03 April 2008

Just Call Me Pet-Scrooge

There is talk in our house of getting another dog. Correction: a puppy.

You may remember (with a bit of help from the photos I posted yesterday), our beloved German Shepherd, Roxanne, died just days before Christmas. It was traumatic for us all and one of my daughters is still having a very hard time with it. Yet, we do still have our little Corgi/Beagle mutt and our two cats, Lucy and Ricky.

In spite of living in wonderfully peaceful and quiet Maine, we have managed to build for ourselves a very busy lifestyle. We practically live in our car as we go from classes to sports practices, to sports events, to activities, etc. Homeschooling is a misnomer, as we find that we are so seldom home. Plus, our cat, Ricky, is the one with kidney disease and I have to give him an I.V. of fluids every other day. All that poor cat needs now is a new puppy to add to the fun.

Having read the above paragraph, can you guess who is NOT in favor of getting another dog?

Understand that we got all our pets when our children were small. Then the children grew up and turned into teenagers. The pets are all now very old and their lives are drawing to a close. Sad as it is, I’m not sure I want to start over. When all my children grow up and move away, I’m not going to have another baby… so why, now that the pets are dying, would I want to get another puppy?

My husband doesn’t understand that logic. Guess who IS in favor of getting another dog?


He thinks another dog – not just any dog, mind you, it HAS to be a German Shepherd PUPPY – would be good for our daughter, as well as the whole family. He, who works long hours, who didn’t train our last German Shepherd, who’s never had to find a dog-sitter, and who didn’t have to clean all the dog barf and diarrhea off the carpets over the years – HE is the one who wants another dog.

Pardon me while I hyperventilate.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. LOVE them. I miss my Roxanne terribly. She was the perfect dog. I worked hard to train her right and to train her well, and it paid off. She was completely obedient, highly intelligent, and loving to a fault. As big as she was (nearly 100 pounds), she was light on her feet and so careful about being a big dog in such a small house.

Just last week, we all watched I Am Legend, with Will Smith. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand why we all sat there and bawled our eyes out. Seeing Will Smith with that awesome German Shepherd hit very close to home.

So there you go. In the end, the decision is up to me, because in spite of the weak protests from the family, we all know that I would be the primary caretaker of the new puppy. I would get up with it during the night, and I would take it to the vet to be spayed or neutered, and I would train it. I would also love it and have my heart torn out once again when it dies in 10-12 years. By then, all our kids will be grown and they will have moved on (that’s our plan, anyway). Not me, I’ll have lost another beloved pet.

But not only are the work and heartbreak factors in this decision, there are also the little things: being able to just leave for the weekend on a moment’s notice without getting a house sitter or hiring a neighbor to feed the little beasts; finally being able to have a decent rug in our living room, one that won’t need to be replaced every couple of years because of the stains from illnesses and such; not having the money we’d been saving for a vacation suddenly be poured into an unexpected surgery or medication regimen for a sick pet who is going to die in a couple of years anyway. I’m sorry to sound so crass, but these are the realities of pet ownership.

So in the end, while the decision is up to me, and while I keep telling the troops that the decision has already been MADE, the requests and pleas keep coming. Hubby is leading the charge. In fact, now that I think of it, he is the WHOLE charge. The kids seem ok with the status quo. Hmmm.

Just to make matters worse for myself, I picked up a copy of Marley and Me at the used bookstore when I was in Rhode Island over the weekend. And I LOVE it.

What was I thinking?

The really sad fact is that knowing me, I’ll probably cave eventually. I love dogs and I hate saying no to my family.

Somebody stop me!

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes


California Girl said...

STOP!!! No, don't do it, don't cave! There, did that help? :) Seriously, I can see where you're coming from, and there are other ways to show your love for animals than to get another pet. Pet ownership is a HUGE commitment, and the fact that you take it so seriously shows how much your pets mean to you. So, stick to your guns! :)

Tom said...

Paulla, I had to put my beloved Shepherd down many years ago, she was about 11 then and had abdominal cancer. Since then, with the exception of a dog we temporarily inherited (divorce related) we've had no animals. For exactly the reasons you cite. I miss having a dog, but at my age (late 40's) I can't be tied down with animals. The only way I'd have another dog is if it's a Working Dog, like a search dog or an arson dog. That'd be fun. But we like the ability to just up and go. The kids will get over it. That's life. It's a life-lesson. But, then again, if it's everyone else in the house against you, I think you're gonna lose the battle.. Eventually.. LOL!

Paulla said...

Thanks, guys.

Tom, I'm sorry to hear you lost your dog in much the same way we did. Such a hard thing.

I'm glad you guys understand! :)

Laura said...

Just getting caught up this week. It sounds to me like you are not ready to consider the realities of another pet right now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Trust me. I've seen far too many dogs in shelters that are neglected because their families didn't have the time to devote to them. If your reality is that you don't want the responsibility of another dog right now, then wait. The time will come. But GSD puppies are SO cute! Every time I see one, I think, what about one more dog...

Larry said...

Your Roxanne could have been a sister to our Shadow (110 lb Black German Shepard)! He is about twelve now, and suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy. It will be a while before we get another pet dog for the same reasons you mentioned.

KathyLikesPink said...

I am the Scrooge in our house too, for all the same reasons.

Good luck - I know your battle (internal or otherwise) isn't over yet!

Paulla said...

Larry, your Shadow sounds adorable. :( It's so hard when dogs get older.

Kathy, I'm glad I'm not the only scrooge around!