Monday, July 20, 2009

Let's talk about pets, Baby

It looks as if George is going to find a home on our very street, which is great for visiting privileges, but still very sad. "Hey, you know how we promised you a pet for an early birthday present? Yeah. He's going to live at your friend's house since you're allergic to him. But you still get to visit him sometimes. Happy Birthday!"

So. Sometime soon, we want to get another pet for the family. (Besides the fish K. already has.) It can't be a cat, a horse, or a guinea pig (obv) because of allergies. It can't be a rat or hamster or gerbil or a rabbit. None of us want a reptile. As far as I can see, this leaves us with either:

A. a bird
B. a dog (K. was tested for both of these animals and isn't allergic.)
C. anything else?

Scott had a pet bird at one time, so we know what that entails. But if we're going to get a pet that lives for 15 years, shouldn't we just bite the bullet and get a dog now? (We had been talking about getting a dog after George went to the Big Cage in the Sky.)

If we get a dog, it would have to be an indoor dog because of our nasty winters. That means it would have to be a small dog so it wouldn't feel claustrophobic in our house.

I looked at our rescue shelter's website and found:
7,854,362 cats
a dog who doesn't like men
a dog who doesn't like women
dogs who don't like children
a dog who doesn't like people
a dog who likes to run away a lot
a rottweiler
a pit bull

And this is as far as I've gotten.

What I'm looking for here is any and all advice, input, pet adoption advice/resources, charming pet stories, favorite dog/puppy training books, whatever you've got. Ed: I'm fine with information on getting a dog from a breeder, too. I have no preconceived ideas. Help!


  1. Maybe expand your search to "neighboring" shelters?

    And I am guessing rabbits are out as well?

  2. I've thought of looking at neighboring shelters. A lot of them have a limit on how far away from them you can live and adopt, though.

    Right! No rabbits.

  3. We got our dog when my oldest was just 15 months old and I was pregnant with my second. I cannot explain why we decided that was the right time to get a dog... it just seemed ok at the time. We got an English Bulldog (from a breeder) and he has always been a perfect angel with the kids and babies. Since then I have had a couple of family members get absolutely wonderful dogs from the shelter. Next time I want to get a shelter dog too. Although there is nothing wrong with breeder dogs, either.
    I like Tamar Gellar's books for dog training.

  4. Thanks, Mimi! I have no problem with breeder dogs. I was just trying to communicate that looking on the pet rescue site is all I've done so far. We might have better luck with a breeder out here in the boonies.

  5. Okay, you got me started.

    I LOVE my dog. He is a one-year-old Labradoodle - mid-sized but there is a miniature breed as well - and he is absolutely a perfect family dog. Loves the kids, is very gentle, has the Labrador personality but does not shed (important due to my husband's and sons' allergies).

    We got him when my youngest was just turned three, with the thinking that he would be going to doggie heaven about the time the kids would be (God willing) ready to think about leaving home for university.

    Since you have a baby, I might suggest that getting an older puppy (if you wanted a puppy) might be a good idea - one who is already house-trained and who is mostly through the teething stage, just to cut down on your own workload.

    That's wonderful Katherine is not allergic to dogs. I find my dog to be a wonderful companion when the kids are not here, and I have comfort sending them to play in the backyard when the dog barks at strangers (we live within walking distance to a LRT station, and sometimes less-than-desirable people are in the neighbourhood).

  6. Don't give up on the pitt bulls or rotties. We have a bull terrier (related to pit bulls) and he is a wonderful family dog! He isn't great around other dogs, but he is great with the boys.

  7. These are great comments! This is just the kind of insider information I'm looking for.

  8. I think you should get a dog. Dogs are awesome. And I think you should get it from a breeder (not a pet store cuz you'd probably end up with a puppy mill dog). I know lots of people have found AMAZING shelter dogs, but I know others who have had not so great experiences-- dogs that turned out to be biters or runawayers or attackers or otherwise Not Good for the family. And since your girl has already had to go through giving up a pet once, it might make sense to spend the extra $$ and get a dog from a breeder (to cut out some of the unknown).

  9. We got our dog from a breeder in Pennsylvania (and found a Dairy Queen on the way!). We have a French bulldog and she's great with our little guy (dog came first). If you're interested I'll get the information of the breeder for you since they might be (somewhat) close.

    We went to a breeder because we wanted a Frenchie and figured it would be tough to find one at a shelter. If we were to get a second Frenchie, we would either check the French Bulldog Rescue Network...or go back to the same breeder.

  10. i think dogs are awesome. if i could give any advice it would be this: in a rush to get a pet, dont settle on a dog you only sorta like, or one who is a breed that seems iffy.

    our late dog lulu, was a rottweiler/lab mix. we got her at the shelter when she was only a few weeks old. she was tiny, adorable and they said she was a "lab mix." no mention of the rottweiler. neither myself or the hubs had ever owned a rottweiler so we didnt know. she was the worst puppy i had ever had in my life. we found out later that this breed mix is notoriously hard to train. the spazziness of the lab mixed with the stubbornness of the rottweiler is an awful combo. not to mention the size! within a year she was almost 100 pounds.

    well, you know the rest. of course she ended up being a great dog, one of the best i had ever owned. and she was incredibly devoted to our family, but it took a good four years to train her. it was a lot of work. seriously, there were times that dog brought me to tears.

    all this just to your research. i think there are even websites where you can take quizzes to find the perfect breed for you.

