Recently we had a conversation with Michael, reminding him that we are always here to listen if he is upset about anything. "Well, there is one thing," he said. He paused for a minute.
"What is it, Michael?" we implored.
"It's Max," he said sadly.
I wasn't surprised. He talks about Max quite often even though Max went to live with another family over a year ago. And I've known that the absence of his puppy has bothered him enough to affect how he interacts with the cat. I reprimanded him once for mistreating the cat because such behavior towards animals seems so uncharacteristic of him. I asked, "Are you mean to Cara because you're sad about Max?" He nodded. Clearly, all this time he has resented the fact that Cara seemed to replace his dog.
I regret not sticking it out with Max. He was certainly Chaos on four legs, but maybe if I had just been patient and persistent, we could have trained him to mellow a little. The fact is that it was terrible of me to take a puppy away from a boy.
With all of these conversations in mind, we told Michael that once we finished all of our traveling this summer, we would look at getting another dog. And, since we have no more trips planned for the foreseeable future, I guess we have finished all of our traveling this summer. So I decided to approach the Dog Hunt by looking for a dog who possessed two criteria: cheap (translation: free) and older so that I do not have to contend with all of the puppy stuff (translation: housetraining).
Turns out sometimes I don't always know what I'm doing. I thought I had found our dog: a 15-month-old bulldog/labrador (bullador? labdog?). Free? Check. Older? Check. The owner warned me about the strength of the pup, but I figured how strong can a dog be? Well, very strong. I could tell this pooch was a sweetie, but she was just a BIG puppy. And STRONG. And a little crazy in a sweet, puppy way. Audrey was terrified of her. So we left her there. I felt terrible because I had basically told the family we would take her sight unseen. I had basically told the kids we were going to bring our new dog home.
I learned a couple of things from that: First, of course, we really should meet the pooch before we commit. Second, a puppy actually might not be that bad because then the pup becomes more a part of our family. And third, we noticed this dog we went to pick up was shedding. A lot. Mark really cannot stand the shedding.
So naturally I began researching doods: Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. My research shows they are awesome dogs for families. And they don't shed. BUT they cost a lot more than free. After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that we aren't going to find the perfect dog for our family from Craigslist anyway, so we may as well invest a little in a new member of the family.
So I started the Puppy FUNd. And the kids stepped right up. Alex searched the house for all the loose change she could scrounge up. Yes, she even checked under all of the couch cushions. We had a great time feeding all of the change into the Coinstar machine at the grocery store this morning. I canceled the maid service that was supposed to come on Friday after a promise from the kids that they would help do the work the maid was going to do. They vacuumed and dusted well enough to make me add the maid's money to the jar.
We still hadn't found a potential pup when I started the fund, but now I think I have. We have an appointment on Friday to check out the litter of 3-week-old pups from which I hope we will select our new little girl. Since they are only 3 weeks old, we will not be able to bring her home yet, but we will get to choose her. I have a feeling she will be one of the two little chocolate babies on the left on top of the little black one.