The Search Begins

I talk to him when I’m lonesome like;
and I’m sure he understands.
When he looks at me so attentively,
and gently licks my hands;
then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes,
but I never say naught thereat.
For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes,
but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

For the first time in 13 years, I’m dog-less, and that’s a lonely feeling.

No Sheltie fur lurking in corners on the floor. No Sheltie butt covering my surge protector and accidentally shutting off my computer when the battery drains. No Sheltie face watching me eagerly, hoping for an adventure or a sneak treat. No scheduled doggie activities, whether feeding time or outside time or bedtime.

I’ve almost reached the limit of my tears. Time really is a wonderful healer, teaching me to remember the good years Dallas and I shared, rather than despair over his recent death.

And so I’ve gradually been thinking about another dog.

Not to take Dallas’s place, for that’s impossible, but to continue the love in the form of a new pup to care for.

Dallas at 6 1/2 weeks, before I even brought him home

To my surprise, the dog-world has changed a lot in 13 years!

So many breeds to choose from, so much research to do on breeders.

Now, before you get all noble with me, yes, I’ve looked at rescues, but knowing yourself is key — and I can’t go that route.

Some are cute, and all deserve their own furever home, but not here.

Just reading the bios brings me to tears. And then I get angry.

To think anybody would keep a dog in a crate 24/7, use it only for breeding, and when that’s unsatisfactory, dump it roadside, makes me want to put my fist through a wall!

Sadly, in my area, there are lots of puppy mills. Backyard breeders who know nothing about what they’re doing and see puppies as a way to make a quick buck. People who indiscriminately blend two or more breeds, trying for a unique look, not taking faults or strengths of each breed into consideration.

I demand a better breeder than that. Someone willing to work with me and teach me; someone I can trust to match me with the right dog for the next 12-15 years of its life.

With good breeders, waiting is part of the drill. Puppies aren’t like oranges — you don’t just go to the store and pick one up. You get on a list, wait for a mama dog to have babies, and perhaps one of them will be right for you.

And try to enjoy the journey.

18 thoughts on “The Search Begins

  1. Debbie, that photo of Dallas at 6 1/2 weeks is so precious! As I’ve always expressed to you, he had the sweetest face and eyes. Whenever you shared a photo, I felt the urge to just kiss his sweet, furry face and cuddle with him!

    I know how difficult this has been for you, so I’m happy hear that you’re healing. You’re right, time does eventually heal loss.

    And I’m also happy to hear that you’re thinking of getting another doggie. And I’m absolutely sure that when the timing is right, you’ll be led to the perfect dog, and he/she will be led to you. And as you shared, the match will be right!

    Wishing you joy on your journey!

    Have a superb week, my friend! X

    • Oh, Ron, what sweet things to say about my Dallas! Yes, he had the perfect Sheltie face!

      I so hope you’re right, “that when the timing is right, you’ll be led to the perfect dog, and he/she will be led to you.” There are SOO many dogs in the world, and I wish I could see they all get the right forever home. Since that’s not possible, I’ll just do my part and make sure ONE does, ha!

      Hope you’re having a good Monday and the rest of your week is lovely! xo

  2. That photo of baby Dallas is wonderful! No wonder you fell in love with him. Your comments about breeders were interesting, too. Of course I’ve read about puppy mills and what they do, but only in a glance at the headlines kind of way. It will be interesting to follow your ‘search process’ to learn more about it. I know that even some shelters have become far more serious about screening the people who want to adopt, going so far as to make home visits. That’s all to the good.

    I understand the impulse for a new pet, too. It’s only financial considerations that have kept me from getting another cat. Food, litter, toys, and general vet care aren’t an issue, but any kind of serious medical condition would be — especially since I’ve seen what some of my friends’ vet bills are!

    • Linda, you’ve brought up a very real problem: the financial cost of owning a pet. When you consider food, treats, toys, grooming, medical care, and so forth, it can indeed be an expensive venture. Dallas’s vet offered some kind of pet insurance, as well as various payment options. Still, the costs can be exorbitant, especially, as you mentioned, when the animal has a serious illness.

      It’s going to be a long journey, I fear. I don’t really know what breed I want, so I can’t do much in the way of “shopping” yet. Research is key — good thing I like to do that!

