Friday, April 3, 2009

We've had Louie for almost six months. What a six months it has been. I credit him for keeping me sane while Tony has been on deployment. He gave me focus and was my project. He's given me a million puppy kisses, and tons of puppy snuggles. He's made me mad, he's made me laugh, but most of all he's made me happy.

As most of you all know. I did a bad thing and got Louie from a pet shop. Before getting him, I was VERY against pet shops, preached the evilness of them, and had a talk with my daughter about how shelter dogs needed a home over a pet shop dog. I had always wanted a Cairn but was against paying a lot of money for a dog. I did kind of research them, and couldn't really find any breeders in my immediate area, came up with nothing My looks around the shelters weren't coming up with anything other than pit bulls or old dogs. I was going to do a rescue cairn, but most won't give a Cairn to someone with young children.

One day, at the mall, we went in. We've done it thousands of times before. I mean, you know the situation, but you can't resisit watching a puppy romp. I've fallen in love with many a puppy in the window, but never, ever, EVER asked a price until I saw Louie. He was in the very first window. No one was looking at him, and he was facing away from the window. I told my husband "OMG that's a Cairn!" and he said "What's a Cairn?" and then wandered off with the kids to look at the other puppies. I tapped the window trying to get his attention. I looked at the big JUST REDUCED AGAIN! sign plastered on the cage. I stood there forever, just to get a glimpse of his face. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to see his face. I had never seen a Cairn in real life, and I wanted to see him. For the first time EVER I asked to see the puppy in the window. My kids were SHOCKED as they have asked a million time in the past and alway got a "No. Let's go."

We got him in one of those rooms, and he turned his personality on, although he didn't stand out. Just a jumpy little puppy. We found out why he had been reduced twice so far. He was four months old, and had lost his puppy cuteness. I think thats common with terrier breeds. They have the puppy cute for such a short time, then they look like mini versions of the adults. People passed him up to look at the Yorkies and Jack Russels and Shih Tzus and Maltese. The little bundles of energy and fluff that makes even the hardest of hearts melt. They had me. I was holding the "reject" puppy. The one no one wanted. Going against everything I knew was right, we left that night to think it over, but we knew we'd be back.

We got there the next day before the store opened. Swallowing my pride, I bought my pet store dog. I even made up elaborate lies to my family as not to seem like a hypocrit. For weeks I thought of reselling him to appease my guilt. On top of that.. he was a boring dog.Yeah I said it. He was boring. He never wagged his tail, he was scared of loud noises, he was lacking all that puppy happiness he exhibited in the cubicle, which I now realize was from just the overwhelming happiness to be OUT OF HIS CAGE!! He didn't know how to play, he didn't want to be held, or petted. A few weeks go by, and he starts to adjust, but he's still pretty surly. I was amazed that he never wagged his tail. I read about dogs and their "happy smile" in a dog training book, and realized in the time we've had him, I've never once seen that face. I would see pics of grinning Cairns and I was sad. I had begun to regret my decision, thinking Karma was punishing me. Oh yeah, I got a Cairn, but a surly, snarly, boring one. One who refused to let you touch him or who looked at you blankly when you threw a ball.

Over time, he learned to walk on a leash, he learned who he could hit up for food, he became more family oriented. I remember the first time he wagged his tail at a time other than upon our return home. We were out playing in the yard. He was wagging his tail and PLAYING. He learned fetch, he learned NO bite, and NO bark. He kinda got better at pottying outside. Then came our first trip to the dog park. I saw his first smile. Although happy, I was heartbroken that he would never do that at home. That was almost 2 months after getting him.

I loved him anyway. He is my heart. He slowly became my velcro dog. He started sleeping wtih me, comforting me while husband was away. He is surprisingly obedient, amazingly laid back for a Cairn and he had never chewed on anything of signifigance. He loves to do his tricks, he's pretty tolerable of the kids, he loves the cat, and after awhile with us, one day his tail started wagging, and hardly ever stops. Recently, he's started running to me with a huge smile on his face, panting just happy to be a part of the family. Six months it took for him to adjust. But, I know that at least once a day, I'll see that smile.

It just goes to show how horrible the puppy mill business is (although I have contributed to it). I had a dog that didn't know how to be a dog! Even at 4 months old. He got skittish around metal noises which I assume comes from being in a cage most his life. If we even so much as touch the fireplace screen, he would bark and freak. He does that still, but it has since turn to a game. It's the best way to guarantee and panting happy pup.I don't know. I just felt the need to get it out. He had come over to me to play "fiesty" which is just rough housing and hand biting. It's amazing because he knows when he does it too hard, and if he forgets I just say "easy" or put my face down for a lick and he goes back to being gentle. I was just struck with the difference between the 4 month old who was stand offish to the dog who jumps up on the couch, plants his fat paws on my chest and gives me kisses to I beg him to stop.

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