Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Dawgs

I've always been a cat person. There were some dogs I liked, but I loved every cat I met. Then I met my husband, who I love even more than cats, and he's violently allergic to them. A few hours spend in the presence of cat dander renders him unable to breathe without medication. When we moved into our house which had been inhabited by the previous owners' indoor cats, we took great care to have the rugs thoroughly cleaned, and even removed in a couple of the rooms (exposing the hardwood floors underneath....gotta love an older house!). He still ended up in the emergency room a few days after we moved in, and had to sleep with a HEPA filter running for months afterward. So for 13 years, we lived without pets.

My in-laws had been making noises for some time that we should get Sam a dog. He'd gone through a period of several years starting when he was about a year old where he'd been primally terrified by animals, and over the last couple of years had been getting over it. MIL kept hearing stories from friends about how great dogs were for kids with special needs. We resisted the idea for a couple of years; our lives were crazy enough already, why bring another dependent creature into the mix? Then last September at a party, a co-worker showed me pictures of her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I'd always said if I ever get a dog, this was the breed I wanted. They're small but not yappy, they're good with kids, fairly mellow, and best of all, they don't smell. So I contacted the breeder that her dogs came from and two months later, Voila! Byron enters the picture:

So fast forward 5 months, and I get an e-mail from Byron's breeder saying she has some pups that she's looking for homes for, at a discounted price yet. I'd been having some pangs of guilt about Byron being alone during the day while Sam is at school, and kept having people tell me that dogs, especially Cavaliers, are so much happier with another doggie companion, and....

Coco joins the family! She's Byron's half-sister (same father) and they get along like brother and sister...fighting over a toy one minute and curling up together to nap the next. She's much more of a cuddly dog than Byron, and so far much easier to train. So we've gone in the space of 7 months from a no-pet family to a Two Dog Family, and it seems to be working out very well. Oh, and Doug's allergies don't seem to be triggered by the dogs.

They both love Sam and vie for his attention. When he wants puppy kisses, he sits down on the floor and purses his lips, and soon both pups are eagerly licking his face. It's amazing how Byron especially seems to understand him; he'll let Sam take a toy right out of his mouth, and is so tolerant of Sam's sometimes clumsy attempts to pet or hug him. I still can't say that I love all dogs, but I sure love ours!


Blogger Maya's Granny said...

One year when I was teaching Montessori, we had a child in class who would not work with the equipment or talk to anyone, child or teacher. She sat in a corner by herself and my team teacher and I were very worried. Then, one day my team teacher had to bring her Malamute, Tundra, to school. Tundra approached the girl and sat with her all day. The child hugged the dog and whispered to him. We had Tundra in class from then on and he brought this child totally into the classroom. She would do things and show Tundra, she would talk to Tundra, then she would talk to us as long as Tundra was there. And then, and then! It took about three months but a miracle happened and no one could have picked out which child she was just from knowing that one of the three year old girls had once had that problem.

12:30 AM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Yes, it's really amazing how kids respond, and how these dogs respond to kids. Coco is a little more timid, but Byron will spot a child 100 yards away and get very excited and want to go visit.

My SIL has trained their miniature Dachshund to be a therapy dog. I'm thinking when Coco gets a bit older, this might be something I'd want to explore, as she seems to have the right temperament for it.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Linda Atkins said...

Pseu! I didn't know you had a blog--it's great. I like all the photos. The picture of the two dogs together is darling!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Thanks! Joycelyn starting up her wonderful blog inspired me to resurrect mine. I'm still playing around with the title trying to come up with something both clever and descriptive. :-)

3:54 PM  

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