It’s been quite some time since the old man in our house, Mr. Bentley, passed away. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I missed him as much as I did (even though he was really a momma’s boy).
Liz was ready for a new dog a lot sooner than I was. She was looking at rescue groups and searching for breeds long before I was ready to even think about it. Something inside her just knew that our lives needed another furball running around the house.
Me, on the other hand… I was perpetually on the fence. Liz would show me some breed and I would always find something wrong with it. Or I would say something vague and unhelpful like… “too small” or “too big” or I would point to dogs I knew Liz didn’t like and say things like… “Oh this breed is really awesome, let’s get that one.”
In general, I simply wasn’t prepared for a dog. I was stressed out at work, and the economic downturn made me wonder if I would be working at all. The winter had forced me back to driving, not to mention the cold itself which sucks no matter how you slice it. Finally, the reality of living two lives (one in Chicago and one in Champaign) was dragging into its third year.
In the meantime, as I was stewing in my juices… Liz was learning about breeds. She studied Keeshonds, Irish Wolf Hounds, Akitas, Brussels Griffon and a few others. We even went to a couple of dog shows. One breed stood out above all the others throughout this process: Bernese Mountain Dog.
The funny thing about the Bernese Mountain dog… was that Liz had found a breed I couldn’t find something wrong with. Sure… they’re big, but they’re not too big. They have incredibly gentle temperaments. Sure they shed a lot, but so do pugs (though not as much due to the size difference of course). So, I was basically stuck with saying stuff like… maybe next summer or after we leave Champaign-Urbana. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Or I would point to the economic downturn and say something like… dogs cost money.
By this point Liz had joined us in a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue group… and we had an opportunity to foster Carly, a wonderfully sweet 7 year old that was eventually adopted by a family in New Jersey. I think that experience really cemented it for Liz, and I could feel the ice in my personal stress pond starting to melt a little.
Liz then started contacting breeders. It wasn’t that we would have been less happy adopting a full grown dog, but Liz wanted the puppy experience. It’s possible that some kind of biological clock was ticking, but I think part of it too is that Liz wants a dog she can train for therapy work… and that’s much harder to find in a rescue dog.
Anyway, she talked to a few breeders, and finally settled on one in Salt Lake City. Coincidence or convergence… either way, we had a chance to see the breeder, Mary-Ann Bowman, when we visited SLC last fall. You can check out her blog at… http://www.kaibabbmd.blogspot.com/.
I think that by now you know what this is building up to. Mary-Ann’s beautiful Berner, Cadi, had a litter soon after we visited SLC. There were 8 puppies… 4 boys and 4 girls. As the puppies were growing, Mary-Ann posted pictures and stories, and Liz would show me the photos every day. Over the course of eight weeks, I started getting a bit more excited about the idea of getting a puppy. At some point I started checking the blog on my own without Liz’s prompting. I mean… once you start seeing the pictures, how can you resist?
One interesting tidbit about this particular litter of puppies… Even though Liz had expressed an interest with the breeder, we weren’t entirely sure that we were going to get one of the puppies. You see, there were several people interested in this litter. I’m glad we made a connection with Mary-Ann on our visit to SLC. I’m fairly certain that’s what put us over the top in Mary-Ann’s eyes.
OK… I think you’ve suffered through enough of my crappy writing. Without further ado, I am proud and happy to introduce to you all… Kaibab’s Green Tara, aka Tara, our new puppy. She is named after Green Tara, the buddhist goddess of compassion. So… after all my griping, guess who named the dog. That’s right.. me. Liz was right. It was time for a new puppy.
And now… what you’ve all been waiting for… PUPPY PICTURES!!!!