Remember the scene in Austin Powers when he drives a steamroller at an impossibly slow clip through a wide-open warehouse? A security guard screams in horror as Austin tries to wave him out of the way. The guard could easily sidestep it but failing to, he gets flattened. Funny enough I suppose, until it happens to you. The rest of my family just flattened me with the slow-motion steamroller of puppy adoption. How is it that I couldn’t get out of the way?
I didn’t grow up with pets and Kristen’s childhood dog was so famously misbehaved that they once gave him away only to have him returned because the new owner was overwhelmed. Training a new puppy isn’t exactly in our family DNA. But we’ve already done the biking and the bread making, the puzzling and the gardening. Our inflatable pool is slowly deflating on the side of the house. It’s a natural progression of cliche quarantine activities, I guess? And the new normal affords us scads of time at home which torpedoed what was previously my best argument against adoption.
I do love the adult dog we already have. We adopted Sleater when she was about 9 months old and she was a sweetheart from the jump – a house-trained, super friendly, medium sized mutt. She almost never barks. She likes attention but isn’t particularly needy. We hit the doggie jackpot so I fear we can only go down from here.
I offered examples of families who have had a tough time after adding a second dog but nobody seemed to be listening. So, I escalated by pointing out that our first-born, Elliott, was an easy baby. He ate, he slept, he smiled a lot. Then second-born Margo gnawed on the corner of the coffee table, screamed like her hair was on fire and didn’t sleep through the night until she was two. But the Adoption Alliance within the household remained unfazed.
They came across an adorable litter at iWag in Decatur (and specifically Gossip Girl #3.) In a final, flailing defense I sarcastically suggested we adopt the whole litter and that our only issue would be thinking of all the names! Noting the commercial on the TV, I suggested we call one of them Bean Bag. Margo, sharp as ever, swiftly ended the argument with “No—we’ll call her Beans.” Damn, I’m a sucker for a well applied name.
iWag listed Beans’ litter as “mixed” which could be great as I tend to think that like Sleater, the more of a mutt a dog is, the better behaved it will be. Her coloring suggests she could be Rottweiler/Doberman but I hope that’s not the case. I used to live next to Piedmont Park where I’d see these gigantic, musclebound guys in tank tops proudly walking their gigantic, musclebound dogs in spike collars and I just don’t think I’m cut out for that sort of relationship. If Beans is going to reflect her owners, she ought to be average size and like lazy Sundays. I’m cautiously optimistic because thus far she seems to be more of a German Shepherd/Persian Cat/Canadian Goose mix so perhaps I can hold off on adding a weight room to the garage.
I had to roll up all the rugs and we have strategically placed baby gates reining in the chaos of the open floor plan. The aesthetic has a minimalist-chic-meets-doggie-day-care kind of vibe. This 12 pound animal is currently dictating our lives by the hour. I’m exhausted, darn near flattened. But slowly, surely Kristen is reclaiming her own standing as top dog in the household with some effective training. Elliott runs Beans ragged in the backyard and Margo sleeps next to the crate to offer comfort. I’ll admit, I’ve been impressed with everyone’s efforts. So now we’re a two adult, two kid, two dog family. I was steamrolled but she is awfully cute, so there’s that.
Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at email@example.com.