Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Addition to Our Family...

For as long as I can remember, the kids have bugged the pieces out of us about getting a dog. But we knew better. Oh, yes we did. We knew how much work dogs require. Having a dog is a lot more work than, say, having a cat.

Cats are easy. They require very little effort to sustain their life. A little food, a little water, the occasional scooping of the litter box, etc. Other than that, a cat will pretty much live its own life and leave you alone. Not so with a dog.

Dogs, unlike cats, are not born already knowing where to go to the bathroom. Dogs think everything is their bathroom. You have to train them to go outside to potty, train them not to chew on your belongings, take them for walks, etc. Dogs are a big responsibility.

So, it is for this reason that we have been continuously denying the children's request to get a puppy... until now.

A couple of months ago, Jay made them a promise that if they showed great maturity and behaved responsibly when doing their daily chores, we would get them a dog as soon as he got a job to afford one.

You better believe that the very day we found out that Jay got a job, the children were jumping up and down squealing with delight because they could "finally" get a dog.

We did a lot of research first, to make sure we would get the type of dog that would fit our family the best. After discovering that the "perfect" dog for our family (according to the online dog-analysis), would cost us $600, we tried to find a used, but cute and lovable "close second" at the local SPCA.

But, instead of finding cute and lovable, we found loud, angry, mean, and not-so-lovable. (we even saw a 3-legged one, which really creeped the kids out). It didn't take much longer for us to realize that we were not going to find our new furry friend there!

After searching high and low in newspapers, pet stores, etc., we finally found a website with lots of free and inexpensive dogs for sale. (http://www.craigslist.com/). We went to visit several puppies, but we just weren't able to find any that we absolutely fell in love with... until now.

Meet "Miley"...

"Miley" is a 7 week old Beagle puppy, and she is the sweetest little thing. She has already made herself quite at home here with us.

R acts like the puppy is her own child, carrying her around everywhere, and Miley just lets her. She likes to curl up in a little ball in her lap.

Now, I know most of you are assuming that we named her Miley because of R's love for a certain TV personality with the same name, but you would be wrong. We named her Miley because she has a marking on her back that looks like a smiley face. I've included a pic, so hopefully you are able to see it...
We thought it was cute, and the name seems to fit her well.

The kids love her very much and so far have done exceptionally well in dealing with the challenges of raising a puppy. They help with potty training, cleaning up the messes, etc. Last night, Miley was up all night yelping and howling because she was in her crate and was lonely. I had no idea, but R got out of bed and stayed next to Miley and calmed her down all night long, eventually crashing on the couch in between Miley's wake times. The poor girl was so exhausted the next morning, she could barely walk in a straight line! But she never complained about it one bit. She said she enjoyed helping Miley feel better.

The other kids love the puppy too...

Even Kiki the Cat seems to have bonded with little Miley.

All in all, we think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! :o)


Okay, so when I wrote the above post, I didn't realize I would have to be making this correction, but... there's more to the story of how we got Miley that I failed to mention earlier. Let me backtrack a little...

After searching for a dog, we found a woman an hour away who was giving a dog away "free to a good home". We immediately called her about it (dogs are very seldom "free" anymore). She informed us that the dog was a 5 year old cocker spaniel.

OK, so far so good. Cocker Spaniels tend to be good dogs, and Jay used to have one as a child and has many fond memories of her. Sounds great. A nice, sweet, normal, already house-trained, lovable older dog to join our family, right? Nay, Nay!

He is not a normal 5 year old cocker spaniel. He is a very special 5 yr old cocker spaniel. He is THE "Plains Sly Rambo", THE double registered AKC/CKC, 5th generation pedigree, purebred, championship bloodline, very rare American Cocker Spaniel. (if you have a squinty, confused look on your face and all you can do is blink, you pretty much know how we reacted, too).

We are not crazy dog loving people. We like dogs, like most people do. But we understand the difference between a dog and a human. The only experience we have with people who go over the top with their dogs is on TV. I mean, we watch the Dog Show every year (well, at least part of it). But we have never experienced craziness like this first hand.

The woman who was giving him away told us very soberly how serious this poor dog's situation was when she got him. Apparently, poor "Rambo" has such a desirable bloodline, that he was used as purely a "stud" dog his entire life. Now, when Jay heard this, he had to laugh. I mean, it sounded like a pretty sweet deal, right? Sit around all day and be presented to very eager and willing ladies to.... um... ya know. Doesn't sound all that bad, right?

But, unfortunately, the first couple of people who owned Rambo let greed get in the way of their proper treatment of animals. Rambo was kept in a 4x4 cage most of his life, never being allowed to get out and exercise, or just run around and play. He was beaten into submission by his owners. The woman who was giving him away told us that she rescued him a little over a year ago from a puppy mill, and that he had made a lot of progress into becoming more of a "normal" dog. But he still had a long way to go and needed a family who would love him and be patient with him as he tried to learn how to trust again.

Well, the moment we laid eyes on this dog, we fell in love with him. He was beautiful. He was chocolate brown all over his whole body, curly hair on his ears, short hair everywhere else, and smaller than most cocker spaniels (hence, the emphasis on American cocker spaniel). We thought he would be the perfect addition to our family.

He was very skittish and shy from so many years of being mistreated, but he was exceptionally well behaved with the children, and we never heard a noise out of him. We allowed him to "hide" in the house until he could grow accustomed to our noises and smells, etc. A day and a half later, we sent him outside to go potty, not knowing that the lawn guys had just arrived to mow the lawn. They left the gate open, and out went Rambo. He disappeared completely. It reminded me of that movie where Chevy Chase first gets a dog and the minute he takes the dog off its leash, it starts to run... and then keeps running and never comes back.

We drove all over the neighborhood looking for Rambo, and called all of the animal shelters in the area to see if anyone had spotted our pooch. There was no sign of him anywhere.

After another couple of days, the kids were very sad that their dog had disappeared, so we went back online to search for more dogs to love. That is when we found Miley and adopted her. And you know the rest of the story. And so did we....


We went to Tampa yesterday because MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) was free for homeschoolers (one of the wonderful perks of homeschooling!). It has got to be one of the best museums I have ever seen. We could not get it all done in one day! But we still had a lot of fun. Anyway, we got home and went to check on Miley, who spent the day out on our screened in lanai.

Once we got out there, who do we see? Rambo! Sitting on the other side of the screen door staring at us like, "well, are you gonna let me in or what?" We opened the door, he came in, went to the food dish, scarfed it up like he had never eaten in his life, and then let himself back into the house, and laid down behind my recliner and fell asleep (for several hours!).

I don't know what to do now. Jay and I did not want TWO dogs. We were kind of unsure about having ONE dog. This is going to be bad, I just know it!

Jay and I don't know if we can handle more than one dog. You will have to just stay tuned to see what will happen next!


Misty Burns said...

awe..that is so sweet. two dogs to love. hahahaha. this kind of stuff only happens to YOU guys.!!! hahaha.good luck.

Bronie said...

just one thing...if you want it to NOT be more than two dogs, you better get studmuffin and miley, um, you know, fixed.