also known as….a dog.  It has been a little more than a year since we had to put our 13 yr old Chow/Retriever/Rot mix, Oscar, to sleep.  We initially took the parental dishonesty route and told Nicklas that Oscar was going to a lovely retirement home for older dogs who needed to rest and relax with other old dogs just like them.  We painted a beautiful mental picture of a pristine place filled with rolling hills of tall grass to run through and squirrels to chase and more trees to piss on than Oscar could ever imagine.  We were trying to spare Nicklas that big conversation about death…and likely trying to spare ourselves the pain of having to hurt our child with the cold and brutal truth.  Family and friends insisted that Nicklas would forget Oscar in a weeks time.  Sadly, those idiots don’t know my son OR his long memory OR his diligence when faced with a situation he believes in his heart he can fix.  For MONTHS after we put Oscar down for the deep sleep, Nicklas BEGGED us to PLEASE go back to the retirement home and bring him back to our house.  He would come to me, out of nowhere, crying unconsolably, reminiscing on the sound of Oscars sweet bark, the feel of his wet kisses, and profess he missed him with every ounce of his broken little penis person heart.  And therefore, mom and dad = failed!  We were trying to spare ourselves and our little penis person pain and all we’d managed to do was drag out the inevitable.  We were literally ripping off the proverbial band-aide centimeter by centimeter.  SHIT!! This wasn’t going to work!  And so, I sat Nicklas down and finally confessed the truth…kind of!  I explained that the retirement home had called and Oscar had been very sick.  And while they’d done everything they could to make Oscar better….he’d sadly passed away.  This story obviously sounded MUCH better than the REAL truth….that  mommy and daddy lied their asses off to you and then had to come up with ANOTHER lie to cover up the first lie.  So shhhhh…..please don’t blow our cover, m’kay…..THANKS!

So, here we are…and lots of time has passed.  Nicklas talks about Oscar often.  He misses “having a fur friend”.  He thinks “its important for a boy to have a dog”.   He gravitates to dogs, literally, everywhere we go.  He approaches the owner and asks permission to pet their wonderful dog….he holds out his hand to allow the amazing dog to be familiar enough to allow him to pet him…..and then he tries to convince the owners to allow him to move in and be their dogs best buddy….. or allow their dog to come to our house, like Nicklas and the dog’s owner might be sharing visitation.  Nicklas has actually given our address to people and asked them to consider giving him their dog if they ever decide they don’t want their pet.  We discuss this almost daily….He draws me pictures of dogs all the time.  I asked him to draw me a picture of his “perfect dog”…he said he couldn’t, because ANY dog would be his perfect dog.

And so, my resolve slowly crumbling and Jeff already kind of pushing for a new doggie, we began what I like to call our “preliminary search” for a new dog.  What this really was is my still trying to pretend that we WEREN’T getting a dog all the while searching endless websites and looking for the perfect dog to adopt.  I had a very specific list of prerequisites : 1) must be spayed or neutered.  2) NO PUPPIES..there are plenty of 1 yr or older dogs that need good homes, but everyone wants a cute ass little puppy.  NOT ME.  3) Must be housebroken already..this is the reason I didn’t want a puppy.  I have a hard enough time trying to get the penis people in my house to not piss all over everything.  I don’t want to have to try to figure out how to make sure a dog isn’t pissing on everything too.  4) Nothing large.  Joshua is small and I was looking for a dog about his size or smaller.  Specifically, something that COULDN’T use his small head as a chew toy on a whim.  5) Very little shedding.  We’d already done the whole “sheds so much you could make good money on constructing a sweater a day from his hair” Oscar type dog.  I was looking for something with SUPER short hair that wouldn’t shed buckets of it every 15 seconds.   6) Price IS a factor.  Becaue I am rescuing a dog and not looking to purchase a purebreed, I was hoping to spend no more than $150 out the door.

My list didn’t seem TOO unreasonable nor unmanagable.  How hard  could this be.  Apparently, VERY.  After scouring, quite precisely, HUNDREDS of adds and pictures and meeting with several potentials that sadly really didn’t have any potential at all, I came upon an add for Oliver.  His owner’s son had lost interest in him and he wasn’t getting the attention he needed.  They didn’t have a fenced in yard and Oliver really needed to be able to run and play, not be chained to their deck while waiting to do his business.  Oliver is almost 2 yrs old…neutered….well trained….up to date on every shot available to him….about 40 lbs….a cute Beagle that comes up to about my knees and sheds not too badly.  And FREE.  His mom just wants him to go to a good home.  She gave me all his shot records…..his crate that he sleeps in…all his food and toys…..his leash.  She said take him home and see how he fits in with your family.  If you’re not happy, I’ll take him back, no questions asked.  We agreed to talk again in a week.  Now, the clock is ticking!

So far, Oliver is WONDERFUL with both our kids.   He’s very gentle with Joshua, who likes to run up to him, laugh and giggle and then run away (Joshua’s version of chase) and just a little more energetic with Nicklas (they play tag like a real dog and boy should).  He likes to jump up on the furniture (his mom used to let him on the couch) but will get down the moment you tell him “down”.   If he and Joshua need a little break from one another, he’ll go right to his crate and lie down.

And so, you may wonder, why am I still on the fence????  Because, to be honest, I’d forgotten how much damn WORK a dog really is.  I don’t like having to wipe muddy paws when he comes in from the murky marsh that is our backyard in the rainy season.  I HATE picking up dog poop, but it obviously has to be done.  I’m still not a big fan of dog hair, even if it is kinda minimal.  I’m grossed out every time Joshua drop his pacifier and, upon picking it up, its got little slivers of doggy hair attached.

So I’m THIS CLOSE to calling Oliver’s real mom and telling her we’ve changed our mind.  I will assure her that he is a wonderful little dog that just simply deserves an even better home than ours.  I’ve already tried to prepare Nicklas, in the event we will be returning Oliver.  And Nicklas is NOT happy about that…but he’s the kid and I’m the mom and I’m trying really hard NOT to let my decision be swayed by the wants of a 6 yr old penis person and his desire to be a pet owner.   So…….stay tuned to see if Oliver gets to stay or not………because, to be honest, I’m not even really sure myself from one moment to the next.