There have been Tweets, there have been Facebook postings, and now there is the Blog Post.
We have a bit of a surprise in that we have a new family member, Taz, a six-month old Lab/Shepard mix of some kind that we adopted through the Humane Society.
No one is as surprised as me. My wife, Irene, comes from a society that doesn’t really value dogs as pets. On my first visit to Taiwan in 1998, ferrel dogs roamed the streets of Taipei, alone and in packs and while most of them seemed quite content to ignore me, they certainly weren’t dogs you wanted to run up to you, and, in some of the more rural parts of the Taipei metroplex, some packs were downright menacing.
Irene, having grown up in that environment, and have been bitten was not hugely enamored of dogs on the whole when we met, although her host family had one or two small, friendly dogs that she liked.
(On our latest trip, you could hardly imagine the change in Taiwan, pet shops and crazed pet owners who think their dogs are children are everywhere. You would barely recognize the attitude towards dogs since my first visit. I can only imagine Taiwan’s world’s-lowest birthrate of 1.0 has something to do with it.)
I’d like to think that, despite her protestations, Kiba, with her gentle and loving nature slowly won Irene over, for no one could not like Kiba given enough time. It certainly didn’t hurt that everyone, from the police to the handyman all immediately said, “get a dog” after our recent burglary. (Of course, we did have a dog, but Kiba’s wasnt much of a watchdog. She was kind to everyone, and, in her later years, deaf and partially blind, which means she probably didn’t even know they were breaking into our house.)
I think every kid should grow up with a dog, but, there was one thing Kiba didn’t have when my kids were younger – she didn’t have youthful vigor. By the time Michelle was big enough to go outside and play with a dog, Kiba was past her playing years. Because of my opinion on kids and dogs, I did want the kids to have that opportunity, but it’s been clear for years that Kiba would be our last dog, so when, last week, Irene wanted to discuss the possibility of getting another dog… I was pleasantly shocked.
Since we had a three-day weekend, unpaid though it was, I decided we might go peruse the dogs at the Arizona Humane Society. It’s been 15-20 years since I was last at the Humane Society, so I hopped on their website to find their address(es) and hours. I really shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised that (apparently) every animal in their inventory has their own webpage of information, which picture. While their searching and sorting functions don’t work worth a bean, you can get an idea of what they have. One or two dogs on the site caught my eye; Taz being the standout.
We were down that way on Saturday, so I decided to check out the Humane Society’s southern campus. As we toured the kennels, one puppy was particularly bright and friendly. It was Taz.
So, after we’d finished checking out all the dogs (heart-breaking though that is) we went back and asked to have some introductory time with Taz.
Taz is about six months old and had a previous owner, who was forced to given him up because of no place to keep him. The details aren’t given, but little clues are around that seem to indicate that, perhaps, Taz was in a house, with a pool, but then the family had to move to a new place that either didn’t allow pets, or that the space was just too small. No matter what the circumstances, so things were immediately obvious when we leashed him and took him out to the play pens: He was leash trained and housebroken already. He was friendly, but gentle with the kids; smart enough to stay in the shade while still obviously excited to have someone to be with. He was a puppy just begging to go home with us… and he did.
We weren’t even remotely ready for a new dog. There’s a bit of fence that needs repair in the back yard and there was cleanup needed in the backyard, plus it’s much too hot outside for a puppy and while Kiba never seemed to mind the heat, Taz needs to be kept inside during the day, but we’re not going to give him full run of the house, that means there’s doggy fences to erect and then he needs a kennel, so he can be cage trained, plus there’s toys, food and who knows what we’ve forgotten.
When we go him home he continues to behave in an exemplary fashion. He’s not made a mess of the floor, he obeys most rules without a problem. In fact, on the first day we had to erect a makeshift barrier. He could have easily gone over it and, at first tried. I simply told him, “no”, and not only did he back down, but he didn’t try to go over it again.
The kids are a little nervous around him, but apart from licking them a lot, he’s not given them any reason to be concerned.
We’re quite pleased with our new family member. Now, if it turns out he likes Doctor Who, he’ll be the perfect pet.