For example, we went to Mexico for our honeymoon. I was set on a room where you could walk out to the pool. No changing my mind. We get there and the room smelled like mildew. We didn't complain or make them switch rooms, so every time we came back from somewhere it hit us again. Bad decision. (That being said, I was also set on NOT going to Mexico for our honeymoon, and let someone change my mind. Should have stuck to my guns.) After talking to a couple of people, I found out that a lot of the poolside rooms on the first floor had this problem.
I can't think of any other really good examples right now of where I should have not listened to my gut, but I know there are tons in my past. The reason why I am bringing this up now, is that there are a couple of things I would like to do, but can't decide if I should or not. And if I do, am I making the right decision? And if it is wrong, will it just be another example of how I am an idiot?
Firstly, we are looking at taking a vacation. My friend at work was looking at deals on resorts and found this one in Puerto Rico, and mentioned it to us. My other friend mentioned it to her husband, who did all the research and really wants to go. But she is kind of iffy on leaving her kids. So I mention to Workaholic that she wants us to go on vacation with them, and he has decided that we are going. Which sounds great, right? But it is still going to cost money, and then I think that maybe for that much money, where else could we go and have more fun? Is this resort the one we want to go to? Are there any others for as good a deal or are better? Should we go someplace where the airfare is less and we can get a direct flight? See my dilemma??
The other thing I cannot make a decision on is actually a major life change. Getting another dog. I am not sure I am up for it, but I also would really like a younger dog to keep Fonz healthy and active, as well as hope that he can impart some of his wisdom on the new addition. Plus, I have realized since Sampson joined the house that I love it when the dog, cat, kids, and boy are all together and we are one big happy family. Another dog would just make us a little bigger and happier. But here are my issues...
I want a Flat-Coat Retriever. I saw them first while watching the Westminster Club dog show a few years ago. They look like Fonz, but black. And the AKC standard for their character is this...
As a family companion he is sensible, alert and highly intelligent; a light-hearted, affectionate and adaptable friend. He retains these qualities as well as his youthfully good-humored outlook on life into old age. The adult Flat-Coat is usually an adequate alarm dog to give warning, but is a good-natured, optimistic dog, basically inclined to be friendly to all.
The Flat-Coat is a cheerful, devoted companion who requires and appreciates living with and interacting as a member of his family. To reach full potential in any endeavor he absolutely must have a strong personal bond and affectionate individual attention.
Umm...sound like anyone we know???? (hint...his name is Fonz)
Let me be clear...I am not getting a replacement dog. I am not preparing myself for the inevitable day that my Fonz leaves me for the Rainbow Bridge. I simply believe that I am a good home, and now is a good time to add to our family, in the furry friend sense. (as opposed to the two-legged variety)
However, last month, I stumbled across a website of a breeder that I had found a few years ago and realized that she has a litter planned for this year, puppies would be ready in April. Perfect timing!! And then I called her...
Basically, she told me that since I have 2 small children and do not have a fenced in yard, I would be a terrible home. She was afraid that my children would "traumatize" a puppy. And she somehow got in her head that I am anti-invisible fence, since Fonz is boundary trained and doesn't require fencing of any kind to stay in his yard. (Yes, I realize this sounds unbelievable, but he is. I would be more than happy to install invisible fencing at our home. And at the cottage.) This woman made me cry and also made me afraid to contact any other breeders.
But let me tell you something...I am a KICK ASS home. Here is why...
1) Someone is home all day. Either me or the girls' caregiver. (Who happens to love dogs, and puppies) Not many people can say that. Who aren't stay-at-home moms. With small children. Who can traumatize puppies by touching them.
2) I used to teach puppy kindergarten. Which means that I know all about clicker training and positive reinforcement, as well as STRONGLY believe in puppy kindergarten as well as agility and other obedience classes to increase the bond between dog and owner. Oh yeah, Fonz is an AKC Canine Good Citizen as well. And, I am still in contact with my old trainer. Even though I moved away. So any questions could easily be answered with an e-mail or phone call.
