A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dollar Store

A couple of other working titles for this post:

When Pigs Fly

or

Over My Cold Dead Body

Last weekend Fiddledaddy headed out with Cailey in tow for a little daddy/daughter bonding time.  And there’s never a better bonding moment than what can occur in the local dollar store.

Afterward, they took a little detour next door to Petco.  You know, to see the ferrets, rodents, and feeder fish.  But what luck.  A local animal rescue group was there with various cats and dogs in need of adoption.

As the story goes, there was one particularly handsome brown dog that caught Fiddledaddy’s eye.  He knelt down to say hello, and this brown dog backed himself into Fiddledaddy’s lap and laid his head on Fiddledaddy’s shoulder.

Fiddledaddy and daughter came home talking about Mater, the handsome brown dog.  I tell you, he was positively misty eyed as he described this dog and how the dog reacted to him.

And then he followed with, “Do you want to go meet him?”

And without thinking any rational thought whatsoever, I said “Okay.”

Fiddledaddy looked at me as though aliens had just abducted his wife and left a more carefree and compliant wife in her stead.

After a few more moments of banter, we decided that would be insane and continued on with our day.  But the talk of Mater continued on into the evening.  With a few tears and some well placed weeping (Cailey).  At one point I just said, “Do you want to go back and see him again?”  The answer was affirmative but with a quick check on the computer we knew that the Rescue group had already closed up shop for the day.

But.  There was a website.  And we found the listing for Mater, but no picture.  But we were able to get his backstory.  He’s a Vizsla, which is a Hungarian hunting dog that can grow to as large as 50 pounds.  His breed is a very gentle one, who craves human affection and attention.  They are generally quiet, fiercely loyal, and very low maintenance.  Except that they require a lot of exercise.  They are also very cat like in that they clean themselves with their tongue, and emit virtually no odor.  They are also wonderful with children.

This type of dog has short hair and no undercoat, so ideally should be kept indoors.  Mater is 15 months old, and his former owners neglected him.  He was kept in a cage at night, and outdoors all day.  With not a lot of interaction with the family.  He is also about 10 pounds under weight.

So I did what any rational person who has declared a No Pet Clause in her wedding vows.  Someone who is most certainly not a dog person, and has never owned any animal weighing over 7 pounds soaking wet.  I e-mailed the rescue group to inquire about Mater.

And then filled out an online application.

The next day we went back to Petco after church to see if Mater would be there.  He was not, as another rescue group had set up camp.  So we came home.  And waited.  And I may have sent yet another e-mail.  You know.  In case the first one spontaneously burst into flames.

That evening we received a call from Mater’s foster dad, who keeps rescue dogs temporarily until a family can be found.  He said he’d be glad to meet us so that we could all see Mater.  “How about tonight?” Fiddledaddy inquired.  And with that, we all piled into the van to head to a designated park to see Mater.

Mater is housebroken and crate broken, but has received no other training whatsoever.  He doesn’t know how to walk on a leash, so his foster dad had a “gentle leader” on him for control.  After a good deal of petting and cooing, he removed the gentle lead so that we could take a picture of Mater.

I steadied my camera as Emme took control of the leash.  But she was heading in the wrong direction.  “EMME, come back here so I can take a picture!”

Her response was inaudible.  So while Fiddledaddy was busily engaged in conversation with Mater’s foster dad, I told Emme to let me have the leash so SHE could take the picture.

Before I knew it, I had covered about 100 yards in 60 seconds, heading for a lake. Suddenly I remembered that this type of dog was a really good swimmer, and that I don’t look good wet.  So I dug my heals in to no avail, kicking up dirt on either side of me as I dug two parallel trenches.  At last I plopped myself down on the ground as a feeble attempt at becoming a human anchor prior to hitting the lagoon.  We traveled another 10 feet.

Finally, Fiddledaddy looked up from his conversation only to see his wife and possible future dog as dots on the landscape.  “I suppose we should go save her.”

Later that night Fiddledaddy asked me why I didn’t holler any commands.

I DID.  I’M PRETTY SURE I SAID “WHOA, WHOA”.

Blink. Blink.

What the dog heard:   “GO, GO”.

That’s me on the ground out of frame, desperately holding onto the leash.  Most all pictures of Mater are blurry.  Draw your own conclusions. 

Needless to say, it was highly recommended that Mater could use a little obedience training course.  With his possible future family.  Frankly, Fiddledaddy’s been trying to get me into an obedience course for years.

I don’t have to tell you that we all fell in love with Mater.  Before leaving the park, Jensen marched up to Mater’s foster dad and said,“Well, do you think we’d be a good family for Mater?”

“It’s not up to me, buddy.  The head of the rescue group makes those decisions.”

