Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Picking out a new dog

Once you've decided you want one, picking out a new dog can be a daunting task.  First you have to decide what kind of dog you want.  Small, medium, large?  Long-haired, short-haired, wiry?  Male, female, neutered, spayed?  Puppy, adult?  Breeder or rescue?  Purebred or mutt?

Some of those choices were predetermined because of the dog I already have.  Angel is a Great Dane, German Shepherd mix 28 inches high and weighing 76 lbs.  Because she doesn't watch where she walks, small dogs were immediately eliminated.  As were puppies.  Besides, I didn't want to housebreak or teethe another dog.

And because Angel has had knee problems severe enough to require surgery, most dogs under a year old would be too active for her.

Although she and my other female, Peanut, had gotten along, that was mostly because Angel is so submissive.  In general, one female will totally dominate, even terrorize, another.  I didn't want that to happen to my sweet girl.  So that meant choosing a male dog.

My last four dogs have been rescues of one sort or another, so that was decided.   The last choice was breed.  My vet attributed Angel's sweet temper to her Great Dane side, so I was predisposed to getting another Dane mix.  But I didn't look for them exclusively.

I spent a couple weeks looking on-line at various rescue sites.  A sweet-faced, shaggy dog was offered up for adoption, but needed knee surgery.  The rescue would pay for the surgery, but post-surgery recovery is very difficult and I didn't want to deal with it again.  Another was already named Angel.  How confusing would that be? Besides, it was part of a bonded pair.  My Angel would be the outsider.  That would not cure her depression.  Many listings said the rescue was not good with other dogs.

Then Bogie's picture caught my eye.  He was at a Great Dane rescue, but that didn't necessarily mean he was full Dane. They had some mixes.  They knew he got along with other dogs, but not much else about him.  He had been found on the street.

Something about his face intrigued me.  So I drove to Glendale, 50 miles one way, to meet him.  He was sweet and affectionate, a little energetic.  I forgot to ask who decided to call him Bogie, but the name fit him.  I drove back the next day with Angel for a meet and greet.  No sparks, but no fireworks.  We walked them around the block together and they got along fine.

I agreed to take him, but they wouldn't let me have him until the next weekend after he was neutered.  And I found that I missed him.  The week passed slowly until the day I could drive to Glendale one last time to pick him up.

Still, it can be a roll of the dice on the character of any dog you get.  I lucked out that Bogie is very civilized, but not particularly well trained.  As in, he hasn't chewed on anything that doesn't belong to him, doesn't try to steal Angel's food, he's at least partially leash-trained, but doesn't respond to the Sit,Stay, or Come commands. He's bright and will learn.  Especially with Angel to set an example.

He's sweet and goofy.  He drools a lot.  He follows me so closely that I can't turn around without hipping him out of the way.  That may pass.  I'm at least the 4th home he has known in his short life.

He is younger than I expected at 15 months.  Bigger than I realized at 110 pounds.  He didn't seem that much bigger than Angel.  He gets along wonderfully with her.  She is noticeably happier with him around.

And that was the goal.

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