The Right Dog and the Wrong Dog

Friday, 22 June 2007

First posted 2/5/2007, 17:40:24

When you decide to get a dog, everyone urges you not to rush into it. Study. Learn about the breeds to decide which one has the right temperment for you and your lifestyle. (Apparently mutts are either for those who like to live dangerously or those who can’t make up their minds about who they are.) Once you’ve decided on a breed, study the breeders, meet the parents of the litter, get the parents’ medical histories. If you’re going for something rare, such as a Bernese Mountain Dog, be prepared to have yourself, your life, and your financial standing scrutinized by the breeder and perhaps to share ownership with the breeder. Last but not least, give all the puppies a good going over and take careful note of which ones meet your eyes and for how long and how they interact with the other puppies to see which ones are not alpha dogs. After all, you must be sure that in the end, you go home with the Right Dog for You.

After all, what would become of you if you ended up with the Wrong Dog?

(I shall pause here for a few moments while those readers who have fainted at the mere notion revive themselves and steel their nerves to continue.)

I did none of that preparation.

I wasn’t looking for a dog. I didn’t really want one. Sunny was offered on a take-him-or-leave-him, as-was basis, with no medical history of his own, let alone of his parents, no breeder information—I’m still, five years later, unsure of Sunny’s exact breed. I was just preferable, to his previous family and to me, than the pound. As for being the Right Dog, all the indicators pointed the other direction. For a middle-aged woman with Asperger’s syndrome, who therefore craves solitude and quiet in just about all things that could possibly be unquiet, the high-energy, playful, socially outgoing little creature could hardly be a good match.

I took him in anyway. And he was—and is—decidely the Wrong Dog.

This is our life.