Around 2 or 3 weeks ago we were all hanging out in the livingroom & Peter told me that he “had something he needed to talk with me about.” Yikes, right? Of course my mind started racing…crap, what did I do wrong? Uh-oh, maybe he checked the bank account today…I knew I shouldn’t have bought all those pillows at Target! Damn you Nate Berkus!
I told him to hurry up and get it over with, just tell me now!
“You know how we always go to Florida before Christmas? Well, I was thinking this year we could try and find the breeder that you bought Parker from & we could adopt one of his little cousins”
“I think we should get a puppy.”
Me: “Oh my gosh!!!” ::insert ugly cry sobbing right about here::
The girls came running in asking “Why is mommy crying??” to which I said, “No, no” ::sniffle sniffle:: “These are happy tears!” ::snort sob sniffle:: “Mommy is so so happy!” ::more sobbing::
P told them the great news & all concern over mommy’s mental health was forgotten & immediately replaced with pure joy followed by the two of them engaging in a lengthy debate over which Disney princess the puppy should be named after.
So that was the plan, a Christmas puppy. Perfect, right? Well, almost.
Not only could I not track down the lady who bred Parker, and there aren’t exactly a lot of Shetland Sheepdog breeders in the Tampa Bay area to begin with, but the ones I did find weren’t expecting any litters. Except one lady, she told me her Sheltie had just been inseminated with Canadian sperm but her vet didn’t like the way they looked so she wasn’t sure it was going to take. Boy, doesn’t that make you want to adopt a dog from that litter! Here’s the other thing, one thing we loved so much about Parker was that he had such a strong herding instinct. He always looked after the girls the same way his ancestors had watched their flocks. Even when the girls would be running around the house a little too wildly he’d start nipping at their heels trying to reign them back in. Parker wasn’t an AKC registered pup, in fact the lady who sold him to me lived in a small rundown trailor in the middle of nowhere, but she had her shelties running wild in a beautiful pasture with lots of fluffy sheep. We love to think that maybe his humble sheepdog roots played a part in him having such a great personality. So the thought of a Canadian sperm inseminated Sheltie just didn’t feel like us. No offense Canada.
I looked into Sheltie rescue but I kept finding lots of older dogs or ones with behavioral issues, I think it’s absolutely fantastic to rescue dogs but it just didn’t seem like a home with young kids was the best place for the ones I saw.
I briefly looked into Sheltie breeders in our area, and there were certainly some gorgeous ones but once again, really fluffy showdogs with really fluffy pricetags…I actually didn’t feel too discouraged, getting another pet wasn’t even a thought I was entertaining, deep down I don’t think I thought I deserved one. Screwed up, right? Turns out forgiving myself was/is a heck of a lot harder than I ever anticipated. Anyway, that’s another conversation for another day, possibly one that charges by the hour.
Back to the pup…
It’s almost like a cheesy movie where you can totally see it coming, as soon as I had resolved that it just wasn’t the right time for us to get our puppy I got a phone call. When I was searching the area for possible litters I did happen to call a few numbers in Pennsylvania, not one had called me back, until now. The lady said she lived on a farm in rural PA & she had 6 11 week old sheltie puppies that were ready for adoption. They were registered Shelties & vet checked but weren’t show dogs, these were working pups & therefore not nearly as expensive as the others I had seen. She said if I came out today we could have our pick of the litter, I asked her to give me a few minutes to talk to my husband & I’d call her right back. I waited until 10a on the dot when I knew P was off the air & immediately started blowing up his cell phone, when he finally picked up, I’m sure he thought the house was on fire or something, I spouted out all the details! “There’s puppies, 6 of them, and they’re on a farm, like, a real farm, and we can pick any one we want! But we have to go today, oh yeah, and they’re in Pennsylavania!” “Ok, let’s go!” I wish I could’ve kissed that man through the phone! You guys have to understand something about my husband, while he’s super fun & exciting to be around he’s also incredibly type A. Thorough, slightly tightly wound & a major planner. Never in a million years did I think I could call him & ask to drive to Pennsylvania right then and there & go get a puppy from a farm, well, never thought I could call & get a simple, immediate, “Yes!” But that’s what I got, I was floored, later he told me that he came up with the idea because he thought this was something I needed. After that, it was easy. It’s funny, after 6 years of marriage & almost 15 years of knowing eachother I thought I knew him like the back of my hand. It’s nice to know we can still surprise eachother.
Right after we picked up the girls from school off we went! Can I just tell you picking them up from school & being able to say, “Guess where we’re going? TO GET A PUPPY!” Was just about the coolest thing ever, I think might head would’ve exploded if I was told me that when I was a kid…I sure hope they remember it.
