October 15, 2012

Puppy Love

This is Nala, my sweet little puppy. It's hard to believe, but exactly one year ago today she came home with us! We weren't really looking for a dog when we found her; I had been bugging my husband to get a dog for a really long time, but the timing was never right for us. We both worked full-time and so it wouldn't have been fair to bring a tiny little puppy into our home, as we wouldn't be around as often as required to train a puppy and let them out to pee every few hours. It just so happened that last fall I was coming into a two-month break in my contract at work, and I was trying very hard to plead my case with my husband that a two-month gap would be the perfect amount of time to train a puppy.

I was working him, but I honestly didn't think that my pleading was very effective. However, one Friday evening my husband came home, and when I started into him again for the millionth time about how crucial to my happiness it would be to get a puppy, he opened his laptop and started a Google search for French Bulldog puppies (the breed we had in mind). I couldn't believe my luck! But knowing my husband, this might have also been a ploy to prove to me just how impossible this idea would be - part of me figured that he would find the cutest little puppy alive and then destroy my hopes by telling me that it was too expensive, or some other logical reason for not getting a puppy that I would have a hard time arguing against.

To my surprise, this didn't happen. My husband appeared to be honestly looking for a puppy, so I soon grabbed my laptop and joined in the search for French Bulldog breeders. However, we were unable to search very long, as we had dinner plans with his family that we soon had to attend. However, dinner proved to be very useful in our dog search, as one person happened to mention something about the Toronto Humane Society which sparked and idea with me: We had not even considered looking at shelter dogs, but this would definitely be worth a shot!

So when we got home that night, my husband resumed looking online for breeders, and I started an Ontario-wide search of animal shelters. Over the course of the next three hours, several important things happened: First, we widened our search from only French Bulldogs to other small dogs; Second, my husband made it very clear that he is obsessed with Huskies; Third, we re-evaluated the size of dog we thought we wanted, and bickered about how large of a dog we could have in our small-ish house; and fourth and most importantly, I found Nala.

As you may have guessed from the picture above, Nala is not a French Bulldog; she is a Husky cross (hence her big blue eyes). I was arguing with my husband that there was no way we could possibly have a large dog in our home, and I was still in favour of getting a small dog. But when I saw Nala's picture online, her blue eyes got me. I sat there with my computer open to her picture for at least a full minute, debating with myself whether I should show her to my husband or not, because I knew that the second I did, he would likely fall in love with her too. Finally I gave in and showed him, and just as predicted he loved her instantly. This ended my husband's search for breeders and other types of dogs. The focus of the evening then became a consideration of a number of factors, which ended up with us deciding that the next morning we would venture out to the Brampton Animal Shelter when it opened and see this sweet little puppy.

The next morning my husband had a basketball game from 9-10am, and the shelter - which is at least a 45 minutes drive from our house - opened at 10am. We figured that given that Nala is so cute, we should try and get there as soon as possible. So my husband left his game and sped home as fast as possible; I met him in the driveway and we sped off the to the shelter. On the way I called them to ensure that no one else had scooped up Nala, and the advise them that we were on our way to see her, with the hopes that this meant they may hold her in case someone else wanted to adopt her before we got there.

We made it to the shelter in record time, and thankfully no one else had come to see Nala in the mean time. After speaking to us a bit, they brought Nala out to meet us. I will admit that I have a little fear of dogs that I don't know, but there was none of that with her. She literally bounded into my arms and began trying to simultaneously lick me and get me to play. I knew we weren't leaving there without her.

As per the shelter policy, we officially had to take Nala outside and play with her, while they watched how were interacted with her. Then we had to fill out about 8 pieces of paper to complete a formal adoption request, which still did not guarantee that she would be ours. Upon review of our application, it was determined that we were suitable parents, and they would allow us to adopt her that day. Thank goodness! I can't even comprehend how devastated I would have been had our application been denied.

I mostly dealt with the paperwork and the application while my husband continued to play with our soon-to-be puppy. There was still a ton of paperwork to complete once the initial application was complete, and other things to get done, like signing up for puppy training (also a requirement of the adoption), and having Nala micro-chipped. As I was busy with all of these things, I wasn't terribly aware of the other things happening in the shelter, other than recognizing that it was pretty busy.

I found it a little odd when we were finally leaving, that a woman standing in the shelter handed me a flyer with Nala's picture on it and said something along the lines of "Well I guess you need this more than me!" My arms were full of food and towels and other puppy things, so I allowed her to sit the flyer down on my pile of goods as I carried on to the car. When I got there, I told my husband what had happened, and he informed me that while I was processing the adoption, four other people had come to the shelter with the intention of adopting Nala. Once again, thank goodness we had gotten there early!

Nala is absolutely the best dog in the entire world {I realize that I am slightly biased, but still}. I can't imagine not having her, as she has brought so much fun and joy into our lives and into our house. Being that she is a Husky cross - we suspect with a German Shepherd but we don't know for sure - she sheds like crazy and there is always dog hair everywhere in my house and on my clothes. She also loves to dig, and rolling in the mud after it rains is probably one of her favorite pastimes. And belly rubs are apparently the best thing in the entire world. But as I previously discussed in my post about the similarities between puppies and children, Nala teaches me so many things, and makes me appreciate some of the smaller things in life. She is definitely a handful, but for every ounce of mischief she creates, we love her even more.

She is definitely not a small dog like we had initially set out to get, as in the picture above Nala is approximately 12 pounds, but she has grown a bunch since then and currently weights about 70 pounds. Sometimes I wonder if we need a bigger house to contain her - like when she is playing with her ball and crashing into our legs and our furniture - but never do I wonder if we should have gotten a smaller dog. She is part of our family, and I love my 'big puppy' so much!

Photo Credit: Moi

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