in Checking In

Test-driving a dog

Every now and then we’ve talked about adding a dog to the family. We wanted to be sure the kids were ready for it, and that we had the home and yard that would support it. We had reached this comfort level about the time I got an email saying Lab Rescue of North Carolina was looking for foster homes for labrador retrievers. We checked out their website, found some dogs we were interested in, filled out their comprehensive application, and waited.

We got an interview call this weekend from one of the facilitators and was referred to a foster dog owner here in Raleigh. Another call Sunday night and we arranged to meet this dog. We prepped the kids beforehand, letting them know this might not be the right dog for us. They seemed to understand, though, and looked forward to the meeting.

Last evening, the dog and its foster parents came over. We watched as Rocket, a 2-year-old lab, explored the back yard and got to know us as we got to know him. The kids gleefully chased the dog around, patting him on the back and tossing sticks for him to “retrieve.” Rocket also seemed to feel at home inside, and before long was lounging on the floor and licking faces clean.

Kelly and I think Rocket might be our dog. We’re going to wait until tonight to share the news with the kids, maybe to give us more time to consider things. Getting a dog is a big commitment but one that should reward us for years to come. Judging by the looks on our kids’ faces its the right thing to do.

  1. just some advice here…

    Get a book from Cesar Millan or watch the Dog Whisperer (his show). Labs are generally pretty easy dogs but they do have issues. As you probably know from my stories.

    Make sure you give Rocket a LOT of exercize! I’d say a good strong 45 minutes in the morning and maybe some more at night. He’s gonna have TONS of energy.

    Also, I know you’re good with money but stash away a few bucks per month for just the dogs health care. You never know what might happen and they can be very expensive!

    Would love to meet him and I’m sure Brooke would too!


  2. Cool! Great job getting an older(ish) dog. You’ll be happy you missed out on house training and chewing.

    You’re *really* close to the oakwood dog park, i’d be happy to bring my guys down there for a play date one afternoon.

  3. Scooter: Thanks for the book and show tip! I’ll have to check ’em out.

    Jbroome: We went to a cookout at Oakwood Park this weekend. The kids stood by the dog park fence, mesmerized by the activity.

    I’m also on the Parks board now so i’ve become quite familiar with Raleigh’s dog parks.

    I might take you up on the play date!

  4. Have to second the Dog Whisperer recommendation. Cesar is amazing. We recently got a Jack Russell Terror (intentional misspelling) and Cesar’s tactics are the only things that work. He’s on the National Geographic Channel. If you don’t get it we have about 30 episodes stored on the DVR and I’ll be glad to run off a few of the better episodes on DVDs for you.

    We’ve also watched a bunch of Its the Dog or Me on Animal Planet. Victoria is British, obnoxious and nowhere near as good as Cesar but I like the old Jaguar E-Type that she drives (wish I still had mine!) and she has the most clueless clients so it’s funny. She’s also one of the judges on America’s Greatest Dog which is fun to watch now that you are a dog owner. Sort of a reality show for dogs.

    Good Dog U (also on Animal Planet) is somewhere in between Cesar and Victoria. Mostly good advice but not as entertaining.

    One good thing about having a dog is all the walking you have to do. You will probably lose weight and lower your cholesterol as a side effect.

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