Puppy: T – 3 days

To follow up on this post (which for obvious reasons is, to date, our largest hit generator), and to explain why posting has been so light in the last few days, I thought I would ruminate a bit on our reasons for getting a puppy.  The ins and outs, as I think them through, are actually a lot less straightforward than a simple, “We want dog; therefore, we get dog,” line of reasoning.  That’s a good thing, I think, because it confirms for me that we’ve put a whole lot of thought into this puppy and what she means for us; and, conversely, what we need to mean for her.

Thomas and I made the long drive to the Salmon Arm area on Sunday to spend some time with our puppy and her litter and to solidify for everyone involved that she is the puppy for us.  And is she ever!  Our breeder, with the practiced eye of long experience, had listened to our requirements (smaller dog, smart, energetic, but laid back) and put forward our puppy – the smallest in the litter – as a likely candidate before she was 4 weeks old.  From her description, we were pretty confident, but it was worth the long trek to make sure that we would be able to provide this particular dog with the home she would need.

I think I was in love with her in the first two minutes.  It’s hardly difficult, of course, to fall in love with a puppy, especially a Golden Retriever, so until you see her for yourself (we have a video feature idea in the works) you will just have to take my word for it – she is extra adorable.  She bounds in little puppy bounds instead of running, her tail never stops moving even when the rest of her does (so long, coffee table drinks!), and she has that crucial combination of attentiveness and independence that is going to make her an amazing dog when she grows up.  As we sat on the floor and watched her (and two of her larger sisters, who were our alternate “picks”), she played and explored unconcerned, using our laps as islands of touch and reassurance, coming to see us when she was enticed, but clearly demonstrating that she could figure things out for herself.  She is such a little personality, and I’m completely head over heels.  Right now, it’s three days until Christmas, and I’m six years old.

When we moved in February, one of the main incentives was our plan to get a dog.  Our apartment, picked with this in mind, is within walking distance to a vet, a pet supply store, and an off-leash dog park.  As soon as we moved in, we started looking for a puppy.  About 4 weeks ago we found this litter of Golden Retriever puppies on Kijiji.

I would be lying if I said wanting a puppy has nothing to do with satisfying a mothering instinct on my part.  However, a greater reason, I think, has to do with adulthood and permanence.
When we initially moved to Vancouver, I told Thomas that when our lease was up in November, 2007, I wanted to move to a place where we could have a dog.  Over the course of those months though, it seemed increasingly clear to us that we did not want to stay in Vancouver.  Instead of making plans to expand our life in Vancouver, we instead started endlessly talking about when we could leave it, and move back to Ontario.  Plans to get a dog got pushed into the “when we move back and buy a house” category.

Eventually, however, as Thomas’s work circumstances kept pushing our departure date further and further away, this line of thinking began to wear.  We started to see ourselves being “stuck” in Vancouver, a place where, admittedly an underlying theme in our life has been our isolation from the people we know and love.  It wasn’t a particularly healthy mindset for either of us.
Finally, last November, we decided to change it – to stop living like we were always just waiting to “go home” and start acting like we are home… at least for now.

Because we realize we have little control over how long Thomas’s work will keep us out here, we decided to change our lifestyle to one which is more permanent.  We moved into a bigger apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a washing machine/dryer; and Thomas relented on getting a dog (and then he relented on getting a Golden Retriever).

I think this transition marks the last step in our move from student-style living to “big people” living.  That will maybe make you laugh, considering that we’re also recently married, and I certainly don’t mean to give the impression, when I talk about permanence, that it is not something inherent to our marriage as well – Thomas and I were a thing of permanence well before we ever talked about getting married.  To us though, being married has had less effect on our lifestyle than the “big person” amenities that this apartment represents, and that is the sort of “permanence” I’m referring to here.

My mother likes to say (and I like to quote her) that you’re not a grown up until you have dry cleaning.  Since I’ve been thoroughly trained all my life by her not to ever buy anything that is dry-clean only, I can’t very well use that as a measure of maturity.  I guess I will have to make my saying that you’re not a grown up until you have your own washer/dryer (soon, I promise, I’ll stop name-dropping my washer/dryer).  And sharing one with room-mates you aren’t also romantically involved with doesn’t count.

Finally, getting a dog – something that ties you to another living thing’s needs and routines, and to a location to a certain degree – is another step towards permanence and adult responsibilities (and one which is so much bigger and better than our ability to do laundry in our home, although arguably, it is also a step which is dependent on that ability…).

Thomas and I have never found it hard to fill our life with things to do; we are master creators of projects, activities, and ideas.  The question lately for us has been how to better fulfill our life so that we cease to feel like we’re living it out in a waiting room.

In three days, we bring home a new dimension.

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  1. By brett on July 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

    fuming@indispensible.outing” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…

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