Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 260: Belief

Growing up, we were a dog family, but our dogs weren't housedogs. As a result, the idea of dogs in the house (except in extreme weather conditions) was a nonstarter.

That changed with Moose.

Moose is now 5 years old. The only way we could have a dog was to have him in the apartment, since we didn't own our home and didn't have a contained yard for him.

The experience has deepened my appreciation for dogs. I've posted many times and in many places about the positive effect Moose has had. When Piper came along two years ago, it only enriched that experience.

This week the local Humane Society posted a picture of a pup that had been abandoned. This dog immediately struck something in me. He has a cute face and markings, and there's just something about him that tells me he'd be a great pet.

Our HSO (and probably yours) always needs more pet food for the animals they try and foster and place. So yesterday, we purchased a couple of small bags and some treats (total: $17.08) and took them to their offices in hopes of meeting that guy pictured. His name is Sparky, although we prefer Penn.

He's quite a catch -- a three-month old Shar Pei/Lab mix who has already mostly been crate-trained/housebroken and is your typical wiggly puppy. We're going to foster him for a few days and see how it goes. I admit it: I'm smitten.

Now, the rational side of me says: We've got two dogs. It costs money to have pets, and I don't have an income right now. We've managed our money well, and M has a good job, so we're OK... not behind on any payments, still some money in savings, no debt. Our landlord is a little iffy on pets, we had to coerce him a little. We're responsible pet parents... they don't damage the apartment, and we clean up after them. They're not barky or aggressive in any way. But a third dog might not go over well. The bed gets crowded at night with 100 pounds of dog, and this new one might add another 50 by the time he's grown.

There's lots of arguments against another dog, and not a ton for.

Except for what my friend Kevin said the other day: dogs make you happy.

And he's (as usual) completely right. These guys have added a lot to my life. Right now they just came upstairs and are shuffling around. Just taking a sniff. It's nice.

The question has become, do we do what is the conservative, most predictable approach, or do we save a dog that was abandoned by his previous owner? And in the process, do we add something fun and pleasant into life? Sure, it costs a little more when money is tight. For some people, pets are an accessory. For us, they're family.

Another friend had the same situation with her cats. Erin said when she met them, she knew immediately. How do you turn your back on this simple affirmation of life?

I'm not sure how this will play out. But I believe that ultimately, you can't let your difficult times rule your life. You should live life on your own terms and if happiness is available, you should accept.


  1. Cam and I desperately want to add to our family (and when I say family, I mean our animal family) but we have the same concerns: money, space, landlord, time...

    For right now, I try not to even look at a shelter animal for fear that the moment their eyes meet mine that connection will happen and I won't be able to rationally weigh those concerns vs. the obvious benefits. Our cats bring us so much joy, every single day. It's hard, in these hard times, to deny ourselves those simple joys whilst saving a poor animal's life at the same time.

  2. E, many people here are awful with pets... they have to move, and they dump the pets. Or they don't spay/neuter, biology wins, and they let the animals suffer at the hands of nature. And some are just downright cruel. I couldn't bear to run a shelter and have to put so many innocent creatures down. It's abominable, but the shelters are strapped for money and a certain element of society obviously sees these animals as accessories/disposable.

    This dog is adorable. I am trying to find reasons to say "no." Most come out as "now."