3) I used to do agility with Fonz. And I would like to with this new dog, seeing as how Fonz has arthritis that I don't want to aggravate by having him jump all the time.
4) I would also like to train this new dog to be a therapy dog, to use with children. Oh wait...will children in hospitals traumatize a well-trained adult dog??
5) We have a cottage. On a lake. That we go to EVERY weekend. With friends who not only LOVE dogs, but love MY dog. Who think that my dog is kick-ass. And awesome. And think that I deserve all the credit for making him as well-behaved and awesome as he is. (BTW...I do.)
6) I have a big yard, both at home and at the lake. While it is true that neither yards are fenced, and cannot be, I believe in responsible dog ownership as well as safety, and would install an underground fence to keep my new dog safe.
7) When I go on vacation, I don't board my dogs. I have family or friends take care of them. Sounds like such a small thing, but it is just an example of how I take care of my pets.
8) My best friend? Is a vet. As in veterinarian. As in...I have a vet on-call should anything terrible happen. (you know, with the small children) Even if my best friend wasn't a vet, the clinic where I take Fonz and Sampson know me because I take such good care of my pets. Bi-annual blood work, x-rays to check for arthritis and hip dysplasia, and yearly dentals. Again, I am awesome.
So Gail, you ask...you seem to have the utmost confidence in yourself and why wouldn't you just contact another breeder to see if you can get a Flat-Coat from them?
Here is my response to that...I am not even sure I should get a purebred dog. I know all about the bill in Missouri that shuttered the doors to hundreds, if not thousands of (puppy mill) breeders. There are millions of dogs out there that need a home as awesome as mine. And I have even found a couple online that I am not entirely opposed to meeting.
I am afraid, however, of getting a rescue that I cannot make my own. Who may come with their own special set of issues that I cannot change. And I know it is silly, and Jennifer would kill me for saying it, but I just feel in my heart that getting a puppy where I can start from scratch is the best for me and my family.
That being said, this breeder traumatized me. And I am scared of being told NO again. I know that Flat-Coats are not just black Golden Retrievers. I truly believe that Fonz has the heart and personality of a Flat-Coat more than he does of a Golden. That (and health) is the most important to me. I think that getting another Golden would just set me up for disappointment.
Flat-Coat breeders are like many other breeders of lesser-known pure bred dogs, notoriously protective of their dogs. Not that this is a bad thing. Unless you are a good home who is being told no.
With all that out...my other fear is that I am inherently lazy. Would I really do what it takes to make a new puppy a great dog?
For that answer to that, I can thank my parents.
They bred into me the fear of doing something wrong.
I know how high the stakes are for proper training and early socialization. And so I know that I would do what it takes. Getting up early, forsaking an hour or two of sleep to go to class or take a walk. Or run. Maybe this dog will get me to run. Maybe this dog will inspire me to get into shape.
Here is my utmost fear...that I will make the wrong decision. That I go through the process of finding a good breeder and getting a puppy and realizing it was somehow a mistake. Or that I decide to get a rescue and wish that I had gone with a puppy. My past experience with myself where I set my mind to something seems to lead only in disappointments. A trip doesn't go as planned, weekend plans have to be changed due to unavoidable circumstances, or an afternoon shopping trip has to be aborted. (Yes, the last thing can and has ruined my day...of course, that was pre-Pristiq.) I think I just get my hopes so high that things will go the way that I want, and I am not sure how to handle it if they don't.
I have wanted another dog for years. For the first time in a long time, I am looking seriously at the possibility. I have done my research on Flat-Coats, reading books and websites and going to the IKC dog show in Chicago to talk to breeders. I just wish that I had the confidence to make a decision and stick with it and be confident that it is the right decision. I am not exactly sure where I am going with all of this, as I say in many of my blog posts. Any suggestions? What should I do, dear readers??? Help a girl out!