Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Dog Search Continues

Still following in Gawdessness's footsteps, Brian and I continued to do research on dog breeds. We read the descriptions and talked about dogs we know. Your Pure Breed Puppy is an excellent site if you want to know not just what people who like the breed say, but what common issues exist in a breed. My take on the Australian Cattle Dog review is that he is correct. Our Cattle Dog does not have the major faults described, but if anyone asked me what the down-side of the breed was, I would give about the same information. You have to not let the site scare you off though. As the site author tries to remind people all the time, it is NOT that all dogs of this breed will have these faults, but it is the case that these are the things you should look for as you meet and consider particular dogs.

Brian has decided that his favorite breed is the Shih Tzu, or perhaps Lhasa Apso.

So now the search is on. We are taking it slow, but we have a direction. I am watching the listings for the shelters, and the newspaper. I also wrote to the AKC Shih Tzu Club and asked for a list of breeders so I can start contacting them. We are still hoping to find a young male dog. It may take us a while, or no time at all. We will see. If we get all the way to the summer without finding a young, adult male with the right temperament, I will consider a puppy. Since we are a family of educators, we are home during the summer, which would be much better for a pup.

A colleague of a my husband is trying to re-home/sell an 8-month, female Lhasa Apso. It's the wrong breed, wrong age, and wrong sex but I am considering asking if it can spend the weekend with us just so that I can see if the Cattle Dog would tolerate a female, if it were young, and to let Brian see what it is like to take care of a teething puppy. Who knows, maybe it would turn out to be the right dog. It is supposed to be a well-mannered puppy. The issues have to do with unexpected changes in the owner's life, not the with the behavior of the puppy. (I did just say that I wouldn't consider a puppy until the summer, didn't I?)

I find that this process can be as emotionally draining as considering new foster kids. I don't suppose that should be surprising, a pet can be nearly as much of presence in your life as a child, and it is necessary to make a long-term commitment to them.

The whole process is also a good illustration of my character faults. I am getting too wrapped up in this, and too willing to believe or at least hope, as Brian does, that the right dog will take away all of his loneliness. I am letting myself get distracted from things I should be doing.

And another wrinkle this has brought up:

Andrew is afraid that if Brian gets a dog, Andrew's cat will run away. His cat already lives exclusively in the "garden level" part of the house (i.e. the finished basement where the boys have their bedrooms). So we considered whether we should move Brian to the bedroom next to ours, which would mean that his room would become the room of the next kid.

Living the sur-real life that I do, I checked in with the family developer at our agency to see if they have any objections to my doing that. Would it be okay with them if the new kid's bedroom in on the same floor as a 17-year-old boy's and no parents? Given our demographic (i.e. we won't be taking any heterosexual girls), she said okay.

Don't tell Brian though. If he doesn't get a dog, we would rather he stay downstairs, especially while it is just the two of us. Hubby moves to sleep in that room sometimes. He claims that I snore.


  1. I think it is worth noting with an only slightly raised eyebrow that the agency has no problem with a 17 year old boy rooming next to a gay boy, but not a straight girl.

  2. I've already started a post on that.

    All in all, I am glad though. One of the questions I get from people is, "Are you nervous about taking gay kids since you have sons?" I assure them that I am not, and they look at me like I should be worried.

  3. Be careful if you get a Shih Tzu. They are cute dogs, but dumb as rocks. My mother had one, and never could get it housebroken. Apparently, we found out later, that housebreaking is a common problem with the breed.

  4. Anonymous11:58 AM

    I have a Havanese and I would have recommended him as a cute lapdog, who virtually never barks and is exceptionally well mannered and friendly, had I not just read the description of the site you linked to.
    I guess, what I want to say is, the dogs really vary in character, so don't etch your choice in stone.

  5. It sounds to me like you are doing so much that is right in this process.

    I particularly like that it sounds like Brian has a lot of buy in on this thing.

    The more he learns the more he will really understand about dogs. But he already has hands on experience with a dog - so that is good.

    It is weird to imagine that you are supposed to worry about taking in gay kids because you have sons?

    I don't know if it is appropriate to respond with "wow, that's an odd question? What do you mean?".

    Probably not.

  6. Hey girl! Thanks for your nice comments on my blog, I thought I'd drop by and say Hi. I saw this post and was immediately captivated. I know all too well about finding the "right dog" lol. I would personally recommend against a lhaso or shi-tzu unfortunately. Obviously there are some that are good with kids but on the whole they are not. On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being child friendly and 5 being keep away from kids, they rate a 3.5 to 4. I was bitten by a lhaso as a child actually and my brother was bitten by a friends shi-tzu when he was in junior high. Of course they don't all bite but I just wouldn't be confident that, even if raised from a puppy, they would be predictable or good with kids.

    I would highly recommend a Chinese Imperial though! They look like a small lhaso/shi-tzu and are VERY good and predictable with kids. They are smart, affectionate and calm, most love snuggling. You would need to find a breeder, probably couldn't easily find one in a shelter and they are often mis-identified as lhasos. Try too, a lot of breeders post there. I would also recommend Pugs. They can't be left outside for long periods unattended as they over heat, but they are really good loyal dogs and good with kids, and so ugly they're cute hehe. Good luck with your search!!

  7. Ooh I thought of another, have you considered the Bichon Frise? They need semi regular grooming but don't shed much and are GREAT with kids.

  8. Oh sorry to bug you but thought of one more.... a Mi-Ki! Again they have that lhaso look but are great with kids and I found out are often used as therapy for kids with disabilities. I really am excited for you, new dogs are so fun :)


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