National Dog Day

27 Aug

According to Timehop, I wrote the following on Twitter 3 years ago today:

It’s #NationalDogDay. We have no dog, just 5 kids. A dog would be much cleaner and quieter though. Much.

Despite my insisting that we needed no more mouths to feed in the Smith house, the kids have long wanted a dog and tried to bargain their way towards getting one.  You know what I mean–I promise I’ll feed it, walk it, clean up after it–but of course, Matt and I were smarter than believing that.  In fact, whenever the kids begged for a pet, I told them that to even consider it, they had to keep their rooms clean for 30 consecutive days before we would even discuss it.  They never made it past Day 5.

However (and of course you knew this was coming, else I wouldn’t have written this blog), several months ago Matt and I started discussing the possibility of getting a dog.  One of our big reasons for this was the twins.  Henry and Nolan absolutely have a stroke when a dog comes near them.  They have a distinct cry that we call the “dog cry” that they do only when a dog is in their eye sight.  But in the few times that the twins have actually been around a dog for more than 2 or 3 days at a time, the fear dissipates… until they aren’t around the dog for a while at which point we start back at square one.  So basically, we figure that the best way to get the twins over their fear of dogs is to expose them to one every day.

That said, there was a very particular list of qualities that were imperative for this dog.  For example, we wanted a house broken adult dog.  We are in the final days of potty training the twins, and there is NO part of me that wants to house break a dog.  Five kids can put a world of hurt on our house so a destructive puppy was not even worth attempting.  We wanted a “sturdy” dog–one that could withstand being outside for long stretches of time but wouldn’t jump the fence in our backyard.  I just didn’t want a full time inside dog.

For all of the times that Matt and I had talked over all of this, we kept dragging our feet on actually trying to find this dog.  We were not willing to pay more than a basic adoption fee, but the thought of going to a local shelter and trying to choose a dog was daunting.  We didn’t want to involve the kids until the last minute because I knew that they would get impatient if the right dog was hard to find.  And I didn’t want to walk into a room full of dogs and each child get their hopes up on a dog that might not be a good fit for us.  I just kept thinking that surely the perfect dog for us would appear somehow, fall into our figurative laps.

Nine days ago, I decided that I would put out feelers on Facebook.  I wrote a post listing out our qualification list just on the off chance that someone knew of a dog somewhere who was exactly what we were looking for.  As I expected, people had suggestions on breeds and local shelters.  But one friend’s reply was exactly what I was praying for.  A friend had contacted her earlier that day about help in finding a new home for a dog whose family was moving to an apartment and couldn’t take him along.

My friend added me to a FB group message with her friend who then added in the dog’s owner.  And after reading our picky list, he said Max was absolutely all of those things.  Within less than 2 hours from my post, I was texting with him to set up a time to meet Max.  Matt ended up being unable to go meet our new dog, so I took the 5 kids alone.  I was very vague about where we were going and why, but by the end of the visit, the 3 older kids were thrilled with the idea of Max possibly living with us.

The next day, we made it official.  We were getting a dog!  His family took him to the vet and got his vaccinations up to date and had a few days to say their goodbyes.  I felt badly for them in knowing how much they will miss their dog, but they assured us that they knew this would be a wonderful home for their beloved friend.

Max has been here for less than 2 full days, and thankfully, the twins are already much less fearful.  And to see how much the older kids love and dote on him has been so sweet.  I know that the newness will fade, and the responsibilities will frustrate them.  But I can already tell that we hit the jackpot with this big old boy.  Since he is an older adult dog, I don’t know how long we will end up having with Max, but we will love every minute of it, I am sure!



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