I have a list of 7,586 reasons not to own a dog. I am not a “pet person” and frequently I add more reasons to my list of why I will never own a dog.
When Todd and I were engaged, we had a serious discussion on this topic. I told him, I would never ever, ever never want to be talked into owning non-aquatic pets. Even if our kids begged, I was not budging, he was not marrying a pet person. I am pretty sure that at one point I told my kids I dislike the idea of dogs as pets to the moon and back, twice, plus infinity times infinity squared. (Which is the opposite of when we say “I love you to the moon and back, twice, plus infinity times infinity squared”) They know what I mean by that.
Then one day I decided I may not be thought of as a very nice person to dislike the idea of dogs as pets so much. So I told my boys if dad lets us move to a house with at least 1-3 acres of land, then we can get a dog. An outside only dog that can sleep in the garage on cold nights. Maybe. It really took the pressure from it being up to me to approve a dog, making it contingent on dad buying us a house with significant land. Yep, I am pretty wise, aren’t I? I would really like to live on some acreage and own chickens, goats, lush gardens, and one day have a commune. But that is an entirely different subject.
Kimmy is the only one with me on this. She “hates” dogs. Except for Teddy-Teddy and Beau-Jo, but only because they obey her when she bosses them around, and they are small. The boys, not so much. James REALLY wants a dog. He would actually prefer a monkey, but in Colorado it is illegal to own a monkey. Last month he tried to talk me into getting a pet pig. Because pigs are not dogs.
James knows that I love him to the moon and back, twice, plus infinity times infinity squared. What he doesn’t know, yet, is that something very strange happened to me in late October. My friend Jenny showed up at our door with her dog. We had planned to hike for a few hours, and the weather was perfect. The problem is, she showed up with her dog Cassidy. Reason number 7,587 to not own a dog. Dogs don’t like to be left out of long hikes with their owners and non-dog people have to share the trail with a dog.
I didn’t feel like riding in the car, because pet hair would be all over the seats. Since I live a half a mile from Hayden/Green Mountain trailhead, I suggested we just walk from my house and catch those trails instead of driving somewhere.
I was quietly impressed with the dog. She was remarkably obedient. Jenny let Cassidy off leash a few times, and she would return to Jenny on command if other hikers were approaching. Not bad. I told Jenny, I thought she was a good dog owner. There are people like Jenny, and then there are people who think their dog owns the world. Kimmy will be freaking out over a loose dog and the owner will stupidly say “Oh, my dog won’t hurt you, she likes kids.” Umm, your dog may like kids and be friendly and all, but my daughter HATES dogs and is freaking out to the point of climbing my body and knocking me over, can you PLEASE call your dog back and put the leash back on. Reason number 7,588.
Cassidy is a really pretty dog, she is athletic, lean and has a docked tail. Jenny is athletic and adventurous, so they actually look like they belong together. No, Jenny doesn’t have a tail or pointy ears. We hiked a total of eight and a half miles and Cassidy was in her element, content and easy going. She didn’t sniff my you know what, jump on anyone, or bark like an idiot dog at a stranger even once.
However, at the sound of a squirrel on the trail, Cassidy stopped briefly while her nose pointed forward, raising a paw and her tail went stiff. She looked pretty regal, so I asked the obvious question of whether Cassidy is a pointer or hunting breed. Jenny sneezed, or I thought she did, when she told me Cassidy is a Vizsla. “God bless you, Gesundheit. What kind of dog is she?” A Vizsla, is not a dog breed I have ever heard of, and later I mis-remembered and called her a Veasel, like Weasel with a V.
Imagine me, up to reason number 7,588 not to own a dog, going home and typing V-I-Z-S-L-A into the Google search bar.
Never mind, don’t imagine that. Picture the look on Todd’s face two days and many hours of reading later, when I told him that I had found a breeder in South Dakota who unexpectedly had two male Vizsla puppies available. The pups had been born the day Jenny and I went for our hike, and I had found them online a day later. The ONLY Vizsla puppies, from a good pedigree and AKA certified breeders (words I didn’t know about before Google informed me) in the entire USA, that would be available for me to pick up in December, right before Christmas. The only reason this is possible is number one, this overnight transformation of becoming “one of those people” has been a God thing. (No one but God could ever change my mind about dogs.) And number two, because the momma dog had a litter of nine. The seven that showed themselves via the ultrasound were already claimed and paid for before the litter was even born. The additional males were unexpected, and if I wanted one of them I could dibs one by sending in deposit check. Like right away, there is a waiting list across America for Vizsla dogs. I don’t believe in coincidences, but keep reading, things only get more exciting.
I hope you are still trying to picture the look on Todd’s face. Because more confusion about if he was talking to his actual wife or a decoy, that looked a lot like me, happened when I told him I had already spoken to the breeder, and I would like to take a “secret mom mission” to South Dakota and meet the breeder, puppies, and decide if I want to choose one and mess up our life by getting a dog. Jenny had already agreed to go with me.
Oh, the things we do for love. There are many reasons, about ten on my list so far, about why I think this specific dog is perfect for James and our family. It actually makes me giddy thinking about how perfect it all seems. He really wants a dog.
Two very confirming and out of the blue things (but not coincidences, I don’t believe in coincidences) happened in the last two weeks. On Thanksgiving Day, my sister-in-law shared her family tradition of watching that famous dog show after the Macy’s parade had finished. The one where the owners dress up, prance real funny and sometimes have hairdo’s that match their canine. Really, it is entertaining. My boys happened to come in from sledding as the sporting dog class was previewing after the commercial break. I casually gave my “we have a secret” wink to Todd and said, “Hey boys, these are the kind of dogs we can choose from if we ever get a house with acreage. Let’s watch and you can each pick one out.”
The NRA-ILA 2016 calendar arrived in the mail a few days later. The theme this year? Hunting Dogs. Again, I said, “Hey James, these are the kinds of dogs you could choose from if we ever get a house with acreage. Take a look at them.”
He chose Mr. June, a Vizsla. The same dog breed he admired and chose on Thanksgiving, if owning a house with acreage was actually a possibility. He kept the calendar.
Today is the day. (Well, as I am typing this it is actually Tuesday, but I am scheduling this post for Thursday evening, which will be the day you read this, and he will have already met his Christmas present.)
I have a new list of “reasons” relating to dogs. At 8:00 am Thursday we are pulling out of the drive way. James will most likely not notice the overnight bags I have packed, or discover the dog stuff hidden inside. He will surely point out that I turned the wrong way to take him to school.
To which I will tell him, “I feel like being spontaneous today. Let’s go on a scavenger hunt and pick out a Christmas present.” This may be the best day of his life! I am thrilled to be the one to experience it with him. I have the scavenger hunt planned with several stops where envelopes with instructions and puzzle pieces await him. I hope he will allow me to share the video in a few days!
The number one reason to own a dog as a pet? Un-measurable love for my children. Reason number two: Understanding that childhood passes so quickly and there is probably much to learn from letting my boys have a dog. Number three: I will have a dedicated running buddy. Reason four: He is pictured below.