For those of you who don't know the back story, our dog Fender passed away a few months ago. I had had him since he was 11 weeks old. I raised him, trained him, and he was the best dog imaginable. He moved around with me countless times. We had tons of adventures at the Shelby Farms dog park. He loved playing with possums and chasing deer. He was the sweetest 150 lbs. you could ask for. During my labor, he was by my side the entire time. He walked the neighborhood with me and slept next to the birth tub and ate jellybeans out of the midwives' hands. Once Perrin got here, Fender became the ideal big brother. He guarded Perrin from the ever scary vacuum cleaner. He shook whenever Perrin cried. He snuggled with all of us in our bed. And even though he was generally a little too eager on the leash for Joey and I, he walked slow and gentle whenever Perrin was the one walking him.
He started having trouble using the bathroom, so we took him to the vet and they discovered that he had a huge mass blocking his GI tract and putting pressure on his hip. Surgery would be incredibly expensive and he, being an 8 year old giant breed, was unlikely to survive. We thought we were going in to the vet to get some dog laxative, and we ended up not getting to take our dog home. We were all so heartbroken.
Joey and I had always said that after Fender we would take a break from dogs for a while. Fender was expensive to board, racked up huge vet bills, and we weren't sure we wanted to tackle all of that again anytime soon. But after a few dogless months, we realized we really missed having a dog in our family. Fender was such a good dog; he really made us realize how much a dog added to our family. Perrin is about to be four and is old enough to really be interested in the idea of training and caring for a dog. (Not that we expect him to do much of it, but it's nice that he wants to be involved). So we decided to start testing the waters of dog adoption. We had no idea how complicated it would be.
For anyone who doesn't know, we feel very strongly about adopting animals from shelters and rescues. So we started with the local animal shelter, PACC. They have so many amazing dogs that need homes and are often at capacity. We did some searching online and narrowed down a list of about 10 dogs that seemed like they'd be a good fit age and breed wise. We went in and spent some time checking them out and playing with a couple. We found one awesome pit mix who snuggled right up into Joey's lap. We decided to take the day to discuss it. After coming to the conclusion that we thought she would be a good fit for our family, Joey went back to the shelter the next day. Unfortunately (for us anyway) she had been adopted as well as the other dogs we had looked at. We were glad they found homes, but a little bummed since she seemed like such a good fit for our family. We decided to get our house ready and get all the necessary dog supplies (we had donated all of Fender's stuff after he died) so that once we found "the one" we cold bring them home immediately if necessary.
A friend of mine who fosters through a local rescue generously offered one of her kennels to us. When I went to pick it up, she mentioned a litter of puppies that were in her rescue that were out for adoption day at a local pet store. I didn't think much of it because Joey had always shown preference for adult dogs, but after mentioning it to him we decided that one of the puppies might actually be right for us. So I raced over to the pet store, only to find out that the entire litter had already been adopted. Once again, we were happy for their forever homes, but a little sad that we had missed what seemed like another great opportunity.
A few other puppies and dogs were also at the pet store, so I chatted with the foster workers about them for a bit. One very young puppy was labeled as an American Bulldog mix, a breed I had always been interested in. I snapped some pictures of her and the other puppies and sent them to Joey and chatted a little bit longer. That night, Joey and I decided to fill out an adoption application for her. But over the next few days, after speaking with my friend from the foster group and our roommate who is a vet tech, we started to doubt if she was really the dog we were looking for. Being so young, it was hard to tell exactly what kind of mix she was or how big she would be. She was only 9 pounds at ten weeks, so there was a very real chance she could have some terrier or other small breed in her and may not even reach 30 pounds. While she still looked beautiful and seemed to have an excellent personality, we were looking for a slightly larger dog with a less ambiguous make up.
That led us to look more into one of the other puppies ta the foster- a lab/shepherd mix. She was 4 1/2 months, so here features were more developed and there was less of question about what her breeds may be. She was also already 30 lbs, and obviously wasn't getting any smaller, so we knew she would be a larger sized dog. I spoke with a woman from the rescue and after discussing it, we decided that this puppy would probably be the best fit for our family. So last Saturday we were able to go spend some time with her, sign the paperwork, and bring her home!
Joey and I decided to make it a sort of early birthday present for Perrin, so I came home with her and surprised him. He got to take her to Pet Smart to make her tag and pick out a few toys. We're excited for her to get acclimated to our home, cats, and chickens, and to begin the process of training and socializing. Joey has never had to train a dog, and we want Perrin to feel involved in the process, so we are going to sign up for formal classes. Her foster family had named her Quinn, but after going back and forth about a handful full of names, we decided to let Perrin name her. His pick was Icky! We decided on Iki, to make it a little less weird. So here she is, our Iki.