Three Months of Dog Ownership

I’ve been investigating getting a dog since about senior year of college (= for the last 21 years). My SIL started harassing me (brutally) to get a dog earlier this year, plus it seems like a good time in life to stop not doing things for fear of unknown consequences. Ergo, I got a dog. Specifically, this one:

While as a college student, I’d really wanted a basenji (they can climb trees!), saner thought patterns prevailed this time around. Here are my notes regarding possible breeds:

Corgi: A lot of shedding.

Brittany Spaniel: Pretty good dog, apparently less high strung than the English springer spaniel, but still needs a lot of exercise. Needs grooming, but not as much as the springer. Sensitive (prefers quiet environment), more independent than springer, not many serious health issues. Tends to drool, doesn’t like being alone.

Lab: A lot of energy (and shedding)

Boxador: Big (possibly over 100 lbs.); Short hair usually, don’t shed a lot, usually healthy

Springer Spaniel: Pretty good dog, unless you believe this: High maintenance/grooming (?), more energetic than a corgi.

Boykin Spaniel: High-energy, friendly, needs significant daily interaction, easy to train but not a robot, get bored with repetition

Golden Retriever: Same as lab but different color and hair.

German Shorthaired: Hyper, neurotic, power-hungry

French Bulldog: Polite, not demanding, doesn’t need much exercise. Hard to train, typical flat-faced dog problems (respiratory, flatulence).

Basenji: Out-of-control, disobedient, wild, destructive and aggressive, can climb trees.

Mainly, I wanted to get a good dog that was trainable, could go hiking with me, and wasn’t going to suffer much from being left alone all day while I was at work.

Once I got to Utah, I started looking at KSL to get the lay of the land so to speak. There were actually a lot of Pembroke Welsh corgi breeders in the “general area”, but most of them were in Idaho, southern Utah, or Montana. Eventually there was a listing from Tremonton (about a half-hour from Logan) that popped up. A couple days after I saw it, I decided to go to PetSmart to see what I was up against with regard to having to acquire stuff. While there, I met a young couple with a very young corgi puppy and asked them where she had come from. It was the breeder in Tremonton. As a fatalistic Mormon, I took this as my sign and went out to visit the breeder a couple days later.

Before I did, though, I found a WikiHow article about how to pick the right puppy — it was actually pretty good, describing different “personality types” and implying that I should pick the one that acted most like the personality I thought I wanted. So I went out to Tremonton looking to find the one that fit the “Independent Thinker” stereotype.

The breeder had seven puppies left from a brood of ten.

My independent thinker is the one on the far right. The seventh dog is cowering in the dog house at left. My toe is at the bottom of the image.

Breeder owned both the parents, which I guess was (is?) good. The father dog, Jerry, was a little more personable than the mother, though also small for his gender (whereas the mother was pretty big for a girl corgi). Watching the puppies play for a while, there were a couple that stood out as the independent ones who weren’t too needy, too aggressive, or too submissive: the black-collared boy and the magenta-collared girl. (The needy one was a charmer though; I had to re-consult my articles to verify that I shouldn’t get the needy one.)

Anyway, took black and magenta out of the pen and played with them for a little while to see which I liked better. The girl was adventuresome and tried to climb up the slide on the breeder’s backyard swing-set; the boy waited till I wasn’t looking, then dug his sharp little puppy teeth into my back (he was also the biggest member of the litter, which something I read somewhere said wasn’t ideal). So: I chose the girl.

Only $900 later, we were on the way home:

She whined most of the way home and insisted on sitting in my lap for the majority of the ride.

Picking the girl dog, of course, introduced a major problem: girl dog names are pretty bad. This was the full list I came up with before settling on Aela (a Skyrim reference and a name I’m still not super-stoked over, but whatever, etc.):

  • Aela the Huntress
  • Delphine
  • Kaylee
  • Heighty
  • Rowsdower
  • Juniper
  • Fawkes
  • Cassandra
  • Artemis
  • Edeltraud
  • Crow
  • River
  • Montana
  • Brookie
  • Lake
  • Tarn
  • Mae
  • Daisy
  • Pixie
  • Jinx
  • Shadow
  • Reagan
  • Nyx
  • Harbinger
  • Gu?ri?ur
  • Cache
  • Xena
  • Samsa
  • Maybe
  • Moonbeam
  • Comet
  • Dee
  • Clover
  • Lorem
  • Taiga
  • Sky
  • Hebe
  • Ebb/Ebby

‘Cause then if I had another dog, that one could be named Ipsum and hilarity would ensue. Anyway, here are a few more early-days pics:

The other ear is up now fwiw.

Here are some stupid lists that make it seem like this post is intended to be a baby book for this dog (that I do, admittedly, kind of like).

Favorite Foods: Whatever I’m eating, dog food, cardboard boxes, rotting windfall apples, beard oil

Things That Make Her Angry: The broom, the big apple tree in the back yard, watching videos of herself, invisible elves

Favorite Toys: Plastic drink bottles, the long green snake, the grunting hedgehog, outlet covers, old laptop sleeves

Favorite Activities: Meeting new people, chasing/being chased across the house, off-leash walks

Favorite Places: Under the bed, under the couch, under the other couch, underfoot in the kitchen

Things She Has Ruined: A pair of flip-flops, her playpen, the hall carpeting, several cardboard boxes

Things She Wants But Can’t Have: Socks, people food, deer droppings, my great-nephew Dix

Which brings us to some more and more self-centered observations:

  • For the first couple months, I probably wanted to get rid of her more days than I wanted to keep her.
  • This was especially true on days/nights when she had diarrhea and before she was convinced that biting my hands wasn’t in her best interests.
  • She really loves people and I feel bad that she doesn’t get to be around more of them more often.
  • She usually likes dogs, although those two jerk boxers at the dog park are bad.
  • I’d always assumed that dogs naturally enjoy car rides; this one does not. We’re working on it.
  • It bothers me when people refer to me as her “dad”. She has a father, his name is Jerry, and he’s a good boy (presumably).
  • On days when it’s hard for me to come home from work, I have a person (!) come by and take her for a walk and let her outside to do her business.
  • A person can spend a lot of money on dog-related paraphernalia.

Here are some more dog photos, then I’ll go ahead and peace-out on this post.