Jason's Blog

In consideration of a dog

by on Jan.17, 2006, under General

I’ve been debating for some time now, getting a pet – specifically, a dog. I’ve debated this over the years, and here in the last week or so, this debate has finally come to more of a head. With that, the decision has been pretty well made that a dog will be entering my life. Now, the trick is to decide what dog smile

Laura and I spent a good chunk of yesterday wandering around, visiting Rock Bridge State Park, and then we went by the Central Missouri Humane Society to look at dogs. While there, I saw numerous VERY cute dogs, that I’d loved to have taken home. Here’s some of the dogs I encountered, some details and thoughts on each, as well as pictures as available on petfinder. With that introduction out of the way – let me start of by talking about this incredibly cute puppy named Gus.

First, doing a quick browse through the two sections of dogs, led to an encounter with a VERY adorable puppy of 3 months, named Gus. Gus was a black lab, absolutely adorable in nature, with very cute eyes and friendly in demeanor. Gus was also teething in a major way and chewed on anything nearby. We played with Gus for a bit, and he very nearly was the choice of the day. However, two factors came into play – the first, housebreaking. It would be MUCH simpler/easier if my dog would already be house broken. This would save a lot of work, as well as cleaning. Second, while looking at Gus, I got a return call from the land lord, who stated that puppies would not be an option unless I wanted to go through a ton of extra red tape, due to extra damage puppies could cause vs. a full size dog. SO, sadly, Gus is not an option for me at this time. However, if there are any good homes nearby, Gus is a VERY cute puppy and could use a good home.

Now, with the realization that whatever dog would be entering my life would have to be at least a year old, my decision making has become much simpler. No longer could I gaze longingly at these really cute Shepherd puppies, nor at the equally cute Collie’s puppies rolling around playing with each other. Instead, I’d have to look at a sorta-puppy, sorta-adultish, or even full-adult dog. This is where the decision making became very difficult. I’ve found several dogs that fit the criteria. The first among the dogs that I’ve encountered is Midnight.

Midnight (as displayed on petfinder) is a very beautiful black lab. Though my preference is towards a yellow lab, midnight is a very beautiful and friendly animal. He was pretty quiet and calm when I was there, enjoyed playing, liked to be petted, and overall was very well behaved. Midnight was actually a previous adoption, but was returned as he has a decided enjoyment for being known as the chicken-chasing-terror. Still, a VERY strong consideration, and midnight is tops in the running at the moment. Of course, Laura loves him, which helps his case. However, there’s always the question of how active he would be indoors, as well as things like how he would respond around other dogs, i.e. at my grandmothers in Southeast MO. Further, she has ducks, though generally caged, and it would be better perhaps to have a calmer dog. Midnight however is definitely in the running for the dog who will go home with me.

Another dog more recently in the running is Malcolm. Malcolm is a german shepherd/husky mix, and very beautiful as well. He’s also much quieter/tamer, from what I saw, than Midnight (maybe because he’s 3 years or so older). This of course is both a good thing and a bad thing. I haven’t had much of a chance to play with Malcolm, but the thought of a dog more relaxed around other dogs and animals is pretty appealing to me. Further, if Malcolm were quieter, as well as more calm indoors, that would be a better selection for my living environment. However, I do want a dog I can take hiking. I think Malcolm would do well with that, and thinking about it today, I’m leaning more heavily towards Malcolm, but I’ll really have to go over and interact with Malcolm before I make any final decision.

Last, and not the least, there are a few other dogs I’d seen while looking around, and while these are far less likely to be in the running, I still have to keep an open mind. Petfinder is a great site for finding furry friends, and I’d done some looking there before I’d even entered the humane society. When I first encountered petfinder, I was only looking for labradors or golden retrievers, but there are many other pets you could find through this site. Here are a few of the dogs that I saw that really appealed to me:

  1. Skyler – Yellow Labrador
  2. Willow – Yellow Labrador
  3. No name – Yellow Lab
  4. Simba – Boxer/Lab mix
  5. Duncan – Husky/Shepherd

Some of the issues with dogs are of course space, exercise, noise, hair, messes, and other things along those lines. Equally of concern are how friendly the dog would be towards strangers and other dogs, how well the dog would handle traveling, etc. Last, I do have to consider the age of the dog – how long he/she would be with me, temperament (the biggest factor overall), etc.

