3/07/2011

Constellation Class

For about six months, Tim and I have been going back and forth on the pros and cons of getting another dog. On the one hand, we mused, the kiddo is in love with Cassi, but she wants nothing (or, perhaps, less than nothing) to do with him and a puppy would want to play with him. On the other hand, a puppy is a good deal of work and do we really have the time, energy, and inclination to put forth that kind of effort? And so we went, round and round, while I occasionally checked into sheltie breeders in the nearish area to see if there were even any puppies available that could end up being part of our home.

In the middle of January we started a behavior chart with the kiddo, one aspect of which was treating the dog nicely and leaving her alone when she indicated it was time to do so, and that sort of thing. This was a precursor to the subtle realization that we would be getting a new puppy, even if we could bring up rational and reasonable objections not to - it was still, pretty much, fait accompli. And so, we figured, we'd best just make sure we'd battened down the hatches as much as possible.

I found two litters of shelties and corresponded with their breeders. The first had two available but wanted $1K for them. And as I wanted a dog, not air fare to Ireland, I looked at the other breeder. His puppies were much more reasonable but the more I chatted with him and looked at his website the less I felt like those were the puppies for us. Something just seemed...not kosher. I think, ultimately, it boiled down to two things for me: 1) he had two litters born at relatively the same time and, while they were kept separate and things seemed ok, that just didn't sit well for me. 2) He doesn't keep his dogs in the house. He has a concrete floor kennel out back with concrete dog runs and it just felt very...institutional. The breeders we've worked with in the past have still treated their dogs as pets - even if they're champion show dogs, they're still members of the family and in the house and around people and just loved - very clearly loved. And I didn't get that vibe from him.

So, on a whim (and because part of our back and forth had been thinking of getting a larger dog than a shetie this go-round since Mr. Rough and Tumble would really love someone who would rough and tumble back), I looked up Collie breeders and found one with a litter and got in touch. Turned out his puppies were all gone, but he recommended me to a breeder friend of his (who was even closer to us, score!) and she still had one puppy that she had been planning to keep and show, but one eye is, supposedly, rounder than the other.

On Friday, we drove out to meet him (and the breeder, of course, but really, we went to meet the puppy) and that ball of sweetness and light came home with us that very day. (I've looked for the round eye, I have...but all I see is velvety chocolate love when I stare into his eyes).  Cassi was fine on Friday. On Saturday she was looking a tad annoyed. Today she's downright horked, but I think she's on her way out of that funk and will, in time, appreciate that he keeps the little one so entertained she doesn't have to deal with him at all.

Cassi, as you might remember, is short for Cassiopeia. And so this lovely lad is Orion.

  

I took him to the vet on Saturday (as you do) and they were all as in love as we are - he's just a sweetheart. And really...I think I may be over shelties (I know, I know, sacrilege!) and fully on board the collie bus. I've signed us up for puppy classes - because while my "I think I remember that from 4H" dog training skills worked well enough for a small dog...you can't have an untrained big dog.

Hopefully before too long I'll have stories of the two dogs playing together to share. For now, I'm just happy that they'll lay in the same general area of the kitchen together without bloodshed.

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