Week 5 – Day 1: New Puppy Syndrome
So by now, most of you know that Joe and I are looking for a new puppy. I use that word with some trepidation however, because “new” makes it sound like Dusty was the “old” puppy for which the “new” puppy will serve as a replacement (or as Joe always jokes with me, “upgrading to a better model”).
That “new” and “old” concept is something we have been battling with for awhile now. It is certainly a thorn in our side, because we are still walking the line where the hurt makes the “new” and “old” line extremely blurry.
Take this little guy (or gal) for example. When I saw his/her picture I was instantly in love. How could you not love that face? When I showed Joe the pictures, he stopped on this picture and said “This is my favorite.” I smiled and said, “Mine too.” He arched his neck to look back at me (I was sitting behind him on the couch at the time) and very articulately exclaimed, “You’re shitting me.”
We picked Dusty in much the same way. Of all the dogs in the two litters that Rhonda had, Dusty was the only one that we individually chose as our favorite. I went through all the pictures about 100 times and made a list of three from each litter. Joe then did the same, without seeing my list. When we compared lists, Dusty was our number one. Every other puppy we had chosen didn’t even appear on the other’s list. So when we both liked this little guy/girl, we thought maybe destiny had come knocking a second time.
But we can’t be sure, because there are still other pups for us to ponder over, pups we haven’t seen yet. And because of the stress on the Omorrow farm recently, Rhonda has barely been able to sleep, eat and breathe, let alone provide us with puppy pics (much to my dismay), so there is another litter we haven’t even seen, and the other pups from this litter (Sheba/Rinney) haven’t all been photographed in the most neutral light. And of course, there is the concern that we don’t know what gender this pup is.
We definitely want a female, that we are sure about. So what about one of these? Is one of these girls our “new” puppy?
But each time I look at pictures, as stunned as I get over how small and cute and incredibly fluffy they are, I hit the same wall – they don’t look like Dusty. No puppy could look like Dusty, no puppy could be as perfect as Dusty was.
Of course, when I take a step back, I realize that Dusty was a pretty normal puppy in the grand scheme of things. She ate, she slept, she played, she followed us around, she had accidents on the carpet, and she tormented Smokey. We chased her around to make sure she wasn’t chewing on stuff (though she constantly was). She barked, she scratched, and she slept some more. I loved her, but I think some of my adoration of her is exaggerated by the fact that we don’t have her anymore.
Needless to say, after that face, it’s a little hard to choose another.
So, we pondered. We thought maybe going for a black and tan/black and silver/blue/ whatever color Dusty might have been/was, that perhaps we should try a Cinder/Blitz puppy. You can’t go wrong with all black (we should know, we are already the proud parents of one all black scoundrel)! And we were in luck, there were some left! Easy breezy, we thought, there would be NO WAY we could compare an all black to Dusty. If anything, we would end up comparing the puppy to Smokey – which, of course, we did. And on top of everything, we didn’t agree.
I was all about female 3, who has very similar facial expressions to Smokey. Joe didn’t like that idea, because their personalities might clash. He liked female 5, she looked like a sweetie. I wasn’t sold. We bickered back and forth about the fact that the black puppies are a little older, and we would have to get her shipped right away on top of everything. We bickered about the Holiday season. We bickered about “Well, we already have an all black, shouldn’t we try something different?”
We squared off on the all blacks and prepared for battle. And then, we stopped. Something didn’t make sense here. We promised ourselves we would agree on a puppy, and if we weren’t agreeing, we weren’t going to go with that puppy. So I compromised, I said female 5 would be great, she was an Omorrow dog, of course she would be great. And Joe said, no, female 3 would be perfect, how could she not be? And then we found ourselves bickering over who would be the most self-sacrificing. Finally, I fell back, laughing, and Joe glared and demanded to know what so funny – wasn’t I taking this seriously? And I nodded and I said I was, but listen to us talking like we have actually met these dogs, like we know something about their personalities because we saw pictures of them. Any dog that comes from Rhonda is going to be a great dog, we are sure of that, but a lot of it has to do with us too. We are great dog owners, I will be a little egotistical and say it. Any dog that comes out of our home will be the perfect dog for us. She may not be chasing down cat burglars or herding sheep into shapes, or even finding Cheez-Its we leave on the floor, but she will be just what we want. If we could take a dog as broken as Smokey and make a dog who lets kids pull on his tail and his broken ear and then turn around and lick their faces, then any pup will be fine. But we have to agree. There can be no resentment there, or we won’t be giving the relationship between human and dog its due. Probably not an all black for us then, at least not this round.
I guess when it comes down to it though, I have to take the “new” out of the “new puppy”. She will be a blank slate, and we should look at her like one. She isn’t our “new” puppy. She is our “future” puppy. In the end, she doesn’t have big paws to fill, or even little ones, she just has angel paws to walk beside.
~All photographs are courtesy of the Omorrow German Shepherds Facebook page. To view the page, follow the link below: