An Addition to the Family

By Contributing Author, Running Girl of Kay Nou=Our House
The Major and I, having spent 20+ years together, have had our share of pets.  I have always been partial to cats.  When in our first apartment TM saw a cockroach stroll across the living room like he owned the place, TM finally acquiesced to my not so subtle hints.  We got a cat from the ASPCA in the Bronx.
Photo by MowT, found on Flickr

Laura the Cat (aka, L.T.C.) was a fantastic pet.  She had a great personality and loved nothing better than to have a game of chase with TM.  She moved with us at least 6 times.  She never did take to insect wrangling.

We took in a second cat from an elderly friend who was dying and asked us to adopt Cuddles.  We rather reluctantly agreed and promptly renamed the cat, Sarah.  My mother-in-law scoffed saying we couldn’t possibly rename a cat.  Hey, it’s not my fault she inherited a cat named Boo Boo.
TM grew up with dogs.  I definitely liked dogs, but from afar.  TM would sometimes talk about getting a dog, but I always said I thought a dog was too much work.  TM finally reeled me in by saying he thought I could use a running partner.  A small shepherd mix named Diego entered our lives.
We loved Diego.  He was the best dog.  Sweet and playful with us.  A great running partner for me.  Unfortunately, he became too protective of our family and we had to say goodbye.
Our family grew three years ago with the addition of Island Boy, our now 6 year old son.  IB spent the first 3 years of his life in Haiti, where dogs are not the friendly family pet.  They are aggressive, street dogs who are only looking for scraps to eat.  When he first came home, IB was not ready for a dog.  It took awhile for him to decide dogs were okay.
About a year and a half ago I decided we really needed a dog.  Enter Miami, the crazy chocolate lab.  Miami would play with everyone in the daylight, but would forgot our oldest, Subway Dude, after sundown every night.  In the morning, he would growl at SD, as if he had never seen him before.  Miami exited as quickly as he entered.
We were rather shy about attempting a dog for awhile.  This fall TM began to broach the subject of trying a dog again.  I told him we would only get one when he was totally sure.  Meanwhile, TM will tell you that I immediately began obsessing about all things dogs and puppies.  I stand by the fact that I was only doing the necessary research. We needed to know all of our options.
We were sure that this time we wanted a family friendly dog, above all else.  Labs are considered one of the friendliest breeds.  Puppies are cute and fun.  I did some research on local breeders and made some inquiries.  We determined that we are not home enough to care for a puppy.  Even if we timed the arrival of a puppy to coincide with summer vacation, the puppy would be too young to stay alone for 6 hours in the fall when we went back to school.
Instead, I began watching the SPCA for dogs.  As a family, we visited the SPCA one Saturday.  Lots of pit bulls, which are family friendly and often get a bad rap.  The breed still made us leery. The following Saturday, TM was at a meeting.  The kids and I headed out to the SPCA for another peek.  This time they had cute puppies, but we held firm. No puppies.
The next day, I checked the SPCA site and saw a cute dog listed.  I showed our daughter, The Fashionista, the photos.  She squealed and said, “OMG, show Dad!  We should totally get that dog!”
My poor husband had no idea what was coming.  I showed him the photo and he thought the dog looked nice.  The following day TM receives a phone call at 11 am.  “Hey, honey.  You’ll never guess where I am right now!”  Later that afternoon, the whole gang had passed the required meet and greet.  I had paid for Rocket and were waiting for him to get neutered before he could come home.
So far, Rocket seems like a perfect gentleman.  He is quite mellow.  Almost not playful enough, but how can we complain?  He sleeps through the night.  He likes Island Boy and lets him try to entice him with toys and games of chase.
We are hoping this is the beginning of a great friendship.  IB is the youngest and is basically surrounded by adults at home.  He now finds himself with a litter mate and can make a little mischief with his canine pal.  Even if IB becomes bored with the dog, TM can always be counted on for a walk around the block or a romp in the yard.
So far, we are all enjoying jaunts around the block.  We are an all weather type of family and don’t mind getting cold and wet now and then.  We hope having a dog will teach IB empathy and compassion.  IB needs a little work in this area.  Perhaps IB will also use Rocket as a tool to learn skills to nurture and will heal from some of his early life experiences.
Fingers and dog paws crossed for all of us!
About the Author: Running Girl is the mother of 3, a wife, music teacher and long distance enthusiasts who lives in Western New York. Please visit her blog at kaynou.wordpress.com

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