He is our new dog.
Now for you loyal readers, don't panic, my dear old dog Charlie is still kicking.
In fact, we decided it was time to adopt a dog because over the past few months Charlie has started to slow down even more and Dixie, our Golden Retriever/Australian Shepherd mix was getting antsy. She and Charlie had always been able to play together but Charlie tends to sleep 22 1/2 hours a day and she looked very sad.
And my husband has been complaining about getting a lab since I've known him.
My husband was a puppy-from-a-breeder-kind of guy. It took me the past 2 years to convince him that rescue was the way to go. I explained how they get to know the dog and they are very particular about placing dogs in the right home. I showed him pictures from my friend Hadar's rescue group in Texas. Our homeopathic vet (feel free to mock, she's why Charlie is still here) even said you can absolutely teach an old dog new tricks. She had trained a few dogs as drug dogs that were from pounds.
And then, of course, I snapped one night and said:
"THERE IS NO WAY WE ARE GETTING A PUPPY. EVER. I CAN'T HANDLE THE CHEWING AND THE HOUSEBREAKING. AND 20,000 DOGS ARE PUT DOWN IN CLARK COUNTY EVERY YEAR- HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU BUY A DOG??"
I think it was during my special time.
My husband, frightened, started to peruse the Las Vegas Labrador Rescue ads. We were hesitant because of Charlie about getting a new, high energy dog. But Dixie really needed a play mate and my husband really needed a lab. We called on one, explained our elderly dog situation and the head of the program said the dog we saw probably wasn't a good fit.
Then there was Oliver.
10 months old.
His foster parents were great. We all think he must have been left alone- he was scared of the dark. Kinda shy.
The second Oliver came into our home, we knew he was our dog. He and Dixie became best friends instantly.
It's been a month and they still have not stopped playing.
I mean it. It's like having 2 teenage boys.
He is great with Charlie. They both will let Charlie bark and be part of whatever they are doing during the 90 minutes that he's awake. We've even caught Oliver curled up next to Charlie- his head next to his.
When my husband first saw Oliver, I swear little hearts radiated from his eyes. He had found his dog.
Of course, Oliver is completely unaware that he's huge. He thinks he's a tiny puppy. It took him awhile to learn that he could not sleep with us. The other night he fell off the ottoman where he normally sleeps because he outgrew it. At 3 am I heard a thud and there he was, on the floor, still asleep. Total goofball.
He's chewed a few things, but nothing like a little puppy. He had 2 accidents and that was it. No housebreaking needed. He's started to dig a little bit. We're working on the barking.
I think he can tell time. At 6:01 if I'm not already awake, I receive a big lick across my face.
He does what we've come to call "drive by licks"- if you're just sitting there, he comes up, licks you just to say "What's up?"
He is a complete food whore. It took us 2 days to get him to go into the crate-- because there was a biscuit. Now he and Dixie race to see who gets in first.
I swear, I have never seen 2 dogs get along better. They are best friends. They are both submissive, so if you yell, they both roll over on their bellies. It's hilarious.
|Best friends. And Shane's foot.|
I can't imagine a better addition to our family. Things were going along far too smoothly-- we needed to add in a big, giant, going to be 90 pound dog to the mix. It's added an extra element to our morning routine. Breakfast, pack lunches, give Charlie his meds, check back packs, wrangle dogs. Fun.
My husband has even started training him to retrieve. And guess what-- it's working. He's finally got his duck dog. Probably.
It's been a little crazy. Oliver is big and I'm not used to it. Plus, with his black coat, he's virtually invisible at night-- I've tripped more than once. And did I mention that they never stop playing? I'm not kidding....
But honestly, if you ever are hesitant to adopt a rescue dog because you think they are used goods to be discarded, think again. Most of these dogs simply had bad owners or had owners that just couldn't take care of them properly. Rescue groups are great ways to adopt. The foster parents get to know the dogs and want to make sure you're the right owner for that dog. My advice would be to take it slowly-- don't just get a dog- get the right dog. Not every dog is the right dog for every family. We needed a mellow guy. I looked at quite a few dogs before we got Dixie. Oliver was the right choice for us.
He agrees. He just licked the screen.
So before you buy a puppy from a breeder or a pet store, browse your local shelter and rescue groups at petfinder.com There are some great dogs out there- already trained and very happy to have a good home!