This is a pretty radical departure for me, being so staunchly a cat person. Part of why I love cats is their independence and cleanliness, two traits that don’t really apply to dogs. But here I am anyway. It’s all Julie Klausner’s fault.
Julie is a hilarious comedian and I came across this tweet last week and didn’t take her at her word.
— Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) February 4, 2012
I read this to Bear in the car on our way to date night and cried so hard I couldn’t speak. As soon as I read this, I became a dog owner who hadn’t yet met her dog.
When we got home I started searching. I worked out google with searches for organizations that would help us get a service dog, but realized that we don’t quite need one just yet. Most charities wouldn’t give Atti one because he’s so young, and his needs aren’t severe enough to jump through hoops and come up with the cash for an expertly trained service dog. I kept thinking of the part of the article that talked about kids making friends because their dog was so cool, and I started to think that the right, regular old, well trained dog would be good enough for him. I devoured Craigslist, scoured Petfinder, called shelters, and came up empty.
If you want a small dog, there is no shortage. Poor chihuahuas and pitbulls were EVERYWHERE. But a small dog won’t work for us long term. We need a dog that will grow to be big enough that Atti can play with him from his wheelchair. Then there was the cats. They have done a remarkable job in our family, I’m not introducing anything that threatens them. Which meant that the GORGEOUS Malamute I found with the face like a teddy bear couldn’t be ours. The cats wouldn’t stand a chance.
After a few days of rationalizing the need into urgency, I resigned myself into recognizing that even though I wanted Atti to have the benefits of an expert dog YESTERDAY, at 4 years old he still has a ways to go before it would be most beneficial, and pet ownership is not something you jump into because you read a moving article. Adopting a dog just because he’s handy is begging for disaster. I sighed a deep sigh, tried to get over the feeling that I was somehow, in that backwards logic parents feel, failing my child, and let it go until a few years in the future.
Then on Saturday Bear went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things and found a kid out front with a basket of these puppies. They were full-bred Old English Mastiffs, and dirt cheap as far as puppies, but especially for Mastiffs, go. He sent me a picture of this sweet little girl and I was a goner.
You know what is a perfect breed for our family? An Old English Mastiff. Look how gorgeous, and enormous, she is going to grow up to be. Mastiff’s are huge dogs, but known to be gentle with children and other animals, quiet, peaceful, and companionable. They want nothing more than to lay at their master’s feet, as little Boo is doing to me as I type. They don’t need constant workouts, just a couple walks a day. They’re just sweet lugs who want to love and protect their family. And we stumbled across one in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Scout seemed like a name for a more adventurous dog. This little girl just wants to curl up on my chest and stick her snout under my chin. She’s far more of a Boo Radley than a Scout, but still, our little Atticus has the companion I dreamed of.