Still he pressed, “BUT DO YOU THINK WE’D BE A GOOD FAMILY FOR MATER?”

After wearing him down, Mater’s foster dad finally said, “Yes, I think you’d make a good family for Mater.  And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be buying a used car from you someday.”

Thankfully, the rescue group has approved us as a good family for Mater and he comes home on Saturday.

Our house is abuzz with excitement, planning, and a good deal of panic (mostly from Fiddledaddy).  He has been overheard muttering “ARE WE INSANE?” a couple hundred times.  I am strangely calm and cool.  I feel like there’s a reason this dog belongs with us.

I just thought of another title:

Barko Gets a Brother

And I’m about to get a whole lot of new blog fodder.

September 14, 2011

28 Responses to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dollar Store

  • YAY! We had a rescue dog once.
    She pulled on the lead and we had a choke chain which sounds like a torture implement but is actually much kinder than letting the collar dig in constantly. You give it a little pull and say heel and immediately loosen it again and it reminds the dog that they are going too fast for you to keep up.
    Much safer if you walk near traffic,than finding you are being dragged towards the road.

  • Yay! A puppy dog!! I’m sure the kids are over the moon! I’m a sucker for a sweet dog, so I have a strict “avoid adoption fairs” law I must abide by until I’m a homeowner. With a husband to be on poo patrol.

  • You are going to get a lot of advise from pet owners now so I am going to add my advise to the rest. Stay with the Gentle leader and do not get a choke or pinch collar! They choke and pinch and can cause damage that will NEVER be corrected. Use the gentle leader and positive reinforcement to create a bond so that the dog will WANT to stay with you. I can not believe you broke your own law!! God has a plan, I’m telling you.

  • Good for you! 🙂 I hope you all really enjoy him.
    Our two little goldens are keeping us busy, so I have some empathy for what you are up to!

  • Oh what fun for you! My hubs is coming back from Afghanistan soon (yea!) and our kids are slowly wearing us down on getting a dog for our family… oy…I like the idea of getting one that is already housebroken! 🙂 In the meantime, I’m watching episodes of “It’s Me or the Dog” and taking training notes… seriously, those people are ridiculous on what they let their dogs get away with, but the results are amazing!

  • There are different schools of thought on collar types. I’ll just say this–choker collars can cause more neck degeneration over time than pincher collars do. High energy dogs cause their owners many ortho injuries if not properly restrained. Just ask my ortho surgeon…

    Crate training is awesome! Shelter dogs rock! Every time a dog is adopted, an angel gets his wings! :))

    Nate’s Mom

  • Congrats!!!
    Mater sounds a lot like our Daisy…all except the no odor part. Daisy’s a bloodhound…she stinks. Through no fault of her own, she just…stinks. Other than that, she’e as gentle and patient as can be with two 3 year olds riding her like a horse, examining how the back of her tongue goes down her throat, coloring her nose purple with chalk, and generally subjecting her as an extra to all forms and fashions of imaginary play.

    They haven’t succeeded in getting her up the ladder to the top house of the playscape yet, but we’re 99.44% sure the day will come soon when we’ll find her there…

  • I am so excited for you guys! We rescued a dog a few years ago. Let me just say give it a few months, haha. The first few are a bit stressful, but the reward is so worth it! We finally gave up on giving our dog walks on the leash, he’s a car rider now. Loves, loves, loves to run errands with us. He has a nice big yard to run and play in, but no amount of training or expensive collar could teach our previously homeless dog how to take a relaxing walk. I’ll pray for you 🙂

  • Congrats! I’m so glad to see that you are entering the world of dog ownership. I’m a firm believer that a dog is a great experience for kids!! Also, one of my neighbors has two vizslas. They are the most well behaved dogs that I know of: friendly with everyone, very obedient and great with kids! I think you’ll have a keeper once he finishes training.

  • WOW! Vizslas have been our dream dogs for a while. We lost our old buddy (golden retriever) a little over a year ago, and the kids think they’re going to shrivel up and die if we go any longer without a dog in the house. I have to admit there’s a lonely feel to our house without a wonderful doggy friend to welcome us home when we walk in the door. We like to dream about a female Vizsla named Penny, but I told the older kids that I need to get our almost-2-year-old potty trained first.

    Have fun with Mater!!! A few kids in Georgia will be longingly taking in every picture you post. 🙂

  • I’m so happy for all of you! And also more than a little amazed that you agreed to it, DeeDee. 🙂 What a handsome fellow he is! I’m looking forward to hearing all about your adjustments and your life with Mater!

  • My hubby had a no pets clause written into his wedding vows as well. He held firm to his anti-animal stance until visiting a pet adoption center in our town. Our then four-year-old was flitting about the room checking out all the doggies. My hubby, who would usually stand in the corner scowling, noticed a twelve-week-old puppy and instantly fell in love. Thirty minutes later we were driving home with our new puppy in tow.

