Thursday, December 27, 2007

About The Puppy

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.
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Beth said...

We just had our dog, also named Sophie, recently put to sleep after 16 loyal years. She was also incontinent, and had hip dysplasia. My husband couldn't bear to do it until she just couldn't get around at all anymore. It was very sad, especially for him, and he refuses to even think about another dog for a while. This spring I will try to convince him again. We have 3 little boys who would love a puppy!

I'm so glad things worked out for you. I hope your transition with Sophie will be easier, thanks to Winston...

Dana said...

I am so glad things worked out! It is sad to loose a pet member of the family. We lost our Scottie in May and got another Scottie puppy for Christmas (early though) - she was supposed to be my gift because I was the one wanting the puppy - but she has taken up with my husband.

I forgot how much work puppies are though :) Enjoy the puppy....

Christine said...

That is the cutest story about a dog I've ever heard. I hope this puppy will bring you great joy!

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this sweet story! My father-in-law lost his dog of 14 years a couple of days before Christmas. We took his furry grandaughter over for a therapeutic sleepover tonight. Isn't it amazing how they possess so much of our hearts and become such a special part of our families? My boys had their first experience with death through the loss of our family dog. It was a heartbreaking and eyeopening experience. I rejoice with you in your new puppy and will pray for you and your sweet faithful friend who is failing.

Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story.. I will be waiting for a photo of your newest family member. What a lucky puppy!

MrsJoeB said...

What a sweet story. Its' a God thing and I love it when it happens-His way!!
In His graces~Pamela

Theresa said...

I lost a 18 yr old and a 17 yr old cat this year within a couple months of each other. You get so close to them as though they are your kids, only they can be nicer, because they show you unconditional love! I still cry at times when I think about them, and what a testimony that is to the love that they showed to us!! Having to put both of them to sleep was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I know that they were hurting and their tired bodies were shutting down and I just eased them out of pain. We did get 2 kittens a couple months ago and our home has been a bit chaotic with the huge amount of energy that comes with kittens X2!! I know (& hope) that our home will go back to calm again, but are enjoying these 2 frisky balls of fluff right now. Licorice and Tootsie we miss you!

Remembering Kitties in Indy