Letting the dog come to us

The big discussion topic at our house has been the new dog. What to get? When to get it? Adopt or buy? How old? Puppy or 1-year-old?

I was big on adoption, and still am, but it hit me this week that this will the last dog I own. The dog will most likely outlive me. My wife and daughter will be the ones to take care of it. And, I hope, it will take care of them.

Salt and pepper shedding. Can't wear black or white clothing.

There is one dog I dream of having more than any other: A black Labrador. Yes, not very unique as a member of the most popular breed in the US, but it’s the dog I grew up with and wanted five years ago before my wife and daughter used mind control and convinced me to get a yellow lab. I’m glad they did because our yellow lab is a honey.

But black labs are the best. They were the original color and there’s something special about them.

I’ve considered other dogs. A Bernese Mountain Dog would be a close second, maybe first if they lived longer, which they don’t. 8 to 10 years is old. And a German Shepherd would be a strong third, or tied for second, but my wife doesn’t want to worry about an aggressive dog.

So, I’m waiting for the universe to deliver our dog. Will it be a mutt from the rescue society? Will it be a black lab? Or will it be Clifford the Big Red Dog?

And though my daughter wants a puppy, it’s too much work for the first two months. I have a lot of paying work to get finished – too much to raise a pup. I would like an older dog, around 1, which could seamlessly join our pack.

We’ll see. It could happen this weekend. It could happen in three months. Who knows? I don’t. I’m going with the flow and waiting for signs – or phone calls. Either one works

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A new dog or not?

It feels like when I’m not eating or sleeping or sitting at the computer with a nebulizer, I’m buying something or thinking about buying something. Truth be told, I do buy stuff when I have a neb in my mouth, which makes sleep and meals the times I don’t? I can’t even guarantee that. Curse you, consumeristic country I live in. My value as a human can only be measured by how much I buy.

I digress.

As you may know, I spent over two months searching for a used car. Now the big decision is getting a new dog. I want one.

We have a lab and a rescued mutt. The grateful mutt is a chow mix and has some serious guard dog, bite your ass and never let it go, in him. I like that. Problem is, he’s around 14-years old and the gas and growl are going out of his tank. He can’t hear anymore, which downgrades his guard dog status to “if you step on me at night, I’ll notice.”

So, I want a dog with some physical clout – the looks and size to make anyone back away. And the ears to hear intruders coming a mile away. Oh, and the internal drive to remove their flesh should they try to harm my family while I’m lounging in a hospital room on the other side of the city getting my daily rub down. Or, if a brick falls from the sky and takes me out for good, I’d like to know my family is in good paws when I’m gone.

I’m thinking German Shepherd.

They're cute when they're 30 pounds

Although I’ve had dogs my entire life and believe myself to be a capable trainer, as is my wife, I’m not sure I have the energy to raise and train one of these powerhouse dogs capable of delivering serious hurt. I’ve had one bad dog bite in my life when I crossed through a neighbor’s yard and couldn’t outrun their dog. Yes, it was a German Shepherd and yes it did bite me in the ass, tearing away the entire backside of my white short-short tennis shorts. I have a healthy respect for these dogs after the embarrassment and hurt the one that chased me down delivered.

Labs are easy. Run them in the morning, give them a few carrots and feed them at night and bingo, bango bongo, they do what you say and love you. A German Shepherd is different. They are finely tuned with instincts to protect. You have to be careful not to send them the wrong signals lest you want to bury your neighbor in your backyard late one night because your new dog Fritzkrieg ripped open his throat when he held up a pair garden shears to wave hello. Oops, bad dog. You can kill a 200-pound man with your teeth, but you can’t handle a shovel? What good are you?

The discussion continues in my house. Any bets on how long it will take to make this decision?