It's a good day; the interview last night was a resounding success, and we got to bring the dog home with us. She is called Harley (which I think is a stupid name for a dog, plus Steve's dog is called Hallie so it is slightly confusing, but since it has been her name for years, I don't guess we can change it), and is absolutely gorgeous. She is a purebred Yellow Lab, and even has the papers to prove it, though she can't have babies and has never been shown, so they don't mean anything to US. What does matter is that she is exactly what I have been looking for since I had to put my other dog down. Beauty is as beauty does-her looks are just a bonus. What I was looking for is an older, already-house-trained, used to kids and cats, mellow dog-and here she is.
For those who don't know, there was a legitimate reason for having our other dog put down. She was a very beloved family pet, a stunning and good-natured lab/retriever mix, whom we had had since she was 6 months old. She did everything with is, went everywhere possible with us, slept in or on someones bed every night...until Owen came along. She didn't much care for him, didn't much care for the extra attention he was getting, even though we thought we gave her extra love to make up for it. We never left them alone together, especially after Owen started crawling, because while I still wouldn't call her at all aggressive, she made clear her dislike of him. And one day she bit him. It all happened so fast that I am even now not sure what exactly transpired; we were all there in the living room, Owen was crawling across the floor, and next thing was her snarling and biting. She got him right by the eye and mouth, punctured the skin, and bruised his head up pretty badly, and we are grateful to this day that it wasn't worse. He healed quickly, with no scarring or anything, and he still has his eye-good enough. But even though it was an isolated incident, and she was very aware that she had fucked up, I couldn't keep her around. Nor could I in good conscience give her to someone I knew, because anyone who might want her also had kids. And if I had taken her to the pound, I would have been forced to be honest and disclose why we had to get rid of her, at which point they would just put her down, no questions asked. I know that in bigger places it isn't the first option, but here, where we have such limited space and no funding, biters don't get placed. Anyway, THAT is why I had to make the decision I did, and even though I was royally pissed at her for biting the baby, I was still devastated. The kids were devastated. All of us stood outside the Animal Control truck and sobbed as Maya jumped in the back eagerly, thinking she was going for a ride.
We got Ellie, you all know, hoping that she would become a family pet, but she didn't. Instead, she had puppies and seemed perfectly content to just hang out in the back yard. She did not ever really warm up to us, and had she not been taken, I would not have kept her. I would have found someone who had no kids and no spouse and a LOT of time to devote to just her. So I was sad that she hadn't ever really progressed beyond letting us pet her; she didn't play at all, hated being in the house, and basically just tolerated her.
But now he have a dog. A real pet, who immediately walked into the house and headed for the back door to go pee, then came back in, sniffed around and paced for a little while, then flopped onto the living room floor as if she had always been there. She slept quietly most of the night, getting up only a few times to walk into the boys' room and check things out there. When she needed to pee at 4:30 this morning, she woke me up by licking my hand, and when it was time for me to get up for work, there she was, excited to be up and around with me. This is what our home has been missing-the thump of a tail on the floor, the friendly little nudge when it is time to get up, the exuberant licks of someone happy to see us. We have been missing the live rug that we get to put our feet on in the winter, and the friend who will jump right in the water after us when we go swimming. We see Steve's dog a lot, and she is also part of the family, but this one? She is ours. Mine.
So yeah-you guys must have put out some powerful energy because we got her, and I am so, so thrilled.
***I forgot to add that her previous owner told us that as a rule, she doesn't bark. So if she DOES, we had better get up and investigate WHY because there is a reason. In response to THOPGood, too, this sweetie is not sleeping outside. Period. The added safety factor for us is nice, but also? No way am I tkaing a change on CSG hurting her. Nope.***