Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Dog Blogging

I know, dog blogging is supposed to be on Fridays, but oh well. Sue me. ;)

Maya has requested that I write a blog telling how we got Genevieve. I have mentioned it once before, when we had dog visitors, but here's the whole story.

Back in 2002, we decided we were ready for a dog. Ted and I had both had dogs a lot as children...Ted a series of dogs, his favorite being Chamailie, and me one dog, my beloved Samantha. I had Samantha for 16 years, and when she died, it broke my heart. So I wasn't ready for a dog for quite awhile. Add to that the fact that we were renters, and moved about every two years for a long time...which makes having a dog more difficult. If you don't believe me, ask my mom, who had to find many places to rent while we owned Samantha over the years. Then Maya was an infant, and since we didn't have a dog already, it seemed an inconvenient time to bring a dog into our lives. So, finally, we reach 2002, and we decide we're ready for a dog.

Nietzsche, one of the dogs mentioned in the previous dog post, is a GREAT dog, 1/2 Australian Shepherd, 1/2 Border Collie mix. She's calm, somewhat playful, and sweet as can be. So, we thought we would check those dogs out. Ted's mom took him to a farm in the foothills of the Altamont Pass where some people were selling puppies. Ted picked out a 5 month old, and brought her home. After 2 baths, almost all of the fleas and ticks were gone. We named her Anna (for Anna Karinina). Anna was NOT used to living in a house full of people, and house rules. She was used to living in a field, sleeping in a big pile of puppies and other dogs, chasing sheep and cows around, and living on a working farm. You see where this is going, don't you? Working dog & Condo living....not such a good match. She barked at us sometimes. She pooped, always in Maya's room. She cried all night. She chewed on the furniture. We started to see that bringing her into our home was really no act of kindness, and that she would be happier in a place where she could run and play and be busy. So we took her back. The farmer said he would have no problem getting her a home, especially since she was now de-flead and oh so pretty. But boy, the shit hit the fan with Maya. She was, quite justifiably, pissed off. She read us the riot act about bringing pets into the home if we weren't going to keep them, etc. etc. etc. We got the message. Don't do this again.

So, the search for a dog who was a good fit began in earnest. We thought and thought, and we remembered VeJay, the dog that Ted's parents had before they got Nietzsche. He was a Keeshond, and the sweetest, calmest little guy you would ever care to meet. He was so cute, one of Ted's friends couldn't believe he was a real animal. :) She thought he was a toy. His story ends tragically, however, because some evil people went through the neighborhood, putting poisoned meat over the back fences, so they could come back later in the week and rob the houses. Several dogs were murdered that week, including sweet little VeJay. Luckily, the people whose dogs were killed reported it, and the police staked out the neighborhood, and caught the burglars when they came back to do their thieving.

Thinking of VeJay, and of Keeshonds, we did a bit of research. We discovered that they were bred in Holland, and mostly worked as guard dogs on the little barges that carry goods on the canals. So they're used to lying around in small places and being pretty quiet. That sounded pretty good to us and our condo living lifestyle, so we started our search.

First, I looked into the breeder where VeJay came from. They were still in business, but the puppies were about $700 each. Gulp. Think some more. Looked into the pound, but mostly pitt bulls in the pound around here, which wasn't what we were looking for. Then one happy day, I was looking online, and found the local Keeshond Rescue. So I contacted Debbie, the main Keeshond ambassador there. She didn't have any dogs available that she felt were a good match with kids at the moment, but would let us know when she did. A few weeks later, she called us. There was a keeshond/chow mix named Zerlina that she thought might be a good match. So we piled into the car and drove to see her. She was a stray, and it didn't seem like she had ever been in a home before. She was very skittish, and wanted her own space. Maya followed her from one room to another, eliciting a low, "back off" growl from Zerlina. Nope, not a good match. Zerlina would have been a good match for adults, I think, but not so much for a house with a 6 year old. So we kept looking. Then, right before Christmas, Debbie called me and said they had another dog that might work, but no 'foster home' in which to keep her. She was 1/2 Keeshond, 1/2 Shetland Sheepdog. Would we be interested in fostering her, and if it worked, adopting her? Well, one thing we DID NOT want was for Maya to fall in love with another dog, and then to get rid of it, so I said, "We'll check her out, and if we decide that she seems like a good match, we'll foster her, hopefully adopt her."
We went to Vallejo, where she was living under the pseudonym of "Sheila", and we fell in love. She had such a bright, sunny disposition, such a happy smile on her little face, such a sweet attitude, that we decided, yes, we would give it a shot. Debbie said when faced with a new dog like this, you always want to crate them. Otherwise you don't know what they'll do while you're trying to sleep. So, we bought a crate, and brought her home. She spent the first afternoon exploring and getting used to the place, and her first night in her crate, crying. (By the way, big crate and small condo, NOT a good mix) The poor thing was NOT used to having a crate. The second day, we decided to try life without a crate, and life has been good to us ever since.

Genevieve had lived in a house before, and so she was already potty trained. She didn't bark, or chew on things, no problems at all. In fact, she's the laziest dog I've ever met, except when it's time for her walk, when she gets a little bit of the demon seed in her, and runs around like she's insane or something. She's been here for 3 1/2 years now, and she is the happiest, most content, most spoiled dog you would ever wish to meet. She gets the best food we can buy, two walks a day, and love, love, love. We are truly grateful to have had her come into our lives. :) And while I'm writing this post, I turn around and see Maya and Gen, passed out asleep on the floor together. Way too cute.

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