Whole Dog Journal's Blog December 16, 2013

Puppy in the house!

Posted at 03:11PM - Comments: (8)

My son, a senior in college, has been counting the days until he can have a dog of his own. For like, the past seven years.

You see, he’s one of those children of divorce, so he split his time between mom’s house and dad’s house – and when he was in high school, he said he didn’t want to make a dog move back and forth, or stay with one parent without him every other week. (There’s a little shot of guilt for ya, mom and dad!) And then in college, he lived in the dorms for a year, and then in apartments that didn’t allow dogs for the next two years. This year, he rented a house that does allow dogs, but he went abroad for school for the first quarter (someone else is living in his room in the house until he gets back).

All fall, from Barcelona, he’s been looking at dogs and puppies on the website for my local shelter, and occasionally asking if I would go meet one dog or another and report back to him on its potential as the perfect dog for him. Well, a month before it was really perfectly convenient, he spotted quite the candidate: a four-month-old pup from an American Black and Tan coonhound mom, and with what must be a Labrador dad. He looks like a slightly lankier black Lab, with longer, silkier ears. And the most devastatingly gorgeous eyes.

Yes, I went down to meet the puppy, and I brought the puppy home. And the puppy is not going back to the shelter – even if Otto and Tito would strongly prefer this to occur. He is nearly perfect: interested and curious, friendly and brave, but not hyper or witless. He’s very quickly learning dog manners from my dogs and my friends dogs, the ones I walk with weekly; all the dogs are friendly but firm. They let him know, gently but firmly, when he’s being rude or even just a bit less than perfectly respectful.  And he’s learning to sleep in a crate, to potty on cue, to walk politely on a leash, to stick with me off-leash, to come when called, to “drop it” in trade for something nice (about 20 times a day), and so on.

I have to say, after fostering so many adolescent and untrained adult dogs, working with the clean slate of a smart, sensitive, confident puppy is an absolute joy. And it’s going to be a even bigger joy, just after the start of the new year, to hand over a well-started puppy to my smart, dog-savvy, responsible boy, who has waited so long in order to do everything just right for his perfect dog.

Comments (8)

What a wonderful, heartwarming and responsible story.
Margaret M., why be such a total DebbieDowner?

Posted by: karen d | December 17, 2013 7:28 PM    Report this comment

What a great story and what a lucky puppy! I agree double wow.

Posted by: Olivia | December 17, 2013 5:40 PM    Report this comment

I also could not wait till the time i could have a dog of my own. I did as soon as i moved out of my parent's house!!
As to boyfriends or girlfriends, if they did not like my dog, well either i did not take them any more seriously than just a good friend. My dog came first!! I think when you must wait for things, you truly appreciate them and just deal with obstacles that come up to make their(dogs) life best it can be!!
My only past regret is my 1st dog was exceptionally special! If only i realized she easily could have won all major dog trial competitions as well as obedience trials. She did it all without me knowing more than a lifetime of caring for dogs and training neighbors plus friend's dogs. I was only 19 and she meant the world to me!!
I still am grateful to the fireman in San Ramon, Ca who let me have her for only $40 as it was all extra money i had in mid 1970's! She picked me at his house and the little over hour drive back to Napa she settled in on my lap as if she been with me all my life.
That dog found my husband to be, helped me lose my brother and be diagnosed with life long chronic disease and all time she was there for me! Even when she got bone cancer, we came home and surprised her, she was still asleep deeply...we finally saw how poorly she really was...as soon as she woke up that dog did all she could to pull herself back together.
She could climb trees, sat on fence like a cat, swim to deep end of pools and fetch faster than any other dog in water!! or on land! All my guy hunting friends begged me to let her go with them as she was best hunter they ever seen...some 30 yrs later they still say this about her!!
People would stop and say what a beautiful dog she was...just a blk lab female about 50 lbs!! But she sure had presence like Secretariat or Seattle slew and more!! I still miss her as i miss all the dogs i have had since her...lost my 1st boy dog a year ago, queensland and he just was so loyal and loving.
Dogs should live longer! I think it is great her son finally has dog!
He has waited long enough!!

Posted by: atticus | December 17, 2013 1:13 PM    Report this comment

First, what a wonderful surprise for your son as a graduation gift it's perfect. Second comment is for Margret, what an irresponsible comment to bring up your motherly burdens. Yes I agree that it will be a change for the puppy but he's a puppy, a smart puppy to a smart, responsible son. It will be a successful and long relationship for years to come. Now the burden you have is that you raised a irresponsible daughter who got a pet on a whim before she had a place of her own. I am sure she knew that cats live a long time and as it turned at least 15 years. Now to you, who cared for this cat was it a loving relationship or did the cat "just lived" with you without affection? Did you give a thought to why it took 14 years for your daughter to pick up her cat? How she was going to take care of the cat? At least this mother knew that if her son could not care for the dog she would keep or fine a loving home for the dog but as she said he would not go back to the shelter. My hat off to the author for being a wonderful Mom & to her son who will be a responsible pet owner and if by chance he is not responsible he has his Mon to answer to and I ask sure he would not like that.

Posted by: Unknown | December 17, 2013 12:52 PM    Report this comment

What a great puppy and what a lucky find! Hope to do as well with our next one.

Posted by: MARTHA S | December 17, 2013 12:30 PM    Report this comment

I would assume that sometime soon after your son graduates from college, he will be getting a job and have to leave the dog at home during his working hours. That will be quite a change for the puppy, who is now used to Otto and Tito and being taken on frequent walks/hikes, etc. And perhaps your son will meet the girl of his dreams...who has cat(s) and doesn't like dogs. So perhaps you will end up being a three-dog family, Otto, Tito, and Puppy. Good luck!.

P.S. I wish I could have a third dog but I am restricted to two dogs by the rules of where I live.

P.P.S. My daughter adopted a cat during the year she lived with me, but could not take the cat with her when she moved out -- no pets allowed by her landlord. I "boarded" the cat for 14 years. Finally, my daughter found a place she liked that allowed the cat, so the cat is back with my daughter at last.

Posted by: margeam | December 17, 2013 11:59 AM    Report this comment

Wow! What a great mom you are to train and socialize this puppy to give to your son! Double wow!! Nancy, hats off to you!

Posted by: Ellen S | December 17, 2013 10:16 AM    Report this comment

Great story! Who's the author?

Posted by: wowhavs | December 17, 2013 10:11 AM    Report this comment

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