By: George V. Howe
Well, it finally happened…yup, we have a dog! The discussion about a family dog has been going on for a couple of years now and was never about “if” we were going to get one, but about “when” and “what”, as in “when is this going to happen?” and “what kind of breed are we going to get?” And when your 9-year old daughter is constantly organizing family meetings complete with pictures, breed comparisons and a “go/no-go vote” on puppy purchase, you know it’s probably time to take the subject seriously.
I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to having a family dog for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has to do with learning how to fetch a beer! No offense to our goldfish(s) or guinea pig but dogs become part of the family, another child so to speak, and not something you want to randomly flush down a toilet one day…meaning the fish not the dog, or the child for that matter. And, like most things in life, it comes with a lot of responsibility, something Tanis and I were not convinced the kids truly understood but are certainly old enough to realize some of the expectations that come with dog ownership.
So what kind of dog makes sense for a young family? Many of our family and friends have dogs of all shapes and sizes but everyone is different and it’s certainly not a decision to take lightly. I’ve always loved the big breed dogs versus the smaller ones, but it was a family decision so I had to put my passion for Bull Mastiffs aside, although I lobbied hard for it to the bitter end. Tanis grew up with smaller dogs, Jack Russell Terriers, but they come with a lot of energy and the potential for barking, which I viewed as a non-starter! The kids certainly had their ideas but it seemed to change daily. And let’s be honest, show a picture of a puppy, any kind of puppy, to a child and it becomes their immediate favorite. I even took a “Dog Breed Selector” survey through the AKC website – you answer a few questions about dog experience, living environment, neighborhood, kids, etc and they provide you with a match. My result was a Dachshund…NOOOOOOO…just, NO!
And if the choice of breed wasn’t hard enough there was the name! Do you wait a few days until you can observe its behavior? Or should you choose a name based on the breed’s heritage (Example: Poodle = Frenchy)? Naming pets has far more leeway than naming your children, where you have to be careful about peer acceptance or what your kid’s initials might unfortunately spell! Luckily Tanis had some experience in this area as she and her sister grew up with many animals on the farm and named them all. And not the traditional “Fluffy” or “Snowball” but distinguished dog tags like “Frisbee Theodora Thispian” and “Madison Madiana Louise Kapadison, Esq.” to name a few. Thankfully the breeder had already given her a name – Pearl, which we thought was great and wanted to incorporate into a family name.
So ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce our newest family member, an English Bulldog named Mrs. Pearl “Bogey” Boggins Howe…but you can just call her “Bogey”.