Monday, March 12, 2007

Going to the Dogs

As expected, I didn't get to post yesterday. We ran from 10:45 to 5 p.m., then dinner, getting Mabel to bed, catching up on episodes of "Rome" on HBO, and it was bedtime.

I have gotten SO MANY COMPLIMENTS this past week! Even people who aren't typical observers and commenters, like my brother in law, have taken notice and think I look thinner. I suppose I'm just in one of those spots on the scale that really changes my appearance. My mother said it's my face, especially; there's a lot more definition there right now and my neck looks a lot thinner, too.

I finally broke my exercise embargo and did some toning exercises this morning. Sadly, I can feel it in my thighs, which means I was starting to lose some muscle strength there. Bummer! But hey, it just gives me more reason to hop back into it and get myself built back up again. The weather is nearly spring-like here and most of the snow is melted away, so I think I'm going to take a walk in my new neighborhood this afternoon and get a dose of cardio in, too.

Here's the "big thing" (it's one of my daughter's favorite phrases) that happened over the weekend. For ages Hubby and Mabel have been hounding me about getting a dog ("hound" me? get it? gosh I'm lame). I've balked and crossed my arms huffily and said time and time again I don't want the hassle and work of a dog. "I've already got two kids to clean up after (namely, Hubby and Mabel), I don't want a third!" has been my standard reply.

Well, they're either wearing me down with their constant whining, or I'm getting addle-brained, but I'm starting to waver on my steadfast objections. And this weekend when our friends, who are also thinking about getting a dog, told us about their trip to the Humane Society and how cute the dogs were, I felt myself weakening some more. Enough that I actually got on the HS website to see which dogs they were talking about.

The thing is, when I was a kid I adored dogs. I loved playing with them, walking in the woods with them, snuggling up on the couch with them. When tragedy struck and I discovered one of our beagle puppies got trapped under a swimming pool cover, I immediately dived in with all my clothes on and desperately tried to revive it (to no avail, unfortunately).

When I went to college in the city I went the cat route because my landlord would allow them. Cats were also easier to take care of (litter box instead of walking outside, etc.) and more independent.

I think I fell out of love with dogs as an adult because of the work involved. As a kid my parents did a good bit of the work: buying the food, paying the vet bills, cleaning the poop out of the yard. We lived on 14 acres in the country and didn't have to take the dogs out for walks because they had free reign over our property.
But when I lived in our small town and tried to own a dog, I felt more hassled than relaxed by having a canine pet: cleaning up the accidents in the house, controlling the shed hair, keeping my household items from getting chewed up, the list went on and on.

In addition to this I was a single mother with a little girl who also needed to be cleaned up after and constantly attended. So the problem came down to feeling too overextended by all the responsibility. I've tried different breeds, puppies and full grown dogs, but each time it just didn't work out. (By the way, the dogs I've had as an adult that didn't work out didn't get dumped at the pound: I got Ayla from the people who lived in my first house before I moved in, and when they returned to the area a year later they asked if there was any way they could have her back. So she happily went back to her original Mommy and Daddy. As for my two other doggy attempts, they have found very happy homes with my mom, who has a whole menagerie on our 14-acre homestead.)

So now I find myself on the precipice of another dog. Things have changed now: Mabel is older and Hubby is now in the picture. I still live in town, but in a different house that is off the main drag on a quiet street, which is bordered by fields. Our house is bigger, too, and already has a fenced in area. Plus, I'm a walker now, which I wasn't during the other dog attempts. I'm much more prone to enjoy walking a dog now than when I was heavier and hated to exert extra energy.

I've informed my family that the only way I would even think about getting a dog is if they promise and follow through on taking a big share of the responsibilities. Mabel then spent the entire weekend writing up "doggy contracts" listing what she and her Daddy would have to do to take care of a dog. Hubby even sat down with me and said he realized he would have to make a serious effort to assume dog/household duties.

These guys really want a dog. And today my mom told me that a friend of ours is leaving for Florida on a nine-day trip and is looking for someone to babysit her chocolate lab. Mom has told me before this friend has bemoaned her decision to get this dog because she already had a black lab and some cats and it's all a little too much for one household. My mom thinks that if her friend knew the dog was going to a good home, that maybe she might decide to give it to us.

So I've got a deal to give my family this afternoon: what if we babysit this dog for the nine days and see how life is like with a lab in the house? (This is the only breed of dog my husband wants and is pretty adamant about it.) And maybe after those nine days, if we like having a dog around and if the owner is willing, we could "adopt" it. If she doesn't want to give the dog up, then we start looking for our own. And if we don't like the experience, then our lesson has been learned.

Does this sound like a good idea or a disaster? I'm so unsure. I know there are some dog lovers out there. If you have any suggestions, I'd sure appreciate them.

1 comment:

Vickie said...

I think I have heard you say that you and Mabel both have allergies - if this is the case - you might consider getting both of you tested for animal allergies before you do anything (if you haven't already been tested). I grew up with cats and dogs and am VERY allergic to both - that was my asthma trigger as a child - but no one knew. My kids have all been tested - oldest is allergic to both (like me), middle - extreme to dogs, youngest - extreme to cats. Allergist said - no animals for any of us ever.