    Mater sounds like a wonderful dog, and so handsome! I know you will grow to love him as fiercely as my hubby loves our pooch.

  • Will’s bday is in Oct….I’ve been having “lingering moments of insanity” over it.

  • Hooray for everyone!

    We are dog people…three labrador retrievers live with us and they spend most of the time in the house. We’ve gone through countless vacuum cleaners to keep up with their shedding, but it’s all worth it. We can’t imagine life without them.

    I can’t wait to hear more about the adventures with Mater!

  • I secretly hope this happens to my husband. I have no desire for a dog. Except that I kind of do. I want the dog, but not enough to live with dog maintenance. At least not for now. But if he came home thinking we should get a dog, I can point him to petfinder.com where I already have a few I like…

    Congrats on the new family member!

  • Congratulations! The two dogs we’ve had over the years have both come from abandonment/rescue situations. Well, the cats, too, for that matter. What we’ve found, and I suspect you will as well, is that these animals exhibit an amazing amount of gratitude. They’re just special. I hope Mater has a long and happy life with all of you!

  • Two words… Cesar Milan.

    Your next favorite TV show needs to become The Dog Whisperer. You could rent past episodes free from the library, download them free on hulu, or just use your TV. Even though I grew up with dogs, I learned a lot. The absolute best thing we implemented was who walked out the door first. Amazing the overall calming effect it had.

    I personally think every kid should grow up with a dog. Fun times and hilarious memories ahead!

  • Love the name Mater- how cute! Should provide some very entertaining future blog posts! My good friend has a vizsla…. the husband chose her for her excellent hunting skills. It is amazing to watch her run full speed, and humorous to watch her try to be an overgrown lap dog! She’s pretty hyper, but they really enjoy her.

  • DON’T read until Sunday (I’m a bit of a Negative Nellie on this issue). If you wanted more blog fodder you could baby-sit! I *can’t* believe you’re breaking your no pet policy!! And the dog that only can be seen in blurry pictures reminds me of the movie Marley & Me, have you seen that movie??!! So I’m thinking you’re a little crazy at the moment but am happy for your family. 🙂

  • We are also in the process of adopting a rescue dog after many years of my saying “No Way!”.
    Hubs always said if we got a dog it would have to be a lab or something like it.
    We are adopting a dachshund min/pin mix so, needless to say, he has changed his inner rules as well,lol.

    Congratulations!

  • Congratulations! Mater will be a lot of work to start with, but you will LOVE him immediately! Just find a GOOD obedience training place – not a pet store – and have a blast. With a lot of patience, consistency, love, and cut up hot dogs, you’ll have an awesomely trained dog in no time 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more about Mater!

  • The guide dog school we raised a puppy for uses some vischlas as guide dogs so they CAN be trained. Just to give you some hope 😉 Definitely find a good training school because you need to train both the dog and you (and hubby and kids) on how to achieve good behavior. A dog is like a kid; he’ll try you to see how much he can get away with and he thrives on consistency. I’m sure you guys will be a great family for Mater.

  • I’m sure y’all will be a great family for Mater! Good luck on the obedience training!

  • He is adorable! Love him already! 🙂

  • He’s just living up to his name – he’s towing! You know, Tow-Mater, from the movie cars?

  • I see this as a cry for help. Send me your address so I know where to ship the crate of Chocovine and Oreos. And maybe a couple boxes of Milkbones for Barko and Mater.

  • I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! Vizlas are beautiful dogs. I have wanted one since I was in high school, which was not that long ago..wink, wink.

    One small piece of advice, get a head halter. It is something like a halter for a horse but it is for the dog. It leads them by their head and it is MUCH easier to control them. Trust me, I know, we have a Great Dane;)

  • I’m with Alison @ September 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Cesar Milan – Dog Whisperer.

    My best friend Chris has two dalmation rescues, the younger very excitable. She uses Cesar’s techniques and Malibu has chilled out. (Of course, she had to teach me to use them when I visit!) I’ve used them on our neighbor’s dogs. HIGHLY recommend Cesar’s techniques!!!! You have to learn what their behaviors mean and remain alpha – top dog.

    Toys with treats in them. Watch out for skin issues – may be a sign of allergies to foods, but hopefully you won’t have any.

    God has given you all to Mater and vice versa. He does have a plan. That Mater bonded with Fiddledaddy doesn’t surprise me. What I’ve seen with Chris’s dals is that they are very grateful to be living in a loving home. Having been in a bad one, I believe they know and remember the difference. I do agree with one of Chris’s other friends – when I die, I want to come back as one of Chris’s pets. They have it made!