While I’ve been debating all of these issues, I keep thinking of one of the best dogs I’ve ever known – a dog named Zag who was owned by my parents neighbors. Zag (which Duncan reminds me heavily of – at least in the tail) was the MOST friendly, companionable, and all around nice dog I’ve ever met. I wish heavily that I could find an equivalent to him. As such, I do have to consider the Husky breed despite the hair and extra work involved. This is also one of the reasons I’m heavily considering Malcolm, as he’s a cross between a husky and shepherd. I do sooo hate decisions sometimes, particularly when you’d really like to take several dogs home smile

In the end, though my original inclination was towards a yellow lab, who knows what choice I’ll make. So, does anyone have any suggestions on a dog? Warnings about any of the breeds mentioned above? I’d appreciate any thoughts or comments, as this will in fact be my very first dog, and really my first pet.


7 Comments for this entry

  • Joan

    I can’t really give any warnings, but my family has had a couple lab mixes – one black and one yellow.  The key is what they’re mixed with, it seems.  Labradors are generally wonderful family pets.  They’re not the brightest in the bunch, but they’re sweet and usually pretty even-tempered.  They’re hunting dogs, of course, which is likely to lead to chicken-chasing among other things. My family’s current dog is a lab-spitz mix.  The spitz, while making him significantly smaller than an average lab, also makes him significantly more aggressive.  He can’t really be trusted with anyone but the nuclear family members, and barks incessantly if anyone other than the 4 of us is in the house, or even on the property.  Christian was able to at least pet the top of his head through the cage, though, which was a major step no other “outsider” had been able to accomplish.  I don’t know about the temperament of huskies or german shepherds, so I don’t know what that would bring to the mix.

    I’ve been thinking about greyhound rescue/adoption for a couple years now, but I’ve realized it wouldn’t be fair to have a dog cooped up in an apartment with no backyard to run in.  Even if I did take it on long walks and look for dog parks or whatever, I still just wouldn’t feel right about it.  But I know for sure I want to have a dog again someday when I have a house.  I like the idea of a greyhound because they’re pretty docile and sweet-tempered as well, generally get along well with other animals, and have short, easy-to-care-for coats.

    *sigh* I miss having a dog.

  • Rebecca

    The Central Missouri Humane Society is an excellent place to find a great pet.  It is where I found my dear sweet Penny

    As for my vote of dog, any of the labs should do.  As a landlord, I would recommend against a Boxer or German Shepard mix.  I don’t allow tenants to have these breeds as they are excluded under the insurance liability policy; you may want to check with your landlord.

    Best of luck with your first pet and be sure to post lots of pictures once you’ve made your pick.

  • Stephen

    I’ve been dogsitting a bichon frise for a week, and I must say it was pretty cool to be around a dog again, even if it was a little regal french dog.  I had dogs on and off as a kid, and they are pretty cool. This bichon hated Shannon, and wouldn’t do anything she told it to do. The dog would listen to me though – it was quite funny.

    I would gauge your energy level, as the lab’s can be insane. I would love a Newfoundland or a St. Bernard, but they would die in the FL sun. A boxer would be a really cool dog too – I’ve been more into the thought of a pure breed lately, like a golden retriever, but I get vetoed on a dog at every turn.

    Good luck in your search, and keep in mind that dogs destroy property better than almost anything else. They also love like no other.

    A great line from a pet shop boys song: “I want a dog……..a chiwawa…….when I get back to my small flat I want to hear somebody bark.”

  • Jason McIntosh

    Well, the dog is now official Malcolm came home with me yesterday afternoon.  Now, it’s a crazy race to get everything like food and such for him.  Did a shopping run yesterday, and today, probably need to pick up a few other random things.  For some pictures, take a look here:

    http://www.poetshome.com/gallery//main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=1170

    I’ll do another post here later with more details (hopefully!)

  • Stephen

    Congratulations! You look like a pretty proud papa in those pics – that looks like a great dog.

  • Cubby

    Congratulations on the new dog!

    I have to object to what Rebecca said about boxers!  I work in boxer rescue, and boxers are wonderful dogs.  It is true that some ignorant landlords have excluded them, but that is biased and ridiculous.  Boxers are VERY people-friendly dogs as a breed.  They are also very active, and perhaps not the best breed for some apartment dwellers. 

    Also, I once had a greyhound, and, to my surprise, they are the biggest slugs of the dog world.  They love to just lie around the house.  I lived in a house at the time, but they make great apartment dogs.  Mine was nicknamed Del, the Baot Anchor.

    Good luck with Malcolm, and thanks for rescuing a dog!

  • Jason McIntosh

    Thanks – Malcolm’s been a great friend overall Hmm, Boxers are dogs I have very little experience with.  I’m kinda curious how they are with kids/other dogs, as that was definitely a consideration when I got Malcolm – how he’d respond to others.  Thus far, he’s been VERY friendly, accepting, patient, etc.  I need to do a more detailed post on some of the adventures thus far, but I’ve been kinda lazy lately – World of Warcraft is eating my time (Malcolm’s not happy about it either)

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