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November 07, 2004

This is when things got kinda' weird.

It was fairly clear we could get by with me working part-time, and part-time jobs are considerably more available for clerical workers here around Dayton than full-time (because it's cheaper to hire someone part time and provide a reduced level of bennies, or no bennies, of course), so the discussion turned to the possibility of acquiring a dog, after Gord had been with us a few months. had we both been working full time, we wouldn't have considered it -- dogs were, we knew, a bigger investment of time.

Tony and I never do anything that will directly affect the menagerie casually. Things generally seem to resolve themselves to a tolerable level, with little 'acting out' among the inahbitants here. It was fairly clear we could have kept adding cats until we reached the capacity of the house to provide territory. I've read various places that 300 square feet per cat can, with the right cats, be plenty of space for them to 'stretch out' and not battle constantly among themselves.

Of course, conventional wisdom also says that having a house full of female cats is 'asking for it' but for the most part, we've had little trouble in that regard. Maybe it's the fact that we have one male who was neutered late, and consequently never forgot he was male, I don't know. Maybe we just got lucky.

We kept an eye open at the shelter were we volunteer, since Tony walks dogs one night every week, to see if anything came in that we'd be interested in trying to bring home. We did research on general things about some breeds -- we knew we wanted a small dog, something under thirty pounds, because we didn't have a big yard and it wasn't enclosed. Not only that, but we worried that if we brought in a dog that would 'cop' the cats, a dog that was much bigger than the cats could hurt one of them. My research seemed to indicate that among the dogs in our 'size bracket' there were some breeds people seemed to have fair success keeping around cats. Corgis, Dachshunds, Shelties and Pomeranians all seemed to do okay; most mutts, too, though frustratingly, most of the really 'mutty' mutts we found were black lab mixes and much larger than we wanted.

The best resource I found was Petfinder -- a site that offered display space to a host of animal shelters and breed rescue organizations across the U.S. For a couple of weeks, I combed their listings in the area, sending interesting ones on to Tony. Finally, we found one -- a little yellow dog in a cage, an eager-to-please grin on his face, whose foster had named him Leo. I e-mailed his foster at the Franklin County Humane Society in Brookville, Indiana. She e-mailed me back a copy of their application form for adoption and said she'd be showing 'Leo' down near Cincinnati at one of the PetsMart stores the following Sunday, if we wanted to come down and have a gander at him.

We completed the application and faxed it back down, and she e-mailed me back to say it sounded like the shelter would approve it, if we wanted the dog -- or, if not this dog, another one 'to be named later' -- so we were welcome to come down on Sunday and meet him. This was Friday, and we agreed we'd go down and have a look.

The following links are for the shelter -- the first is for a fundraising effort, the second for FCHS listings on the PetFinder web site:

FCHS Fundraising Link
FCHS Brookville Available Animals on Petfinder

So with only minor trepidation, we headed out on Saturday to buy some of the things we knew we'd need for a dog -- a crate, since we knew there would be times we'd want to crate the dog, and many shelter-fostered dogs were trained to crates anyway and comfortable with them; additional food bowls; chew toys (more on that later) and dog food.

And we went to a local restaurant to discuss our fears that bringing in a dog would screw up the entire balance of the household, play electronic music trivia and drink a beer or two.

I'll stop this entry and start a new one, since this was the point at which things got pretty strange...

Posted by Melinda at November 7, 2004 12:42 PM


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