Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On the Second Day of Christmas... true love gave to me, two dueling dog lovers,

and my health and some sanity.

Yes, you've guessed it, I am going to perform my very own 12 days of Christmas according to what is going on in our family. Today's theme is: DOG!

Until last Christmas, we had a family dog. A 200 pound, stinky, drooly and loveable Mastiff named Pumbaa, to be exact. He died just after Christmas last year of old age and Jay was devastated. We were all sad, but he was really Jay's dog, and so he missed him the most.

In the year since Pumbaa's death there has been some discussion of getting another dog, but I have put it off since having a dog simply adds to the mess and chaos in the house, and I have been enjoying the reprieve. No more fur on the floor, no more shaken drool splotches on the walls means that, especially since we moved into our brand new house in February, I have not been anxious to rectify this dog absence. However, I am slowly losing the battle. The cries are becoming louder and more frequent, and my peace is about to come to an end. It's not a question of if but when and, more relevent to this week, how.

You see, Joey asked Santa for a dog for Christmas. I always advise the children to ask for three things to give Santa some alternatives in case he cannot provide their first choice. Up until now, this has worked like a charm. But this time, my oh-so-clever son decided to stress test the system and ask for a yellow lab, a chocolate lab and a golden retriever for his three things. What is Santa to do? Especially when this is probably the last year of Santa magic for this particular child and this mother knows that she is losing the dog battle anyway? I was ready to give in to my boy who really, really wants a dog to pal around with and play fetch with during his rather lonesome homeschooling breaks while the other children are at school.

But, alas, nothing is ever simple. Jay joins Joey in this overwhelming desire for a dog. But he wants another Mastiff, and for very good reasons. Mastiffs fit our family very well. They are slow moving, not too active, and not destructive. They are patient with children and don't jump up (after a little training, of course). Pumbaa was a fantastic dog that gave us very little trouble and Jay is convinced another Mastiff is best for the family. But there is one big problem: Mastiffs don't play much fetch and for Joey, this is a fatal flaw.

Now, I know that the types of dogs Joey has requested can make excellent family pets, but they are unfamiliar ground to us. Moreoever, they are likely to have a highly active puppy period that I'm not sure we can persevere. An excited jumper, chewer, digger or escape artist is not something I would welcome, and I know from experience that Mastiffs pretty much lay around and snore. So, even with all their disadvantages (drool, odor and size), I am inclined to agree with Jay even as I want to agree with Joey.

As it turns out, it doesn't matter much what I think about this. They two of them have begun to bargain and cajole, doing something that resembles the "Dance of the Duelling Dog Lovers" as I am beginning to mentally refer to it. Joey has some say in the matter since Santa, in a desperate effort to resolve his pickle, brought Joey a dog bowl, collar and leash, along with a letter saying that live animals can't travel in the sleigh, but here is the equipment he will need for the pet that is sure to be forthcoming. So, the battle of the breeds is on.

I suspect the way this is going to resolve itself is by whichever breeder comes up with a puppy first. Whichever dog presents first is sure to be fallen in love with, regardless of breed. So, the breeders have been contacted and the wait for a puppy commences. Which will it be? Who knows?! But just to complicate the situation, we are going to a massive dog show on Saturday so the duelling dog lovers can duke it out in the presence of their favorite breeds.

Should be good, clean family fun, don't you think?


Jen S. for Hannah S. said...

I say get a mix!! and rescue it. Some of the best dogs out there were destined for something other than a loving family and are now being played with,pet,and loved i their new homes. And yes this is actually coming from my animal lover daughter Hannah. Why pay so much for a dog when you can rescue one from the clutches of near certain death!!

Jen said...

Now that was clever (re: Santa and the live animal approach)!
Are you planning on getting a dog now?
Geez, you have a lot on your plate!
I see the logic of getting a mutt, but also getting a breed.
You know what are kind of neat?

Labradoodles. They have the wonderful lab personalities, are really kid-friendly-but the fur of a poodle so they're shed proof!! They are pretty cute too.
Yo to Jen too!!

Michelle said...

Don't be so sure that your son will play with the dog, and if the dog is high-energy, the dog MUST be played with or there is sure to be trouble.

Guess who exercises our high-energy German Shepherd - in my copious free time?

Annie Bizzi said...

As a father of four+, I can empathetically relate to your situation, nonetheless I have used your discussion to provide more fuel for my kids and I to convince my wife to allow us a dog. You have no idea the amount of pleading and convincing that has taken place over the last year, all to no avail. Any suggestions?
My heart and prayers go to Jay and Joey, and hopefully the acquistion of a new "man's best friend" will soften their hearts into making the right decision.
P.S The patron Saint of dogs is St.Roch, maybe that's going too far..??