Sooooo, we got a dog for Christmas! Are we crazy? We've been asked many times, and apparently, yes! Here's how it all went down...
Sometime in September, Maggie and I went for a walk ("girl time") with the baby and she talked my ear off about dogs. She shared which of her friends had dogs, which dog breed was the cutest in the world, and which dog even had his own book series. I knew my daughter loved dogs, but I didn't know she was so into them. It started my wheels turning, and I wondered if we really had any reason NOT to get a dog.
Phil and I had a conversation that night, and I think he was surprised that after years of saying we would never get a dog (another thing to feed and care for!) I was opening myself up to the possibility. Call it a moment of weakness, call it temporary insanity, call it what you will...I was getting excited at the thought of our family having a pup. And then I realized that if we could do it for Christmas, I wouldn't have to do too much Christmas shopping...the dog would be the big gift! And that basically sold this tired mom of seven on the idea.
A dog for Christmas, now what kind of dog did we want? We researched breeds and spent so much time looking at sites like petfinder.com to find rescue dogs, only to fill out applications and follow leads to then be turned away because we had too many children, too many young children, a cat, worked outside the home, or no fenced in yard. It was maddening. These dogs need a good loving home, with people to play with, good food, and lots of exercise. We could provide all that! These dogs were homeless! But we kept running into dead ends and eventually just started looking at breeders. Of course, when you go that route, you have to be very careful of puppy mills, and we talked to a bunch of breeders and googled their names/company's names to determine if they were legit. The whole search was exhausting. Down in Amish country, there were a LOT of puppy mills, just an FYI.
Finally we settled on getting a Havanese dog. The Havanese are small, hypoallergenic, and smart dogs that don't need tons of space and are very loyal.
|Cute little doggie|
We had quite a few leads with some Havanese breeders, but we couldn't find one that was older than newborn pup and younger than 2. Those were our age requirements. I know it sounds picky, but we decided if we couldn't get exactly what made sense to our family then we weren't getting a dog just to get a dog. If we couldn't find one before Christmas, then we were just going to postpone the whole thing, We knew this "purchase" wasn't a one day gift, this was a lifetime family member and we didn't want to settle. We learned that Phil's uncle had a Havanese, and his friends were breeders! We went that route only to discover they had retired from breeding, but had friends who were still in the business. Those friends ended up not having any puppies for us, but knew of an older woman who had died and left behind a young Havanese! We were so excited only to discover that the lady's family wanted to keep the dog. There were tons of stories like this which would raise our hopes then dash them to pieces. Not that I'm dramatic ;) It wasn't looking good.
Somehow in the countless hours of searching for our perfect pet, Phil started looking at the doodle breeds - labradoodles, goldendoodles, anything that was bred with a poodle to keep the shedding to a minimum. We found a labradoodle about two hours away from us that was almost three years old and needed a new home. Phil went to visit and just didn't have a great feeling about the place she had been raised in. They had no vet records, she wasn't spayed, and she looked older than two. She was sweet though, she just didn't seem like the perfect fit. But now we at least were open to a breed like her. So we honed in on the doodle breeds, specifically the goldendoodle, as they seemed to be a perfect family dog that would work well for us. A coworker of ours helped us out by giving us her contact for a goldendoodle breeder but they didn't have any in time for Christmas. We started thinking maybe we could just give the kids a card that said "We're getting a dog! At some point in the future!" but really hoped to actually give them a dog instead.
Without knowing, Phil and I both found a goldendoodle breeder near Boston that looked promising. We didn't mention it to each other for awhile because the price was high. But she was a home breeder and the dogs lived in her house, not outside in a kennel, and you could tell she was in love with these animals. Eventually I mentioned her to Phil and he remarked he had seen it to, so he called and had a long conversation with her. She had five kids, all grown now, and thought a goldendoodle would work so well with our family. And the best part is that she had 4 month old dogs for sale! She is not too tech-savvy and just sells mostly by word of mouth, and had a couple of four month olds left from an August 10th litter. We asked if there were any smaller ones, and any females, and she had one smaller female named Lady. Phil went up to visit and knew Lady was the one. Super sweet, but not yippy or nippy or jumpy as puppies can be. He came home, we talked about it quickly and decided that this was the one. We mailed a deposit and told the breeder to start calling her "Lucy" as Phil first met her on St. Lucy's Day.
So we had found our dog! Now to get ready to bring her home! A generous coworker gave us a nice big crate and dog bed they no longer needed, the breeder told us she eats Nourish dog food, and we asked around to see what dog toys to have available for her. The main consensus was a Kong, pigs ears, Nylabones, and small treats to train with. We got the book Puppies for Dummies from my sister-in-law, and went on sites like wag.com (the sister site of diapers.com!) to gather our goodies. I think I want to transition her off of the Nourish dog food and onto something easier to find, so any recommendations for dry dog food would be lovely.
On Christmas Eve morning, Phil went to pick up Lucy and brought her straight to the vet for a checkup and some shots. The plan was to keep her at my mom's house and then sister's house until Christmas morning, but upon seeing how nervous Lucy was away from her mom and siblings for the first time, Phil decided that we should just give her to the kids on Christmas Eve. You can watch the (sometimes sideways) video here. They were so excited but we shushed them as to not scare the dog, and although she was very weary the first day, she is totally part of the family now! Lucy gets lots of walks and attention, and she's such a good soul. If all goldendoodles are like her, then I can't recommend this breed enough! She is learning how to sleep in her crate without crying/barking (it's been a couple sleepless nights around here between the twins - Brendan and Lucy) but it's getting better. She seems to like dirty diapers and laundry (eeewww) but isn't too much of a pain otherwise. We are so happy to have her and she seems to love us too (Phil and I especially because she ain't no fool).
|Maggie's in heaven|
The twins :)
And that was the tail (ha!) of Lucy Doodle Martin. We won Christmas this year and we'll never live up to that level of awesomeness again, but I'm okay with that. Go see Kelly for more quick takes and See Ya 2016! Hit me up with any puppy tips, please!!!