So I’ve been meaning to tell you that Otto and I met a Real Live Dog Whisperer here in town, but after umpty-hundred emails back and forth I’ve decided that she is not, in fact, done justice with the moniker Dog Whisperer.
She is the Dog Emailer.
(Though I do not think she actually emails WITH dogs.) (On the other hand, knowing what I know now about her, it would not entirely surprise me if she did.) (But that’s not the dog I want, because I get grumpy when I have to share my computer.)
ANYWAY. There was some sort of dog festival thing here a few weeks ago, back before we all got sick and we contemplated putting one or both of the children on Xanax just to get through each day. Back when we were still under the illusion that everything was fine and dandy, we spent part of an afternoon petting dogs and talking to people, and then, being rescued.
See, despite our horrific experience with Super, we still want a dog. And we still would prefer a rescue to hand-picking a puppy that comes with papers and matches the drapes. For one thing, we don’t care about papers, and for another, we don’t even HAVE drapes. But if the experience with Super taught me anything, it taught me this: My instincts about animals are exceptionally craptastic.
I see a pair of cute little eyes and a drooly tongue and I fall in love, which (come to think of it) is a pretty good summary of my teenage dating years, too. Hmmm.
What we need is someone smart to take us through this process. Someone who knows things about dogs. Someone who can keep a cool head and be led by intelligence, not a propensity to start cooing in an annoying high-pitched voice the moment something with fur walks by.
What we need is the Dog Emailer.
The funny part is that we didn’t KNOW we needed her. In the course of talking with other folks, someone sent us over to chat with her, and she had us sized up in about thirty seconds. We told her the whole story: We want a rescue dog, we had this horrible experience both with the dog himself and with the rescue that gave him to us, we need something hypoallergenic, and P.S. we are sort of clueless but willing to learn.
She all but swept us onto her lap and patted us on our heads. After the initial conversation that day and multiple discussions via email since then, she “analyzed” our needs, both in terms of the hypoallergenic-ness of a potential pet and what we as a family are hoping to have in a dog. (Point for the Dog Emailer: She required us to gather answers to all of her questions from the children as well as just from me and Otto. For the record, Chickadee wants a dog that will sleep in her bed and sit on her lap when she’s reading, and Monkey would like a dog that will run around with him sometimes and lick his face when he’s tired. I’m glad they’re keeping their desires nice and general.) We talked about the setup of our house and our property (including the fence that Super slipped through, and whether we’ll consider erecting more/better fencing), and who will take the dog to training classes once he’s come home.
The Dog Emailer suggests we find either a whippet (these are not truly hypoallergenic, by the way, and we’ve discussed that, though they are very low-shedding and low-odor dogs) or a shih tzu.
As we continue emailing back and forth, the Doggie Wars have begun here at home. Otto has very little opinion on the matter; while he wants our eventual dog to be a reasoned choice and a good fit, the breed doesn’t matter much to him. Me, I’m really torn, because I’ve sort of fallen in love with whippets but I know that shih tzus are arguably a slightly healthier choice, allergy-wise, and I am also somewhat prejudiced against little dogs. But Monkey has seen whippets run and wants a whippet, period. And Chickadee is convinced shih tzus are little pom-poms of love and and if we get one it will spend its lifetime in her lap, so she wants one of those, period.
Meanwhile, the Dog Emailer and I continue to correspond about breeders, rescues, animals I’ve found on Petfinder, and the relative merits of these two breeds when it comes to things like taking the dog camping with us.
It’s possible I may not have mentioned that if we get a whippet, we sort of have our hearts set on naming it Devo.
It’s also possible that I found a shih-poo on Petfinder last night and began cooing at the screen. Upon sending the listing to the Dog Emailer, I noted that I wasn’t sure if the dog had eyes (he’s a real puffball with a completely furry face), and she emailed back, “Eyes are overrated. Go check him out.”
Maybe she’s actually the Dog Yoda. “Feel he will, with furry face he has.”
Regardless, we’re strapped in for it to take a while, but we’re hopeful we’re on the road to finding our dog.