Tuesday, February 23, 2010

She Isn't Sure

This morning Michael Jr., Sierra, Josh, and I drove to Yakima for an outing with the older kids’ teacher and other parents and students from WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy). We met at the Central Washington Humane Society and walked dogs in the park next to it. It was cool to finally meet their teacher, putting a face to the name. I wasn’t so sure about the whole dog thing.

I wasn’t sure because I was worried Sierra would fall in love with a pathetic dog. We’ve avoided getting a dog for a long time and for good reason. Back in 2000 when we moved to Salem, NH we bought a dog within a couple weeks of buying our house. We figured we had a half acre, fenced lot so why not? We did a little research (not nearly enough) and decided we wanted a rat terrier. There was a litter of Decker Giants in Maine ready for new homes so we took a drive and came home with Skipper. Unfortunately Michael’s entire department was let go at the internet company he was working at and after just six weeks in this home we had to pack up and leave.

We were blessed to have another job offer right away and I was happy to move back to Washington. Still, we’d lost a lot of money selling the house so quickly and we decided to move into apartment till we were more familiar with the Tri-Cities. Apartment life wasn’t ideal for a dog like Skipper and my parents offered to have him stay at the farm until we found more permanent digs.

We moved into a rented duplex a few months later but by then Dad wasn’t so keen on letting the dog go. It was clear that Skipper loved life on the farm with Dad and his two chocolate labs and it was also painfully clear that Dad loved Skipper. So anyway, my dad bought me a freezer and we called it even.

The truth is, it was beyond even. We had no business buying such a high strung dog as a terrier. Any sort of terrier. We just weren’t up for it. To see him go to a great home and to be able to visit him was perfect. To this day, this spoiled dog spends his evenings curled up on Dad’s lap with a crocheted blanket over him because as Dad says, “He’s thin-skinned”. He’s a pain in the butt with his car chasing (only cars that come onto the property; he doesn’t cross cattle guards) and Stranger Danger behavior but he’s very loved.

So anyway, I’m petrified that we’d make another huge mistake if we brought home another dog. I mean really, would the kids take care of one? They always say they will but come on. The bottom line for me is that I cannot add more to my plate.

Back to the Humane Society. We all walked in and the smell hit us. It was the worst smelling place I’ve ever been aside from maybe the elevator in the Park Street Station in Boston. Josh held his nose the whole time. For multiple reasons, God bless the folks who work there. It would certainly take a sturdy sort of person.

We turned in our driver’s licenses in exchange for dogs to walk and met outside to stroll through the park. Sierra was given a small, grey, Benji-looking sort of dog who refused to walk more than a few feet at a time. At this point she would turn to chew on the choke chain then stand up against Sierra’s legs, begging to be held. Sierra held her most of the time and, of course, fell instantly in love.


When Michael came home tonight she presented him with an old oatmeal box filled with money. $95 to be exact. This is the price to adopt a shelter dog and when you consider that it includes the spay or neuter surgery, first set of vaccinations, initial deworming, and microchip implant, it’s not a bad. Still, it’s a huge responsibility. Not real sure how to proceed but we did take a page out of my friend Diane Upton’s book and asked Sierra to write an essay on why she thinks she’s ready for this responsibility. If I remember correctly, Diane’s daughter wrote a very long paper to convince her dad and I think when Sierra’s essay is notarized and signed in blood I might be convinced. Maybe. I don’t know.


  1. Pets are for the grandparents house. That's what I say.

  2. Why is this such a hard choice for both of us? I'm completely amused that we're both in this place of contemplating a dog.

    I'm guessing yours would be more of a family dog. I already have my dog; now the question is whether or not Lenora should have one of her own.

    Agree: *sighs*

  3. A pet!!!! Aww!! Writing the essay was a great idea! Should be interesting to hear what she came up with. :)

  4. My kids and I have loved every minute of owning our dogs and we wouldn't change it for the world. When it works out (where the kids actually take care of the animals) it can be fun and amazing to watch how totally responsible they can become!


So, what do you think?