Saturday, November 15, 2008

To PUPPY or NOT TO PUPPY???

OK. Today, I am reaching out to my readers. Not that there are many of them, but we could actually double the votes available in our household with this. So I'm going for it.
Bichon Frise or NO PUPPY???
Situation:
Blended family. My two girls are 6 and almost 9. My step-sons who are with us almost half the time are 5 and 8. I think "puppy" was the first word out of their mouths when each of them were under a year old.
Task:
Convince my husband and I that this is a smart decision. We realize the unconditional love and joy puppies can bring to a house hold. We also realize the poop and pee accidents, the yapping in the middle of the night that occurs while crate training, and the fights we will probably have around responsibilities for the dog, which will most likely all fall on us.

Here are the FACTS:

Our current visitation schedule with all the kids allows for us to have every other weekend alone.
And in our house, with four kids ranging from Kindergarten through third grade, this is our survival mechanism built into our marriage. If a puppy wins out, we would actually have to "plan" spontaneous decisions to travel on these weekends, or question the ability to head out of town for a night just to get away. However, the sound of having a little tiny dog to cuddle up with on the couch and watch a movie instead of heading out might just be enough to persuade us to stay home.

My husband and I up to a week ago have always been on the same page: "We are not dog people."
However, I had a dog for years in college and beyond until she got sick. I really did love her and miss her dearly, even though it's been 15 years since she's been gone.

My brother just got a Bichon.
He sent pics. My husband secretly researched them online (I was familiar with the breed but he was not) and suddenly 2 days ago started initiating conversations to me about them, and pictures he'd found online, and how damn cute they actually were, and... need I go on???

The conversation to the kids went like this:
If we were ever to consider a puppy at this time, we would have to give up our Disney trip in April that we've been trying to plan for the past month or so and wait at least another year for it. We had a family meeting, and posed to the four kids that this is a democracy - they get to deliberate together and propose a plan to us; a plan of responsibilities needed in order for Mark and I to believe they were serious about taking care of a "puppy". It needed to be fair and it needed to show us that they were serious about the decision. Then, after their "presentation" over dinner, we would deliberate and take some time to come to a decision.

Their verbal "presentation" turned into a formal play in the basement. Check this out:




They were all hiding behind the louver doors, scripts in hand, and formally recited "why" they wanted a puppy, along with a list of 20 responsibilities they would own. They also gave US responsibilities to be fair (we have to feed the dog since they don't know how much food it needs).

They also together revealed our fantasy puppy's name which would be Diamond [nickname Dime] if it was a boy, and Isabella [nickname Bella] for a girl. They even closed the sale and asked for the business. Damn, they were good.

So now we are in the midst of deliberation. (If a breeder came to our door right now with a Bichon in hand, it would be engulfed within seconds.) I said yesterday to my husband that I feel like this is our way of having our own "child" together since such thought and consideration is taking place on this joint decision - talk about responsibilities, and more talk around possible names and why we can't call her "Grace" or "Jake" because it reminds one of us of someone we went to school with or dated in the past.

And since breeders do not just end up on doorsteps, we will fight the urge to contact the local breeders we've found through good friends who have years of experience with Bichons. We will instead continue to torture ourselves with puppy stalking fantasies we now see and hear everywhere, until we can believe we are the point of making a rational decision.

SO PLEASE let me hear your thoughts... either support the animal bonding, or tell us we're fucking crazy. Your vote counts in this household! And by the way, you can always throw in a name suggestion... just in case.

Puppy? Or No Puppy?

6 comments:

Dorsey said...

It sounds like you have already made up your mind. Remember that it WILL be like having another kid, although luckily these kind of kids can crap outside and no one looks at your funny when they do. HA!

I'm all for the puppy. We have two chihuahuas. Their names are Daisy Mae and Sparc-E (pronounced Sparky..its a computer geek thing) and they ARE fun to cuddle with on the couch.

And btw, I have a cousin who is actually named Justin Case...NO KIDDING!!!

Anonymous said...

Ohhh...that is a tough one!! I keep going back and forth. The kids will fight over the puppy in the beginning, they will each love and take care of it and then the novelty will wear off and in the end you and Mark will be the ones totally responsible for Bella or Dime! So if you want to take care of a puppy, go for it! Oh yeah, and MJ votes "yes"!!

Love, Nad

Love, Nad

CeeCee said...

I think you guys have already made the decision in your hearts - you just don't want to admit it yet! lol I'd say go for it. And if you're worried about being able to go away, check out the local kennels and choose one that fits you. It is an added expense, but it also allows you freedom and the knowledge of knowing your pup is in good hands while you're gone.

Katie said...

PUP-PY! PUP-PY! PUP-PY!

A while back, Dooce wrote a post about a friend getting a puppy and asked her readers for name suggestions. You could probably find 40,000 puppy names there.

Don't ask me for names because I have considered all of your dog names for my children. Uh, except Dime. I have a daughter named Sayde (which is pronounced Sadie) and I can't even count how many times...hey, how about Sadie?

libby said...

I do love the "show" those kids put on for you. It speaks for their future negotiating skills. And puppies are very cute. But having lived through 4 of them in the past few years - I have to say that you will be ingratiated with the likes of a newborn in your home for the next few months. And if it's not something your heart is into, the phrase "damn dog" will become part of your vocabulary on a daily basis. Especially through that lovely "chewing" stage.

(Just remember the pillows, the carpet and the TV stand...)

Wendyburd1 said...

They are willing to give up DISNEY for a year, that says a lot!!

I LOVE my dog and he cuddles against me all night while I watch TV. Dogs show so much love. But get your dog in training classes. Max is so spoiled he bears his fangs when he doesn't want to go out to pee or when he is biting himself and we try and stop him. Bad habits and it is OUR fault we didn't train him.

But he is a cuddler and gives kisses like crazy...and is a really good boy. The first night we had him, and he was only 12 weeks old, peed on the pee pad the first TIME!!