Our growing family!

Friday, October 29, 2010

So, we've talked about it, weighed the pros and cons, debated about whether we're ready, and figured that we'll never be 100% ready - it's a "figure it out as you go" thing. We've considered our work schedules, our neighbourhood, our finances, the way our house is set up...pretty much every factor that would impact our decision to add to our little family.

And I'm excited to announce that it won't just be Peter and me for much longer!

We're starting to look for a dog!

(Did you think it was a baby? A HUMAN baby?? Fools.)

Growing up, Pete and I both lived in homes with dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, quiet dogs, loud dogs. We've both always wanted a dog, but it's hard to find an apartment that will let you have a dog. And when you do, it's located on the 15th floor of a building - not exactly prime for puppy training.

But now that we're getting settled into the house (which, conveniently, has a fenced-in backyard and is close to several grassy areas perfect for running around) and we don't have any big trips planned, we're starting to keep our eyes open for dogs that might like us as parents. Our criteria is pretty open: we want a dog that's not huge but not tiny (30-50 pounds is perfect), good-natured and friendly, easy to train, and doesn't look like it could double as a curly floor mop.

Boy or girl? Doesn't matter. We don't care about it being a purebred or CKC registered or a descendant of champions. We're just looking for a healthy, happy, relatively smart and trainable pet to keep us company. In fact, we aren't sure if a puppy or a slightly older rescue dog is the best bet. There are pros and cons of each: puppies are soooooo cute, in that rolly-polly-fluffy way, but they're so much work to train (unless you luck out with a pup like my parents' dog which was house trained in one weekend, not kidding.) Slightly older dogs have the basic skills down pat but could come with a host of other issues, and you miss out on that awwww, widdle baby phase.

So I think we're going to take our time and not rush things too much. Do our homework and do our best to ensure we are picking the very best puppy (or dog) to suit all of us.

Dog owners: what were your experiences choosing a dog, training a puppy, and so on? Advice? Suggestions? Dos and don'ts?

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  1. Hahaha "a HUMAN?" :D

    I'm excited for you guys! I have never had dogs so I'm afraid I don't have any tips... just make sure you train him to stick his head out of the car window when you're driving, and take a photo of him. That never fails to make my day :)

  2. Oh yeah - I smile every time I see that happening too :)

  3. Woo hoo! Congrats! I'm always a fan of the rescue route - and there are actually plenty of rescue puppies (and kittens for that matter) available, that's just a myth! Go for it!

  4. OK, I could go on for hours on this subject but will try to keep it short. My husband and I got an 8 wk old lab puppy last summer. It was love at first sight, but - not gonna lie - the first few months are a lot of work. You definitely have to have a way to check in them every 2-3 hours (either have flexibility with your schedule or pay someone else to do it). Their bladders aren't fully developed and can't handle a work day alone until about 6 months. Perhaps if that seems impossible, you could get a dog over 6 months or a year. Training is a matter of training yourself more than the dog. Totally doable. We love our puppy more than anything -- but am glad that she is older!

  5. Well, I totally recommend checking out the Metro SPCA. And of course, www.petfinder.com. That's how we adopted our rescue and it has been an amazing experience.

    She was under a year old when we brought her home. So still young enough to be all crazy cute puppy but old enough to sleep through the night without having to pee.

    The people at the Metro Shelter in Dartmouth are incredibly nice. We got ourselves pre-approved to adopt and then waited until the right dog came along. It was a lot of fun just taking different dogs out to play.

    Just my recommendation. Rescue dogs rock.

    Congratulations and good luck!

  6. It's official. I will never be able to visit you now, seeing as I am very very allergic to animals. :)

    I absolutely support animal rescue, however!

  7. Oh and I also support watching "At the end of my leash" so you don't become a bad dog owner.

  8. Yay for puppies! Maxwell is the best thing that could have happened to us.

  9. Here in the US we have www.petfinder.com -- not sure if it works for you guys too. I'm sure you have something like that. We got our dog Lucy from them. We adopted her Jan 23rd from AK (we're in CT) and she was put on a truck and shipped to us that Saturday. She's a lab/husky mix and was a teeny 11lbs when we get her. The most loving white furball you could imagine. Like your parents' pup, we had her trained in a weekend too as well as sitting, giving paw, and laying down. She's basically a genius. She grew bigger than we thought (62+ pounds) but she's great. They always say adopted dogs/cats seem to love you a little more because you saved them. =) She was 2 weeks with a litter of 9 when a hiker found her in the woods. Some one dumped our baby. I keep in touch with her foster Mom and ALL 9 dogs are complete loves. =)

    Congrats on this BIG decision! She's changed our lives A LOT but it's worth it!

  10. Thanks everybody for your comments / input - it's all helpful :)