Growing up, I had two dogs.
The first dog was a black and white cocker spaniel named Rascal. She was a puppy and had a ton of energy. I think I was about seven when we had her. I remember her chewing on my Barbie dolls and her running in the yard. I also remember Dad installing an “invisible fence” to keep her in the acreage yard. Other than that, my only other memory is giving her to a farm because we couldn’t keep her anymore. She was too much energy for our family, especially with my sister and I so young at the time.
A few years past, and I still loved dogs even though I didn’t have one anymore. I remember pestering my relatives at a big family dinner to sign as witnesses that Mom had said I could get a dog when I turned 13. Why 13, I’m not sure. (And of course I had nagged and nagged to get her to say that.)
Eventually, my 13th birthday came around, and my parents and I agreed that I could get a dog. I don’t remember if I had my heart set on a certain breed – I just knew that I wanted a dog. One night, I was doing an online quiz through the Canadian Kennel Club (or something like it) to find out what kind of dog breed was best-suited to our lifestyle. One of the breeds it recommended was a shiba inu, a Japanese rabbit-hunting dog that kind of looks like a fox.
So it was a funny coincidence that a few days later in the Grande Prairie Herald Tribune classifieds, there was an ad for shiba inu/minature American Eskimo pups. From what I understand now to be a puppy mill, I got Choe. I set out very earnestly to train her, although shibas are a hard breed to win over. Choe is proud, theatrical, and classy. She basically prances when you take her for walks. When we go home to visit my folks, she does what we call a happy dance and goes crazy. However, since she’s pretty much a wild farm dog (my training wasn’t quite perfect), she has continued to live with my parents in GP. I have always missed her a lot, but I know Calgary is not the place for an acreage dog.
Dana and I have been together for just over nine years, and the entire time we’ve always talked about wanting to get a dog of our own. We’ve talked more and more about it in the past year, and researched breeds and breeders. Dana has always adored golden retrievers, and we both love Mara‘s breed (cockapoo – cocker spaniel/poodle). Since the summer though, I’ve also been perusing the Calgary-area rescue dog websites.
Turns out though that (small) rescue dogs go like hot cakes in Calgary! I put in three applications at different agencies for various dogs, but each one was snapped up before we got a chance to meet the dog. I eventually said to Dana that it was probably a sign we should wait until after Christmas to look for a dog, and stopped checking the websites so frequently. I still had all the agencies on Facebook so I could see when new dogs were listed. This was when I noticed Armida, a cocker spaniel cross from Mexico.
I’ve always felt that if things are meant to happen, they will. Alternatively, if you have to force something too much, it’s not mean to be.
You know where this is going right? We applied on Wednesday to Misty Creek Dog Rescue, a few quiet days when by, and on Sunday the foster mom contacted us to see if we’d like to meet Armida.
We were nervous about her being “aggressive with other dogs” (as noted in the ad), but the foster mom has three dogs and Armida was great with them. We took her on a little walk, and although she wasn’t sure about the ice and snow, she seemed very friendly, happy, and outgoing. I think it’s safe to say Dana and I loved her immediately.
The poor dog has had an allergic reaction to something since she came to Canada, and has been itching like crazy so she has to wear a cone temporarily. She got to Canada (from Mexico) on Wednesday last week, and had been in a shelter in Los Cabos prior. Before that, she was a street dog, and had a few pups. (So there are a few Armidas running around in Mexico now, I’d say!)
To cut a long story short, we had our home visit by the agency on Monday and we passed, so we were given the go-ahead to adopt Armida! We shopped for doggie stuff on Monday night and got all the basics, and I was so excited all day Tuesday! I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.
After work, Dana picked me up and we drove through the rush hour and snow down to deep south Calgary to pick up our new dog. She was ecstatic to see us again, and sat on my lap the whole way home.
We’ve decided to call her Penny, because pennies are lucky, and we are so lucky we’ve found her.
Last night, Penny seemed to be settling in okay. She explored a bit, we took her for a little walk, and she napped on the couch while we watched TV. She has a huge appetite and is a bit curious about the garbage/recycling bin, so we’ll have to keep an eye on her. She doesn’t know her name yet, or any commands. (Or English for that matter.) But we are looking forward to training her, and showing her the love that she deserves.
Dana and I finally have our dog, and she’s the best.