Saturday, October 27, 2012


We're getting ready to adopt another dog. There are a couple of places I've been looking into that do great work with both dogs and people, so those are where I've been searching. These groups want to make sure they find good homes and good matches for the dogs. They post photos and descriptions -- often not just stuff like breed/size/gender, but also personality and quirks. In other words, there is far more information available than the sheer cuteness or handsomeness of a still photo.

That's where my mind has been, too. What do we hope for as a couple, and what do we offer? The "ideal" dog would be housebroken, obedience-trained, good with other animals but not dependent on them for company, big enough to be sturdy but small enough to fit in the car, friendly with good-hearted people but protective if needed, quiet but not timid, fun but not rambunctious.

In other words, the "ideal" dog does not exist.

And we are not "ideal" either.

Whichever dog joins our family will move into a place with people who sometimes get impatient, who don't always want to play, who leave him alone for hours at a time, who dislike going outside in the wee hours of the morning, who insist on sleeping every night.

There will be a time of adjustment when we establish our places in the pack and figure out routines that will work sufficiently well to meet all our various needs. We'll reinforce the dog's previous training and add to it as needed. And really, those processes will be ongoing, as in any family.

But that's part of the beauty of it -- each of us entering into relationship as a unique creature with strengths and weaknesses, all of us figuring out together how to welcome and care for the others.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that really is the ideal.

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