02 September 2010

Going to the Dogs

I want to get a dog. I grew up with dogs, love dogs and feel that a dog would be a great addition to our family unit- after all, every little boy should have a dog, right ? Despite my best arguments, pleadings, whining and general bitching, my wife has shot down the subject each time that I have brought it up. She’s not a dog girl, she’s a cat girl as evidenced by the three freeloading felines that lounge around our house (okay, to be honest one of them was mine before we were married but at least he catches the occasional rodent.) I can see some of you rolling your eyes right now. Just be a man and go buy one, right ? I actually thought that plan through a couple of times but kept coming back to visions of me and my new pooch sleeping in a tent in the woods behind my house. Besides, it needs to be a family decision since a dog is a big commitment in terms of time, exercise, vet bills and everything else that comes with owning a pet. So, I was resigned to daydreaming about one day, someday far in the future, taking my imaginary dog for a walk in the woods.

Unfortunately, something happened to make my case.

We live in a quiet suburban neighborhood where nothing much ever happens, at least until a week or so ago. Neighbors of ours had their home broken into in the middle of the night by a gang of four- two broke in, two were waiting in the car. The scariest thing about the incident was that the family was sleeping in the home at the time. The intruders, apparently driven by drug addiction, were caught by the police after the owners woke up and phoned the police. Fortunately, nobody got hurt but the incident shook us to the core. It also reminded me that a few weeks before, being a very light sleeper, I had awakened at around 3 AM to the sound of a car slowly cruising our neighborhood.

Suddenly, my wife seemed a little more interested in the whole dog idea. I have two weapons in the house. I keep a loaded magazine in a drawer by our bed and one of the rifles (an AR-15 carbine) under the bed in a locked case. I have no doubt that I can quickly load the weapon and shoot an intruder (or intruders) inside of my house- the mechanics of it are muscle memory, the result of training and practice. The question of whether or not I could actually shoot somebody, however, is a big one for me. The Karma risks of killing another human being are just too great for me to discount and the potential risk to my family are also worrying- a 5.56 mm round could easily penetrate our home’s walls and endanger everyone else involved. I suppose one of our cats could serve some defensive purpose but that would involve throwing them at an intruder and they aren’t very aerodynamic.

So, we are back to the dog. I have settled on either a German Shepherd or Shiloh Shepherd (an American variant of the German Shepherd.) Big, strong, alert and loyal seems to be made to order for our requirements of a good family pet that is also loud and imposing enough to scare off the occasional crack or meth addled intruder. A curious thing I have noticed while looking at different breeders has been the requirement for filling out applications to buy the dogs, giving references etc. These are steps I never had to take in having a son, yet dog breeders seem hell-bent on examining every aspect of your life to see if you are qualified to buy one of their dogs. In the old days, it was look in the newspaper, drive to the local farm and drive home with your new puppy. I suppose it is for the best. The breeders want to make sure their “children” are brought up in good homes. If only humans were so careful.

1 comment:

  1. I'm confident that the wife will come to really love your dog, whatever you get.

    As the owner of two unwanted, or 'rescue' dogs, I'd like to recommend them. Organizations that help them can be found on the web for just about any breed, and you can get a rescue for a steep discount over a purebred -- we have a malinois which if bought from a breeder would be expensive. You might have to do a little extra work to give the dog confidence, but as long as it's not aggressive the extra training can be a positive bonding experience.