  11. I'm not a huge fan of dogs, only because they are higher maintenance than other pets. You can't leave them home alone for a weekend trip, and it's not always easy to take them with you. They can be wonderful companions though, and great playmates. You may check to see if there are any training programs nearby for companion dogs/seeing eye dogs. Often they have dogs that are amazingly well behaved and well trained, but not quite suited for living as an assistance dog for handicapped persons. My neighbor has gotten both her dogs from the local Pilot program training center, and they are great dogs.
    I have not researched it, but I have heard that dogs and horses are sometimes cross reactive, so you may want to explore that to see if there really is a link.
    Also, have you considered a chinchilla? My best friend loves hers. Just a random suggestion.
    Good luck finding a pet that fits into your family!

  12. Just wanted to say Good luck and I'm so glad that Katherine is lucky enough to have parents who "get" how much it stinks to have your early birthday present sent away because of allergies.

  13. I'd go with a hypoallergenic breed even if she tested negative. My little guy tested OK for cats for several years, and then tested positive for them. Following the allergist advice and much to my daughters great trauma, we gave our two cats to Grandma. His asthma improved greatly. I think these allergies can be in flux over several years especially when you're dealing with kids with multiple allergies. The worst would be having to take another pet away. On the other hand, we are starting little guy on shots for several environmental allergies this fall and hoping that at some point we may get the cats back.

  14. We have a lhasa apso, who is a sweet, small dog who's content to lay around the house all day and go for leisurely walks. He's very good with our two year old who, well, he's two. Oh, and no shedding! BUT, that does mean he needs to be groomed every 6-8 weeks.

    That said, I would keep two things in mind.

    1. They are puppies for nearly two years. Puppies with a lot of energy, needing training, housebreaking, etc.

    2. Dogs are high maintenance. Do you travel a lot? Spend a lot of time out of the house? I know you've probably thought about all of this, but it always kind of cramps our style when we realize we have to head home to take care of the dog, or find someone to housesit if we want to go on vacation.

    Again, we love our dog and wouldn't trade him for the world, just a few thoughts from someone who has been there.

  15. Oh, one more comment (sorry, long-winded today). I know a family who kept getting rescue pets and then had to get rid of them because of an incident with their children. Just recently they had to get rid of one of their dogs because he attacked their 7-year-old (unprovoked). So, some rescue pets can be awesome, but depending on the breed or their background some never get over the abuse they sadly suffered. In a family with small children, I think those dogs are just not appropriate, because then they have to be given up in the end...sad.

  16. I know it is horrible and all, but I would really lean towards getting a dog from a reputable breeder.

    I hear pugs are really good little family dogs who are not prone to snapping. (This is high on my list as a big 'no-no'.) I can't remember about them being hypoallergenic or not, but I know poodles are hypoallergenic and they also come in small sizes. :)

  17. I am so very sorry to hear of your daughters allergic reaction to her new pet... Inspired by Tasha Tudor we had a sweet, beautiful little to mid size welsh corgi. They will steal your heart! Blessings to you on your search!

  18. It is my first time here and I enjoyed very much reading your post. You got a cool blog in here. :)

  19. I'm not a big fan of dogs, so I can't recommend anything in that area...but just wondering...what about little chicks? They're cute, small, and easy to maintain...and when they become hens maybe they'll lay eggs for you!

  20. There are siberian allergan free cats that are guaranteed not to cause an allergic reaction. I understand some breeders will give you a full refund if you have an allergic reaction. I haven't had any experience with them yet, but my husband wants to get one.. however, right now I have my hands full changing diapers and trying to keep up with my dairy free family. I would search to find a catterie in your area to check and see if you have a problem. Many different catteries' have different policies, so I would shop around.

  21. I don't really have any helpful suggestions. I am just so sorry. We found out about 2 years ago that my allergic son is allergic to both cats and dogs. My son also has asthma. We had 2 older house dogs at the time. They have both since died and it was just so hard, knowing that we couldn't get another.
    I'd go with a dog, if I could, because I just love them.

  22. Weeeellll, we all know I'm partial to labs. But that's just me. :)

    I have thus far stuck with either breeders and one teenaged kid who didn't understand what being a pet owner was really about when getting dogs. I'm not down on shelter dogs at all, but with young kids around all the time, I feel like it's important for me to know every single thing that dog has ever experienced. I don't want to find out the hard way that New Dog was beaten with a video game controller and will freak out if it comes around one.

    I'm so sorry that your daughter had to lose her gp! But, this will be exciting, too, at least.