  3. Rescue is a wonderful thing. And I support both breed rescue and Chicago Paws in many ways but not by adopting. I am unapologetic. I like specific breeds, and since there is no chance what comes through, my door won’t stay forever, I am cautious. You can make a mistake with a purebred dog, and all breeders have some failures, but a good breeder will stand with you through thick and thin. I like that.
    So many choices out there, each with pros and cons. I love Shelties–they are smart, and most are well mannered. Willing to please. But the grooming takes them off the table for me. Corgis are fun if you can handle the yap or are willing to do whatever it takes to get them to Shhhh, which is often a bark collar (no problem for me :-) ) I am not a big fan of the Doodle mix, but I keep a lot of nice ones. I am crazy about Aussie’s but again the grooming…I’m lazy
    Oh My, of course, I could go on and on. But I firmly believe if you are patient, you will find the breed and the dog that will live in your heart for much to short a time. Nash, my Vizsla, is such a joy, but he is not for the faint of heart, and neither is the breed overall. Rascal, my Jack, lives in my heart 24/7. However, she has no interest in pleasing me unless it pleases her. She is a terrier! I loved my Doberman to pieces and plan to have another someday.
    The search is fun. And the naming part is the best. Good Luck!

    • What helpful information, Katybeth — thank you! I know you’re busy right now, so don’t think I’m oblivious to the difficulty of finding time to reply to posts!

      Besides researching breeds, I’m looking to establish a good working relationship with the right breeder. Dallas’s breeder has retired from judging and breeding, yet she’s trying to steer me in the right direction. I like that good breeders are there for the life of your pet, can advise you on everything from food to housebreaking, and will be an escape hatch if you need one.

      I don’t mind grooming a Sheltie. Sadly, too many are breeding them to get as many show points as possible, as fast as possible; and they’re sacrificing temperament for beauty. I like Corgis, but I’m not sure I’m up for all the shedding. I don’t want a “designer” dog, don’t want a HUGE dog, don’t want a “slick” dog with no fur, don’t want something so tiny I might step on it, don’t want my area’s penchant for pit bulls. Not sure I want a hound or a terrier, either. At least I’m making progress!

  4. I love the photo of Dallas. He was such a cutie. I also understand your feelings about having a puppy. We also wanted a puppy and found an organization that rescues mothers from puppy mills. Most of the mothers have puppies inside and are AKC registered. Of course, given they are from puppy mills there is a chance one takes. I hope you find the exact right puppy for you. I think Dallas would want it that way too.

    • John, you are absolutely right — Dallas *would* want it that way! I just can’t “replace” him with a substandard furball. I’m in no hurry. It’s better for me, with as much as I have on my plate right now, to take time and do this right. Having a dog for the next 12-15 years demands that you be right for the dog, and the dog be right for you. I’d never heard about an organization that rescues mama dogs. At least that way, the babies aren’t exposed to the puppy mills, even if their moms are. Way to go!

    • Bless you for saying that, Cindy! It’s a long process, that’s for sure, but as my late dad used to remind me, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”!

  5. I’m glad you’ve reached the stage where you feel ready to be looking for a new furry companion! It is a different world, pet-buying, these days, isn’t it? And finding a reputable dealer is both important and hard to do. But somewhere out there your new little puppy is about to come into this world, looking for a good home and someone to love… :D

    • I’m hanging onto that hope-filled thought, FF! You’re right, it is a different (and strange) world for pet buying. Lots of times, you can see different breeds (sometimes puppies, too!) at dog shows, but those are all on hold because of the virus. Additionally, most good breeders have closed their homes to prospective buyers — for the same reason. I’m doing online research for now, but it’s definitely NOT the same thing as looking and playing with actual puppies!

  6. Debbie, so so so so sorry for the Big Hole in your heart where Dallas left precious paw prints of love. I remember his posts here (we miss him, too!) Prayers that you will find a puppy to help fill the void left by Dallas. Hugs!

    • Thanks so much, Virginia. I’m comforted knowing so many people loved my fur-baby and are missing him, too. I know the prayers will lead me to the right pup for me. No, Dallas can never be replaced, but I have to trust there’s a new pup somewhere (if only a gleam in his parents’ eyes for now!) that will make an excellent addition to my home!

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