-naturedly and says, "No." So, it all turned out great and I know it will make the adjustment of losing our old dog much easier to have this adorable, energetic little guy around. I am so happy it worked out so nicely.