We need a dog!

I have made it clear to the Webmaster that someday, I want a dog. I firmly believe that pets are important for kids to have, and a dog can be a good companion and protector for a child. And I think it’s even more important because we have a son – boys and dogs just belong together.

The Webmaster, on the other hand, is more of a cat person. (For the record, I also like cats.) While he doesn’t hate dogs, he doesn’t have any particular liking for them either. He knows that this is a battle he is going to eventually lose, but he’s determined not to go down without a fight.

However, I think my cause was advanced greatly on Tuesday.

Carter’s Mom and Carter’s Dad came to dinner Tuesday evening, and brought their lively, lovable puppy Carter with them. He was immediately in seventh heaven checking out our backyard, sniffing everything and greeting the dog next door – until he was barked at, and then he beat a quick retreat. He’s still a dog in training, so Carter’s Mom and Dad were carefully watching him, and making sure that he followed their rules.

While he may have been a bit much for Baby Boy to take (though he didn’t cry or get run over by Carter), the Munchkin positively adored him. She is used to dogs, thanks to my parents’ German Shepherd mix, Rusty. Rusty is older, though, and while he will gladly chase a ball and run around with the Munchkin, he is also very gentle with her and Baby Boy and not as exuberant. I’ve never had a moment’s concern about Rusty being around my kids, though he has made them cry when they were babies – usually by startling them when barking.

Carter’s energy matched the Munchkin’s in full measure. He spent the evening chasing balls and running around our backyard, and the Munchkin went at full speed after him. The Webmaster and Carter’s Dad kept close watch on kids and dog in the backyard, while Carter’s Mom and I stayed inside with Thomas Kemper sodas and the Stampin’ Up catalog.

I talked to Carter’s Mom about my desire for a dog, and how I really want to get a puppy when the Munchkin is about 4 or 5, and basically raise the dog with the kids. By that time, the kids will be old enough to realize what goes into taking care of a pet, and that dog will be theirs for life.

I also reminisced about Kobi.

Kobi was the dog of my childhood. We got her from one of my preschool teachers – her dog, Sugar, had a litter of puppies, and to my absolute shock and delight, Mom said we were going to bring one of the puppies home with us. I was 4 and a half years old, and I’ve never forgotten it. The Captain was 2 and a half, and even though Kobi belonged to the whole family, she bonded with the Captain. She slept on his bed for years – so much so that there used to be a ring of golden fur on his comforter. Kobi came to the family shortly before Little Cousin’s Mommy was born, so the dog was always around as far as she knew. But I remember that day that we brought this golden retriever/cocker spaniel mix puppy home as one of the shining moments in my early childhood. I was even responsible for naming her… sort of. My parents picked “Kobi” because when I was learning all my Star Wars characters as a two-year-old, I couldn’t say “Obi-Wan Kenobi” properly – it came out “Obi-Wan Kobi” and they thought that would be a good name for a dog someday.

Kobi was a loving dog to us kids, but a fierce protector. She barked like mad whenever someone came to the front door, and she needed to check the person out before the barking stopped. She was gentle with children and never barked at them (once she saw them), but adults were suspect until she’d given them the once-over. My Ojichan was fond of her, and it was his usual routine to go straight for the dog biscuits whenever he came over to give Kobi one.

By the time Auntie was born, Kobi was old for a dog. She lasted a few more years, and was blind, arthritic, and incontinent by the time my parents decided to put her to sleep. I was nineteen, and my mother called me at work to say that they were going to do it. I broke into tears. My Dad and the Captain dug a grave in my parents’ backyard, and my sisters and I cried and said good-bye as we tossed flowers in on top of her. My parents found a little stone puppy figure somewhere and bought it – it now marks her grave in my parents’ Japanese garden.

I want that for my kids. I want them to grow up loving a dog who loves them back, who plays with them and will be the companion of their childhoods. I loved Kobi so much and still miss her, and I want to be able to give that same gift of love and companionship to them.

And, to my delight, Carter had worn the Munchkin out so much that she fell asleep immediately that night, and slept so hard that we had to wake her the next morning.

And that is really why we need a dog – to wear the kids out. In the meantime, though, I think we’ll be inviting Carter’s Mom and Dad over to dinner again very soon… and we’ll welcome Carter with open arms.

4 Responses to “We need a dog!”

  1. Little Cousin's Mommy
    August 3rd, 2006 06:43

    I miss Kobi, too. I like watching the video of us at the old house, when Kobi was still young and energetic. That’s how I like to remember her.

    Oddball and I definitely want a dog for Little Cousin and any siblings she will get. But I can wait until Little Cousin is older, too, and I doubt we’ll get one while here in Texas.

    Oddball’s dog, Jewel, a black lab, is currently at his parents’ house and he misses her. Deep down, he knows he might not see her again and admits that she might be neglected by them. But that dog adores him, jumping all over him when he arrives, wanting to be right beside him at meals (probably because he tends to drop things), and getting “depressed” when he leaves. Oddball thinks a part of this is that since Jewel is his dog, and not a family dog, and that he is the only one who ever played with her. He is also one of the few people that she will listen to (she ignores his parents), Oddball credits that to knowing how to “talk” to dogs. Jewel listens to me for the same reason, but I think the dog views me as “the other woman” in his life.

    Dogs are special for kids. And there are more benefits than companionship. Kids with dogs have fewer allergies (I don’t know why, but there have been clinical studies). Also, kids with dogs do not have a timidity with animals later. Having a healthy fear of strange animals is one thing, but people who freak out about the nicest, friendliest dog (wagging its tail) are just being irrational. Mean dogs won’t be wagging their tails and smiling (yes, dogs smile)!

  2. Dozeymagz
    August 4th, 2006 05:11

    That was nice learning about your dog. It’s so nice to be able to share with the world about something or someone who is very special to you. Good luck in your quest!

  3. Mormondaddy
    August 4th, 2006 10:38

    Dogs are great! Do you have any idea what breed you want? Large? Medium? Small? I have a Beagle and a mini Shnauzer. I grew up with a Shih Tzu and my brother breeds Boxers…. so wherever I go I’m around dogs. I think getting a dog is a great idea. Your kids would absolutely love a puppy!

  4. Juliet
    August 4th, 2006 21:55

    Dear Deanna,

    Cats rule.
    Dogs drool.

    Phoebe and Sabina