Friday, December 27, 2013


Well, once again I find that Kara and I are similar opposites: while she chooses to invest in a puppy and a human infant in the same month, I do the complete related opposite: I not only skip the infant, I choose an eight year old dog instead. Kara has more energy for such shenanigans than I do.

We weren't actually planning to get a dog. In fact, despite some on-going level of desire, we've actively chosen not to get one because 1) we didn't want an indoor dog and 2) our yard isn't big enough to keep an outdoor dog happy or busy. The idea was something along the lines of "someday when we have twenty acres". Obviously that hasn't happened yet, so neither has the dog.

Last week, however, things changed a bit. I went into town to swap out my rather aged tires for a new pair, and while I was in the waiting area of the shop a lady walked in with a very well behaved black lab at her heels. I'm very closed minded when it comes to dogs; the only breed I ever consider getting is a lab, and they're also the only ones I'm ever tempted to pet when I run across one in public. They're just gorgeous, and I have a horrendous soft spot for them. I watched as she chose a chair and told him to lay down next to her, which he did.

On my way out of the shop I stopped to pet him, and complimented her on how well behaved he was. She thanked me and then turned my world a few degrees (not upside down, though) by asking if I knew of anybody who would be interested in him. Apparently she was only his temporary guardian, and his family was moving out of state and couldn't take him with them.

A young dog was never on my list of options, simply because our life isn't that active, and I have no interest in repeating my days of struggling to keep an active young lab happy. But this dog, it turned out, was eight, and totally content to spend his life with much less activity than most dogs on the market. And he was well behaved. It was a rather odd combo; really, how often does somebody spend eight years training up a rambunctious puppy and then want to give it away? It's the young ones that they can't handle any more that end up needing new homes.

So I called Rob, and quite frankly begged him to revisit this idea of an indoor dog. My husband is a dear man who caters to my desires possibly more than is healthy, but he thought this situation sounded like it was worth a try, so to go ahead. The dog's name was Fred, which Rob admitted was 30% of his selling point. We brought him home the next day for a short visit to see how he would do.

He did fine. He's chill, but he's also healthy, and loves to go outside when I do the chickens. He ignores them, which is great, but he loves to run around and check things out. He's always excited to get in the truck (Rob's been quite obliging about taking him along when days are suited to it) and to take a walk, but he spends plenty of time curled up on the rug, too.

Our reasons for not wanting an indoor dog were primarily for company's sake, which vary in preference for animals, and as we enforced this I had to admit that a hair free household was really pretty nice. As this hasn't changed, part of the "probation" period was finding out how well we could keep up with having an indoor dog: could I keep comfortably ahead of the hair, and could we keep him clean enough for indoor comfort?  So far we're doing fine...he doesn't like baths, but he doesn't fight them, and he certainly didn't complain about being given the prime spot in front of the fire so he could dry off thoroughly.

I think we're going to keep him, but we got insanely lucky in how easy that will be. The lady who was watching him was a friend of Fred's old family, and she adores him but can't keep him herself because they're too active (horses and such) and he tries to come along and ends up too stiff to walk the next day. What this means for us is that they love him and are delighted to have him come visit any time, so we have built in dog care for trips, or for company that's not so much a fan of dogs, or other situations. It's great for them and great for us.

So now Fred spends his days doing whatever we do. He does like a walk in the morning, which is probably better for me than I'd like to admit. But then he'll hang out the rest of the day, keeping me company when I help in the shop, sleeping while I work around the house, or graciously putting up with Rob's tempting him with bacon. It's a rough life, but somebody has to do it.


  1. Seems like quite the amazing deal you ran into! Paragraph two could have been my words with the exception of the 20 acres deal; I wanted a fence for our 2.5 acres. Anyways, glad that you found a solution that works for you! So much fun to have a dog around :)

    1. He's definitely convinced us it might be worth a shot...and that wasn't an easy task. :-)

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