I Love Lucy!

November 11, 2010

Austin used to ask us regularly for a dog. When he realized he was getting nowhere on that, he downsized his ask to a hermit crab. When that didn’t happen, he went and got himself a Zhu Zhu pet at Toys R Us. Our guest blogger Michelle is a much more adventurous parent, and she lets us in on the newest member of her household:

My husband and I finally gave in to our three kids begging for a dog.

When our daughter was three she asked for a dog and we said, “When you’re seven – old enough to be responsible to take care of the dog yourself.”  At age eight now she’s forgotten a lot of things throughout life, but she never forgot that conversation at three and held us to it – we were able to squeak out another year by saying we had to wait until her twin brothers were seven as well, but they teamed up with her to hold us to that promise.

In other words, we have an eight year old daughter and twin seven year old boys, and nowhere to hide.

Truth is, we had to make sure that I was ready for a new dog, because as the Mom, the dog would really be my responsibility.  It seems not long ago that the kids were “having accidents” on the furniture, and we’re now enjoying the dry furniture.  The thought of trading that in for furniture covered in fur and mine fields in the lawn, just as the kids are actually keeping the house relatively nice, was a bit foreboding.

But, alas, a deal is a deal, and my husband and I both had dogs growing up and truly value the relationship dogs and children have together.

First, we tried looking in local shelters but there was not much to choose from; we then looked at petfinder.com, but after submitting a couple of inquiries for different dogs at various shelters/foster homes, we found that we rarely got a response.  It all became a bit frustrating.

Then three weeks ago we took a trip to North Shore Animal League (NSAL) out on Long Island.  North Shore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.

Needless to say, they had lots of nice dogs.  Unless you were really picky, I couldn’t see someone leaving without a dog.  All we wanted was a nice medium-sized mutt — and that’s what we got!  Her name given at the shelter was Lucy.  We thought it fit her well so we kept it.  We believe she is a one year old Australian Shepard mix.  She is very sweet with lots of love and attention to give.  There’s a bit of a saying that “the dog adopts you” – and that’s what happened.  She was the first and only dog we visited with, and we just fit together without a doubt.  The NSAL checked our references on the spot, and we had a new family member on the ride home.

We knew in advance that getting a dog would be expensive, but we didn’t really have a sense for things.  The actual adoption was relatively inexpensive ($100) which is amazing because North Shore takes such good care of the animals.  Lucy was spayed and she received all of her shots.  We decided to get an Invisible Fence to keep her safe and in the yard – with training, that came out to about $1,200.  We also built a little fenced in area off our screen room – mostly so we don’t have to walk her in the cold and rain (selfish, but until you’ve done it…) – although we recycled existing fencing, that was another $1,000.  Her first vet visit cost $350, which included a flu shot (I haven’t even gotten mine yet!) and a year’s supply of heartworm meds and anti flea and tick medicine.  The next day we got a call from the vet; it seems that Lucy has worms so we bought de-worming medication for $50.  We will get her stool retested in two weeks.  I’m afraid to get that bill!

I have to say, she is definitely worth it.  She makes a nice addition to our family.  The kids are rising to the occasion in terms of accepting responsibility in caring for her and she keeps me company while the kids are at school.

And, at the end of the day, she’s brought a lot of love to an already-loving family and as they say at MasterCard, that’s priceless.

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