We Need A Dog
Having pets as a child taught me how to care for another living thing, taught me to love and what being loved by someone other than a parent felt. Dogs are intuitive, they know when you need extra love and are loyal, they sense your emotions. Once my kids were out of diapers, we had a yard and our own home, I told my husband that we needed a dog. He had never had a dog, so he didn’t really get the need or want behind my request. On New Year’s Eve in front of our close friends, over a glass or four of champagne, we made a deal and shook on it, he could get the car he wanted and I could get a dog. My kids were not really fond of dogs, they had been around them, but were timid and not sure, so I had to convince them too. I had never not had a pet growing up, so I knew how important it is and how a pet would complete our family.
Finding The Perfect Match
Deciding to get a dog isn’t as easy as it sounds. We had to decide if we wanted a puppy or if we wanted to rescue and create an idea of how owning a dog would affect our lifestyle and budget. My husband and I sat down to figure out the financial impacts of owning a dog and decided we would be able to add a furry family member. Next, I started looking at puppies and quickly decided that with two small kids, ages 3 and 6, I wasn’t ready to have another baby creature to clean up after or baby proof for. We logged onto Oregon Weimaraner Rescue and began our application and matching process.
Once we found a dog that matched with us, a volunteer with the rescue came over to do a home inspection. The particular volunteer was a Weimaraner breeder and trained them for field trial, so she brought one of her dogs to give us a size reference, he lifted his leg on my couch immediately, and she said my response of laughing and shrugging it off was perfect. We passed our home inspection and got the approval to adopt Beau, as long as the meeting went well. Beau was a 2-year-old Weimaraner, who was recently purchased off Craigslist by his current owners just a few months prior, but they said he was “too much to handle.” Recently he had run out of the yard and a had been hit by a truck, surviving the hit with a broken leg. We walked in and he was full of energy, barking, thumping his cast all over the place, my 3-year-old clung to me and the volunteer gave me the “are you sure?” look. We knew Beau was meant to be ours. We walked out to the car with his blanket and his bed, called him up into the backseat, and he jumped and didn’t look back. He knew he was with his forever family. Beau’s leg healed without long term effects and he donned a new name, Henry.
Rescuing Isn’t Easy
Henry was on his third family in 2 years. We knew nothing of the first family or why he was sold. We knew the second family gave him up because he was an average two-year-old Weimaraner and they hadn’t been prepared for that. We vowed to keep him and love him forever like he deserved. Henry is a great dog, but he has his issues, as most rescues do. While we can give him unconditional love and offer a safe, secure home for him, whatever happened to him before can’t be erased. The first couple months of owning him, we learned he has leash aggression, has a strong prey drive, is extremely protective of his home, and is a counter surfer. With patience and a dog trainer, and by learning his cues, what he reacts to, and how to re-direct him, we were able to make a safe environment for him and others.
Are you ready for a commitment?
I cringe when I see a post asking for recommendations on breeders and families wanting to get their kids a pet as a gift. They are a gift, but a gift that you are committing to for the next 10-15 years. A gift that will get sick, a gift that requires time and love, a gift that, let’s be honest, YOU will be providing the majority of the care for.
If you’re thinking of adding a rescue pet or any pet to your home, there are questions to ask yourself. Do you have time to care for another living creature? What will you do with the pet when you go on vacation? What lifestyle will your pet have (no one wants to be alone for 12+ hours a day)? What about changes in your life (marriage, babies, moving, divorce)? Unfortunately, the reason many pets end up in rescues is linked to these questions above. Puppies are cute, but I will be the first to admit that having a puppy was harder than a newborn. So maybe your family isn’t ready for a full-time pet; check with rescues and shelters and volunteer some time with animals living there. They all need attention, to be walked, played with, and exposed to kids and adults. Some shelters are even offering programs for families to host a pet in their homes for the holidays when shelter workers are off and the shelter is closed.
Henry has brought years of joy to our home and we are so glad that our paths crossed when they did. He has helped to teach my kids compassion for other living things, created a love for dogs that my husband never knew he was missing (which is part of why we have added two more Weimaraners in our pack), and is just 90 pounds of love that our family needed in our lives.