I had a long list of reasons why dogs were a pain. Dogs dig holes in the garden, stick their noses into your crotch, jump up against you, bark and whine, destroy books and shoes and toys with chewing, wipe their wet noses against your legs, lick their privates, get fleas, need walks every day whether you feel like it or not, cost a lot of money, blah blah blah.
I just wasn't up for the chaos and extra responsibility. The boys were desperate to get a dog but we told that while we were renting it was not possible.
Then, a few weeks ago, I started to get the strongest feeling that we should get a dog. I have been exercising every day, usually by walking and sometimes running, and it wouldn't be a problem to walk a dog. And I knew that the list of reasons why dogs were a pain was smaller than the list of reasons why having children is inconvenient and expensive - but guess what, having children is so worth it anyway, no matter what it looks like on paper, and I knew that getting a dog probably would be too.
When I said to Grant, "I've had the strongest feeling that we should look into getting a dog," he said he had too, but hadn't wanted to mention it to me. We decided to start by asking the landlord for permission. He immediately said it was fine, so we let the rental agency know and signed off on their list of requirements (one of which was that it would be an outside dog.)
We started looking online for dogs. We browsed for a couple of weeks but when I saw the ad for this little border-collie cross puppy I kept coming back to it, sure that she was our pup. She was the last of a litter of 7 waiting for a home. We decided to go and see her. The boys had no idea!
The night before, I had woken up at about 1:30am and couldn't get back to sleep until after 5:00. I just lay awake for hours; I was so stressed out. What were we getting ourselves into? Would I cope with the chaos that a puppy would bring into our lives, and the stress of broken nights? I was still resolved to go ahead with it as it wasn't about me - it was something we wanted for our boys. But I was anxious as it was a big decision.
When I got up and was getting ready I checked my Instagram and Twitter feed. There were three posts in a row about dogs and they felt like a sign. Then Noah randomly said to Grant, "Can I please go to The Warehouse after school, I want to buy a cuddly toy that's a dog." Grant and I just stared at each other, savouring the surprise that was in store for him. Then, on the way to school, we saw some dark clouds moving quickly across the sky and a super bright cloud emerging behind them. The bright cloud looked exactly like a dog, so much so that we all exclaimed on it. It felt like I'd had three signs in a row that we were on the right track bringing a pup home!
Once the boys were at school Grant and I ran a couple of errands and then set off for the farm. It was in beautiful countryside in a place called Raglan, about an hour and a half away.
As soon as we got out of the car at the farm the mother of the pups (right), and her mother (left) came to greet us.
Here's a shot of the grandma (left), father (right) and pup.
We bought her and began the journey home.
I was hoping she wouldn't pee in the car (she didn't) but I totally expected her to vomit from carsickness and she did. I am still traumatised from the sight of what she threw up - the cows on the farm were calving and I'm convinced that the pup had found a placenta or something and eaten that, or roadkill, or something - it was SO DISGUSTING and just kept coming and coming and stank so bad. I was gagging as Grant pulled off the motorway and took her, then I commenced a major cleanup operation with baby wipes and hand sanitiser. We just threw away the towel that she'd been sitting on, that had caught the worst of it. It was all through my jeans as well, and so gross.
Being a farm dog, she was muddy and stinky and had fleas. The first thing we did was give her a bath with some flea shampoo. After playing for a bit she was all tuckered out and settled in for a nap. Look at that freckled belly? Can you even stand the cuteness??
She still didn't have a name. I'd liked Maggie or Holly as name possibilities, but in the car on the way home I had said to Grant, "What about Daisy?" He immediately said he liked it, and joked that her markings made her look like a little cow, so it was fitting. So Daisy was at the top of our lists but we wanted to all vote together as a family for her name.
When the boys came home from school I had her on my bed (special treat not to be repeated) with the video camera set up to capture Daniel and Noah's reactions. They came into my room with Grant and saw her. Daniel immediately asked, "Whose is she?" and when I said, "She's ours," Daniel's mouth dropped open in an expression of shock and he went pink in the face, and Noah ran to hug me. They were blown away as they'd never expected it, and were absolutely ecstatic!
They asked what her name was, and I said we'd need to decide as a family but I didn't mention any name suggestions. Daniel was stroking her and he said, "Her name should be Daisy," and Grant and I just looked at each other in astonishment, as Noah exclaimed, "Daisy is the best name ever for a dog!" So that's how she came to be called Daisy - it was meant to be!
When we'd asked the lady at the farm how Daisy was with potty training she said that she'd always been an outside dog, so we were relieved that she was used to sleeping outside and we didn't need to start her off in the house. Grant went out and got a beautiful kennel and bed for her, and we made it cosy, complete with a blanket I'd taken to the farm and rubbed on her mother, for scent. She played with the boys, ate her dinner and crashed. She seemed quite happy in her house - in fact, we never heard a peep out of her the whole night! For those who are wondering, we have very temperate weather here in Auckland, so it's not a big hardship to sleep out in a kennel. In fact, the vet recommended that we continue flea treatment year round as it never gets cold enough to kill the fleas.
She has the absolute sweetest nature. She is so happy and cheerful and has instantly adjusted to everything. She happily eats the food we give her, happily sleeps in the bed we bought, happily plays with the few toys we got her. She just seems happy and laid back.
I honestly never expected getting a two month old puppy to be so easy and stress free! She's just a little delight and we're thrilled to have her join our family.
Noah wanted a photo to take to school for show and tell, and this is the one I snapped this morning:
A quick shot of her at the vet - she was due for her booster vaccination and had to be microchipped.
She is in perfect health and didn't even seem to feel her shots.
A couple of questions we had were about her breed, and how she's been with the chickens. She is 3/4 Border Collie and 1/4 Blue Heeler. Both of those are super intelligent herding breeds, so we are hopeful that we will be able to train her to coexist with the chickens. For now she is fenced in the side yard by the back door and the chickens have all of the back to roam.
She was very interested in them at first, watching them through the fence, but now she hardly spares them a glance. We will soon begin training her and won't leave her unattended with them for a long while, until we are totally comfortable with her behaviour near them. We specifically looked for a herding breed rather than hunting breed for this reason - plus I had Border Collies growing up and love these dogs. And we figure that plenty of farms have chickens and dogs who live together without killing / getting eaten.
A lot of my listed objections to dogs are to do with lack of training, and bad manners. Daisy will be going to obedience classes and we're hoping Daniel might want to even continue them into competitive obedience - we'll see. Either way, we're determined to ensure that she is super well trained and has good manners. And, of course, we'll love her to bits along the way.