Sunday, January 28, 2007

We got a DOG!!!!! and went and saw a dance...busy day.

BIG BIG BIG news......

We are now, the probationary owners of a DOG!


He is provisionally called Chuck.... and seems pretty good so far.

When we decided to move here the kids were, to say the least, unenthusiastic. More clearly described as hysterically opposed and wanted to be left behind...Parents? Mom? Dad? Who needs that?

We made some pretty big concessions to buy us some willingness. The whole process of getting my husband's citizenship has been very long and very expensive, so when it came through and the job was still here, we had to convince our kids that this would be a good thing. No. That isn't accurate. We could not have convinced them that this would be a good thing, because we frankly didn't know if it would be for them. We just wanted to convince them to approach the entire adventure with an open mind and at least a neutral opinion. So we addressed their greatest fears and concerns.

First was school. That was easy, we had home schooled them while they were on the boat, and before we left, so we promised them that we would not send them to school until after my husband's three month probationary period passed. We also solemnly promised them that we would not make them endure systematic bullying. That did not mean that we would pull them out the first time someone was rotten to them, but we were not going to let them get tormented endlessly. That eased the fears a lot.

The eldest girl was quite hysterical at the prospect of missing Halloween, her absolutely favorite holiday, and one that she knows she is nearing the end of at 10, and which they don't do here. What she loves about it goes beyond the candy. It is the build up, the costumes, the dressing up, the fact that the entire community gets involved...and of course the candy. We flew back to Canada for Halloween. I managed to swing enough work to pay for the trip. Urgh, but worth the happy child.

The final concession that we made was a dog. They had wanted a pet forever and ever and talked of it incessantly. I had always assumed that when we settled down enough, really got off the boat, we would get something like a guinea pig, which I had growing up and loved. Then one day out of the blue the man said, in no uncertain terms, that he would rather have a dog than a rodent. Hmmmmm. The elder child and I are both terminally allergic to cats, which is a shame as that would have been an easy way out. Great pet, lower maintenance. Ah well.

So, when the time came, a dog came up as a possible concession. I don't like to call it a bribe, although I suppose you could look at it that way, but we basically said that we were asking them to work very hard at something they didn't want to do for many years, so it seemed fair that we would cave too.

By the same token, the timing is right, the kids are a good age, nearly 8 and 11. It is someone for them to love and who will love them when things get tough here, it is a way into the community, and for me, it makes me feel safer about walking into the woods and mountains behind our village on my own when everyone else is at work or school. All around it seemed a good idea. It is my commitment, while the man is willing to pitch in, and seems happier with the dog than I had hoped, it is my commitment. Lets hope the dog works out.

We went up to the local refuge/pound today, telling the children that we would NOT be bringing a dog home today, and fully planing on just looking around. But there he was. Just the size we wanted, big enough for the man to run with, and for me to feel safe, without being enormous. Incredibly placid and calm, he has not barked at all yet, even when we were visiting...he has been trained and housebroken, and is full size. So far so good. He is beautiful as well.

He is a mutt, with a fair amount of collie in him, and some German Shepard in small corners. He is sort of lab coloured, with a collie face, he is about the size of a border collie, but not so wide, and he doesn't have the droopy bum. He has a long sweeping tail and looks faintly shepardy in the bum, but again, not one of those droopy bums. He is sweet looking, calm as all get out, curious, and timid right now. He was abandoned, lived on his own for a while, and then in the pound, so he has had a lot of changes. He is afraid of cars, some other dogs, and going upstairs...I have had to carry him every time, which he has dealt with well, if not with dignity.

He walks at heel, comes when you call - in Catalan - and seems pretty smart. He recognized the house after his last walk, hurried to the door and then waited to go in quietly. I honestly cannot imagine why someone would abandon this dog...he seems a dream.

We'll see how it goes. He was very nervous at first, but is already more relaxed, and starting to look around more for himself. he is also starting to follow me around the house, and hang out near where I am.

He has had all the medical stuff done, he's neutered, de wormed de-flead de-whatever the heck else they have to do and chipped. He has also just disdained the pansy bed we put down for him and curled up by the door on the pile of pine branches and eucalyptus leaves we have left over from Christmas. He was loose for quite some time, the refuge is up in the mountains and the cages are outside, and he may not have been allowed past the front hall in whatever house he was in. Guess the leaves smell like home. He is also probationary as the local refuge organises it so that we can all back out gracefully if it doesn't work. They don't give us the final paper, or change the chip until after ten days or so...that way we can all get to know each other before things are finalised. A very good plan to my mind.

