Tuesday, February 25, 2014

gone to the dogs, part 1

As we are laying in bed for the night, there is a crunching noise coming from the living room as our furbaby chews on a water bottle. HK$400 on toys and she is rapturous over our plastic recycling.

Yes, SB and I are new dog owners. The story has been seven years in the making but a month ago what seemed like a pipe dream grew legs.

Seven years ago in Ithaca SB and I met a dog that stole our hearts. Coal was a four year old at the ASPCA, who our neighbors occasionally took home. They volunteered at the shelter and were very fond of Coal but were unable to have a dog. SB and I were very interested. He had some reservations with both of us fresh out of school and jobless but I started winning him over with the sob story of how Coal was deserving of a home but unlikely because he wasn't a puppy and was black. I did not know before that black dogs often get overlooked.

Unfortunately the next week SB got a job in Hong Kong and that was the end of my dreams for Coal. A year later I joined SB in hongkers and started my doggie campaign. SB put his very large, flat foot down and told me that neither of us had the time to care for a dog. It was true since he worked nine to ten hours per day and I was coming home after midnight several times per month. I was sad but I accepted my fate as a dogless person. Then I started playing rugby and slowly added other sports to fill my limited, spare time.

Over the years we have played with many dogs and I was starting to become the canine equivalent of that person who stands too close to a playground while not having any kids. I knew a large number of Happy Valley dogs by name. Last summer SB's friend, J and her husband adopted one of a litter of Borzoi-Standard Poodles that had been taken from a breeder. Buddy was physically my fantasy dog: lurcher like but with a dander free afro. He looked like a giant, floppy toy.

I loved Buddy. SB loved Buddy. J's husband loved Buddy. Unfortunately, while J loved Buddy, she was concerned and in her defense there were some not insignificant behavioral issues. J and husband tried working through the problems but when SB and I visited last month there was no Buddy. J told us that they had surrendered him. I asked where he was but she said that she had told the vet who she gave him to that she didn't want to know what happened next.

In a panic, I started calling shelters and checking on rescue center web pages for Buddy. SB agreed that we would take the dog. Sadly, we never located Buddy. I hope that he was quickly rehomed because he is a very good looking dog. I hope that whoever got him has time and patience to get him where he needs to be in terms of emotional wellbeing.

After the dog hunt, SB and I were only too aware of just how many dogs are in rescue centers and waiting for a home. We reevaluated our situation and agreed that things had changed and we were in a good place to become dog owners. I have a good job with regularish hours and SB works part time out of our home. He doesn't play rugby anymore and I had decided to quit my rugby team after we got a new coach who seems only interested in a Chinese team. I was the last of five non-local players but he finally succeeded in getting rid of me after I resisted months of being either entirely ignored or singled out and berated.

So anyway, I now only play lacrosse and we both had much more free time so we agreed that it was a good time to get a dog. The next step was finding the right fit for two weirdos in a small flat.

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