That should tell you where I’m going. Since having to give up our dog, Casey, I have been adamant about not getting another dog. With two boys, we have enough responsibility in our lives. We don’t need any more. Elisa has been asking me about getting another dog, and my response has always been the same: “No. Absolutely not. We can’t afford one. We don’t need one.“
Sunday night, for some odd reason, I said, “maybe.” That was mistake number one. She took at as an open door, sort of like illegals do concerning our laws and borders. She drove the Mack truck right on through. On Monday, I found myself driving the entire family to a house that was giving away free puppies. After all, we are JUST looking. The free puppies were not what we wanted and I dodged the bullet. My hope was that we could look around, see what was out there, pray about it for six or seven months, then make a well reasoned logical decision based on our needs and the availability of dogs that met our criteria. I even made sort of a rough list of what I wanted on a log and posted it on the Family blog yesterday.
The dog needs to be small, not eat a lot, not poop a lot, not shed, not bark a lot, not be a nuisance in anyway, be easy to kick over the fence when he/she finally sends me over the edge, be loving, good with children, not oily like a terrier, vicious like those killer dogs you hear about from time to time, not obsessive about being petted, not in need of lots of love, but willing to give lots of love, and not willing to stay here for very long!
The first set of puppies fit very few of those requirements. Again, I thought I dodged a bullet. My mind really wasn’t on the dog at all. I was going to the driving range to hit golf balls, and that was my event of the day, or so I thought. When we got to the range, I made my way into the pro shop (they actually have a pro and now sell golf clubs!), to get a basket of balls. Since I was there, I had to tell the wonderful story of my first birdie. Remember, that golf is not so much about the game as it is talking about the game. When I came out, I could tell that Elisa was upset with me. I was only in there for 5.3 minutes! Well, in golf time anyway. Joey was really giving her a hard time in the car and she wanted me to hurry. The way this works is that they sit in the car and watch a video while I hit the ball. It’s a weird sort of family time. I told her to go drive around for 45 minutes and come back and get me. That seemed to work out fine.
Until I got back in the van. We were headed for Graniteville to check out a 10-week old Maltese Falcon. (OK, I know it is only a Maltese… but I like adding Falcon to it because it gives the dog a sort of toughness to it). Then she began to explain how the dog was perfect and what she had always wanted and would make her and the rest of the family happy forever and ever and ever, Amen! Well, OK, I added that last part, the amen part. I say “maybe.” The second time I said that… the second time a truck drove through that tiny door.
I knew on the way there when we started trying to pick out names, that I was in trouble. So we went through the check list to see if there was some escape clause to be had. There was none. Once we got there, with those puppies playing with Joey and Andy, I knew the best I could do was to haggle with the lady over the price for the dog. Here’s how this dog faired on my check list.
- The dog needs to be small — Check! He will get no larger than one of my dress shoes.
- Doesn’t eat a lot — About a 1/4 of a cup, twice a day.
- Doesn’t poop a lot — see above. If he doesn’t eat a lot, stands to reason this too will be small and manageable.
- Doesn’t shed — The breeder said this breed doesn’t shed a lot.
- Doesn’t bark a lot — The breeder said this particular puppy doesn’t bark a lot.
- Not be a nuisance in anyway — remains to be seen.
- Be easy to kick over the fence when he finally sends me over the edge — of course, I wouldn’t kick the dog over the fence. At my age, I might injure myself. I would build a catapult so I could get some real distance… at least two or three yards!
- Be loving — Proven to be the case.
- Good with children — Proving to be the case.
- Not oily like a terrier — He’s not a terrier!
- Not vicious like those killer dogs you hear about from time to time — yes, he’s vicious… all .9 lbs of him!
Now for the name. We discussed names on the way over. Andy wanted to call the dog Curious George, or “T”. His favorite past time is watching “T”. Which is way too much. Both names didn’t work well. I thought of Killer, Falcon, or Vicious, Sid for short. These names were there to help people to understand the danger that he poses!
Then there were names that fit the way he looks like Snowball, Golf Ball, or Ping! (Which is a type of golf club. After all, I could have had a new driver for the cost of this dog). We also thought of Putter, Bogey or Birdie.
But we settled on Rylie, after one of my favorite Puritan preachers, J.C. Ryle. It seemed to work well when we saw him. Andy has even learned to say the name…. but it comes out like, “Rawlie.” That’s fine too.
Our first night with him went well. He only cried in the kennel for 30 plus minutes and then went to sleep. But I can tell the dog is not through costing me money. We are going to need a constant spot check carpet cleaner and who knows what else. Can we afford a dog? Heavens no. But sometimes, it seems, heaven has something else in mind!