The girls were a bit disappointed this afternoon that he was so nervous and not playful. He was very freaked out when we came back from the show tonight, and the little one, bless her sweet soul was in tears because he was so nervous. She felt bad that he was so upset, and wondered if he would be happier in the shelter. I said he probably would be in the short run, but once he got over it, he would be happier with us, we hope. He calmed down a lot in the evening and so did she. He even wandered off his mat and started to look around the place on his own. Sweet kind younger daughter went off to sleep saying that she hoped he would be happy soon. She wanted him to be happy more than she wanted to be happy herself.

We had planned to go to a dance program at the local theater tonight, and had a brief debate about whether we should go. Decide we should. Everything I had read about bringing a dog home emphasised that it was important to go out for a while. It is unfortunate that at that point he wasn't willing to leave the front hall, so we shut him in is kind of small, but I think his previous owners wouldn't let him in the house, as I had to literally drag him into the kitchen to feed him. Since then he has been more willing to come in, and is now sleeping at my feet in the living room.

The dance was amazing. It was an hour long, geared to kids, and it was based on kids playing at the beach. They were funny and talented. It was a might heavy on the props and lighting/costuming effects, but I am a bit of a purist, and certainly nothing compared to the nutcracker, let alone Andrew Lloyd Weber and his ilk.

They did some very cool stuff, but it was mostly well done and funny. We all laughed and laughed. The elder child had gone with her school as well on Friday, and the performance differed, but she still enjoyed it immensely. I wanted to get some images up, but it is too late and I am too tired to hunt them out. I had a quick look and didn't come up with them. Maybe tomorrow.

Wish us luck with the dog...The little one was getting upset about the fact that he may die. When I pointed out that with any luck at all he would make it longer than she could imagine, like when she went to university, she brightened up. She was worried he might not make it for more than a couple of years. It is amazing to see their heads go, and the look on her face when I mentioned University was hilarious.

The elder child is delighted with the dog, and has a better understanding of time and the process, and is making friends with him gradually. So far so good.

The other really big news is this: SSSSHHHHHHHHHthe bigger girl is turning 11 tomorrow!!!!!!!! WOW!

*Note to self - must buy disposable camera*


Beth said...

Yes, must buy camera!!!

I love dogs. I love my dogs and can't imagine life without them. I have always had a pet of some kind, and my kids have grown up with dogs. I think it teaches them responsibility and also, unconditional love. that dog sounds like a dream and he will love those girls like he's never loved anyone before. But it IS sad that he laid on the branches instead of his bed you made for him...makes my heart hurt ofr a little bit. But he has you now, so his life will be good.

Good luck and keep us all posted....and Happy Birthday to Oldest tomorrow! Pictures would really be great at a time like this, don't ya think? ;)

Beth said...

Congratulations on the new addition to your family - he sounds like a gem (so far).

Do post some pictures.

And a Happy Birthday to your "Big Girl" tomorrow.

Dorky Dad said...

So where are the pictures of the dog? WHERE??? I WANT DOG PHOTOS!!!

Seriously. I'm not a big dog person, but I like mutts.

Anonymous said...

Also want dog photos!!!!!! Not enough time to log in - Joanne PL

Anonymous said...

Yay a dog! Was he already called Chuck? Or Carlos? They are hard work but very rewarding and you might find you make friends with other dog walkers. When we got Gromit I discovered there was a whole world of doggy people out there that I didn't know existed.
Happy birthday to number 1 child

oreneta said...

Beth: Yeah, so far so good, although I will confess, i was getting the camera for the b-day not the dog..I imagine we will take some photos of the dog too...the second child's b-day is in 3 days so we need a camera

Beth: I will, although I have to finish the roll, get it developed, hopefully to a disk, and then won't be until after the second child's b-day on the first. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Hope your doing well, glad your still commenting anyway.

DD: he's a cute mutt.

Sis: working on it...have a good day

Boo: He didn't have a name, or at least no one knew it. We just came up with's still kind of provisional, but we're liking it so far. We wanted something the man wouldn't be embarrassed to shout in the park, and we had a book about a dog named Chuck that we liked, and he barfed in the car coming back from the refuge..up-chucked so to speak. We'll see. It'd be nice to find other routes in to meeting people, part of the plan. I'm not sure their as dog mad as the Brits, although we were told that all forms of docking and cosmetic amputations are illegal here now...

Nomad said...


A dog!!

I too am on the photo list...he sounds so very very sweet...gosh isn't abandoned animal just so sad!?

Did I hear you say Chuck?
or Chico?
How delightful.

A big Birthday hug for the oldest!!

oreneta said...

Chuck it seems to be..and I'll pass on the birthday wishes..

He is still kind of sad, lets hope he gets a bit more content.