The drive was a little over 2 hours but felt like an eternity. I don’t know if it was the anticipation or the fact that it felt like we were driving to the end of human existence but man did it take forever. Around halfway there I started to worry if this was the right decision, it was only a month ago that we lost Rose, maybe this was too soon. Maybe we shouldn’t get another pet. At least not yet. I started to tell P about my concerns when he interrupted me & said, “Look.”
It’s a little hard to tell from the picture but that’s a truck that pulled out in front of us in the middle of my sentence, the back says “PARKER”
If that’s not a sign then I don’t know what is, that lump in my throat was all I needed to put my fears aside & keep on going…
It was just about 5pm & the GPS said we were getting close, it’s a good thing too because it started getting dark. Like, realllly dark. Like, no street light dark. Hmm, no lights on houses dark. Ummm, no lights period dark. Just then we saw something come into the view of our van’s headlights…a horse & buggy.
Why hadn’t I thought of it! We were in Amish town!
According to the GPS we had ‘reached our destination’ , where exactly that destination was however, we didn’t know. Down a few more dirt roads & past another horse & buggy & the cutest little house & barn came into view. A man named Levi, I know right?, came to greet us at the car with a lamp in hand & a few of his 9 children tagging along. Then the real welcome wagon came out, around 5 or 6 yippy, barking, beautiful shelties came haulin’ furry booty right at us. I’ve really done my best to avoid Shelties since Parker passed away, seeing so many of those proud white chests made my heart start beating & I could feel the flush rush to my cheeks & the prickling start in my eyes but it wasn’t in a sad way, as odd as it sounds I’d actually say I felt…relieved. Like life had finally come full circle.
We spent the next hour sitting in a little den playing with furry little poufball sheltie pups. We knew we wanted a male so that narrowed it down to 3. One was humongous & crazy, seriously, he was like a steroid psa for puppies, so that left us down to two.
One puppy was really friendly, licking the girls & bouncing around. P & the kids were really drawn to him but there was something about the other little pup that I couln’t put my finger on, he was timid & not terribly interested in us but I had that gnawing little feeling to give him a chance. I handed him to Sam, who by the way has turned into the most soft spoken animal whisperer, & after a few gentle words & strokes he fell asleep in her lap. I just knew. He was meant to be the next little member of our family. We paid Mr. Levi, said goodbye to all of the children, cows, shelties & barn cats and headed home with one more little ‘person’ in our car. Since I got to pick the puppy I told P he could choose the name. It took him a good while to decide because for the first few days the little man was absolutely terrified of us. It’s hard to define someone’s personality when they’re spending the majority of their time hiding under the kitchen table. These past few days however the little dog who I’ve affectionately been calling ‘barn dog’ has begun to come out of his shell. Actually that’s the name P settled on, Sheldon. I have to say, I still find myself calling him ‘little barn dog’ & must admit, I kind of love it. Maybe it can be my pet name for him. Get it, pet name. I know, I knowww…. (;
It’s interesting the way things work out, if anyone had told me what this past week would have been like I would’ve definitively said this is no time to get a puppy. Lucy had to have surgery to remove a mass that was getting in the way of her hip motion (she’s totally fine now, 100%!) & this past Friday I had what was supposed to be a minor outpatient treatment to burn a few nerves in my back that are causing me a lot of pain. “Minor” is not the word I’d use to describe it, the actual procedure was pretty awful but worse is it seems to have triggered another flareup with my health issues. You know what though, despite all of the extra stress & extraordinary circumstances, it’s actually been a great thing having Sheldon here. I get excited everytime I walk in the door to see him & no matter how lousy or tired you feel it’s impossible not to smile when you see this…
Obviously getting little barn dog acclimated has taken up a lot of my time over the last week. In addition to all that goes into taking care of him I’m also spending a lot of time working on my health. I go to physical therapy a few times a week & have been cooking everyday to try & heal my body from the inside out. I’m also going to bed early, like 9 o’ clock early. It’s a good thing but sadly as you’ve probably noticed blogging has taken a backseat. It’s kind of one of those things that has to happen from time to time but I don’t like it, hopefully I can start to get that back on track now too. Do you ever feel like it’s always ‘one more thing’ that you have to get back in order? You get one area of your life running smoothly & are ready to move onto the next thing that needs attention but then at some point is there ever not a ‘next thing’? Does the barn dog ever catch his tail?
I’m guessing not, but maybe accepting that as just a part of life will make it a bit easier to swallow. As long as we’re happy in the meantime then perhaps it’s ok to not have everything under control…