The natural solution, of course, being the acquisition of a puppy.
Ryan has long wanted a German Shepherd, and I always had pet dogs growing up. We now have a house with a mostly tile floor and a big fenced yard.
Still, we had no active plans for getting a dog ourselves -- not just yet. Bubba's arrival last year had pushed those to the back burner.
Last week a German Shepherd litter came into my dad's clinic for their vaccinations and exams. Ryan's antenna went up immediately, and he swapped numbers with the owner, who happened to be a Marine veteran also.
We talked later that evening about the dogs. I've always had reservations about GSDs and their tendency to have fear aggression problems. It did help a lot that we had recently been dog sitters for a very friendly Rottweiler and a German Shepherd.
I could not care less about bloodlines and papers and pedigree. We most wanted to meet the parent dogs and see what their temperaments were. We also considered that--should there be more children in our future--maybe the easiest time to house train a puppy is now. *Most* nights there are two of us at home, one to put Bubba to bed, the other could deal with a dog.
I was scheduled to work all weekend, but I took it as a sign when I was called off my Friday night shift. The following afternoon all three of us drove out to see the pups. The owner's house and yard were shrouded by thick bamboo, the perimeter spotted by security cameras, and the mailbox painted like the Vietnam service ribbon.
I knew Ryan had found a kindred spirit.
Inside, the family kept a lovely yard and garden where we were swarmed by eight fluffy puppies. Bubba wasn't dazed at all. I kept trying to identify the most personable pups and the shy pups, but it was impossible. They seemed equally outgoing, and none were bashful. Both mom and dad dogs were home, and--while not having quite the lick-you-to-death enthusiasm of a retriever--both were very friendly, calm, and relaxed.
It was hard to pick out this little fella, but we think he's the one.
Welcome home, buddy.