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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

so, you think you want a dog?

With all the changes I’ve been going through since my ICU visit last October, I do feel like I’m taking control of my life again. Getting up to get things done, cleaning up around the house on a regular basis, and all the things I never cared about or took the time to under my previous lifestyle. Maybe one day I’ll get into my previous lifestyle, but for now let’s just say it was pretty isolationistic (is that a word? Word didn’t mark it so it must be) and keeping to myself.

I can’t honestly say that all that is changing but I have gotten to the point where I feel I need a dog around the house. Many many moons ago I did get an akita puppy and named him Tory after my grandfather’s German Sheppard I recalled as a child. About a month later my isolationism caught up with me and I really was torn up about keeping Tory or ensuing he got a better home. My best friend at the time gave him a home and while I did get him back for one incredible 140lb akita summer, he went back to the country when that was over.

Looking back that month was a blast. No one died, Tory didn’t eat any children despite breaking out of the backyard. Twice. AND spending a night in a shelter because I couldn’t find him in time. The memories of friends being scared of Tory (with good reason if you know akitas) and feeding them Tupperware from over the fence (way to go, Joey!) to flopping at my feet as I was writing something on the computer when he was still a puppy.

I’ve been thinking Akita again over the last few months and joined an Akita rescue group on Facebook to learn more, option up options for getting another Akita, or possibly just boarding one for a few months to make sure I was ready.

I failed at dog ownership once before and part of that failure lingers with me. While yes I did ensure I gave Tory a good home that I know he loved up until he passed on 6 or so years later, I still felt strange for not being able to keep him around. Or not wanting to. I got Tory more of a spur of the moment and had to go buy a cage after I brought him home so I do believe I’m putting more time and effort into preparing myself for this addition to my house THAT I’VE JUST come to clean regularly.

On the akita site, I’ve been approached about boarding one but I wasn’t ready. My house, while getting cleaner all the time as I unload my past purchases of drunken ebay nights, still needed to be “dog clean” and that’s another level. So I did pass that up and while being active in my garage working on my shelving my neighbors Doberman “attacked” me by hauling ass into my garage and shoving his head into my lap demanding some love. Doberman, huh? Found a Doberman rescue clinic and put this wonderful breed on my potential list.

Now, things get interesting. You see, to “save a dog” from death and give it a “furrever home”, you have to fill out an application. Ok, I can see that. Just a quick lookover to make sure you’ve put some thought into this and not just getting a dog to hush a kid. Well, you think it would be pretty simple. The Doberman one wasn’t too bad and did ask questions around dog and dog care, previous ownership and references. Not bad. Now over to the Akita one and let me get approved in case I find a face I just can’t live without.

Ouch. Now suddenly they wanted to know how long I’ve lived where I live, if less than 2 years where did I live before? Where do I work? If less than 2 years, where did I work before? It wasn’t long ago when I was unemployed and I got asked the same type of questions and a few times had a background check run on me. Now for the most part I don’t care, but they were also asking when the dog would be alone. I’m just not going to tell an organization I don’t know when I’m not home. Where I work, or explain gaps in my employment.

You see, you have to answer less questions to own a gun, yet to “save” a dog from death, you have to be worthy in their eyes or the dog can sit and hope the next applicant is patient enough to fill that application out.

The Doberman rescue home called and talked to me for a few minutes and apparently took my reference seriously and called them also. In no short order, I was approved. Sunday am I loaded up after spending $75 for food and treats at petsmart and Mike went with me to Grand Praraie to a place under the power lines that also had a zebra.

The dogs were actually great for the most part. Some had more energy than I could deal with so those were an instant “no” and one I did like, Apollo, just seemed rather distant. I wasn’t getting the “connection” I was hoping for. Then again, Apollo had seen who knows how many other people that day alone and spends much of his time alone or with other dogs. Dobermans being a bit standoffish to start with, I’m sure tells a lot of that story. Temperament seemed fine and he didn’t mind the other dogs or being petted. Just seemed to not notice much around him.

I honestly went in thinking I would fall in love with one of them and just bring them home. I spent hours cleaning the house to prepare the previous night and in the am and for the most part was as ready as I’ll ever be. But 2nd thoughts of either considering a Doberman too quickly, wondering if I actually want to go through with this, and having to watch my step in a grassy field with horses and 20 dogs going for sudden walks all the time.

In the end we did load up and head home. I was a bit depressed but it just didn’t seem right. When I got Tory there was a “connection” story and maybe from a Rescue dog those are harder to come by because they are more grown up and have their own stories to tell you, in time.

I think I’ll be fine once I get use to another body in the house and actually still looking forward to it. Somewhere out there is a cool dog with a great personality that doesn’t bark like breathing (would drive me nuts) and likes to chill around the house BUT get up and ensure he takes *me* for a walk daily.

Something else I need in my life as I keep making the changes I’m making.

Overall, I’ll still look at rescue clinics but I also hear others I talk to say these dogs will be harder to care for and you “inherit” other peoples problems. Apollo, for example, was adopted then brought back. Not enough thought? Did he do things that dogs *not* brought up in a troubled environment do and they didn’t have the patience for him? Was it to quiet a kid and suddenly it was a Top Gear BAD IDEA BAD IDEA so they returned him? I dunno. I do know there are “used people” out there and some call these animals “used dogs” and considering the adoption fee is around what I paid for Tory (albiet 12 years ago) maybe going back to a puppy is the answer.

Here I go thinking too much all over again.

I’ll keep looking and in the end I suppose I’m just looking for that “connection” and if it’s a rescue dog, great. If a puppy I find at a breeder, great. But I don’t have to have a dog this weekend, or any time in the immediate future. But I do want to ensure when I bring one home, we’ve both decided it’s the right thing to do.

Signed “still looking in Dallas”.  J

PS – I do encourage you to look into your local animal shelters and rescue houses to donate if you can. The cost of keeping these animals safe and warm while searching for their home is no small feat, given medical expenses especially. While I may not care for how some places run the process, I can appreciate someone is there to try and do right by these animals. Help them out with money, time, boarding, or even bringing one home if that connection is made. Animals lives matter. J