Guys. I did a thing.

For about a year (actually more, but more intensely in the past year), I’ve wanted to get another dog. Mom has been on board for very near that amount of time. Dad didn’t get on board until we moved. Unless we were talking German Shepherd, then fine. But once we moved, Georgia the Neurotic Wonder lessened here neurotic tendencies. She just sort of evened out. Now she loves Dad, tolerates gun noises without peeing (though she still hides and gets stressed), and stays in the yard (unless we’re shooting the bow…. then she tries to visit the neighbors). Since she’s no longer in danger of killing herself all the time, Dad actually likes her and was no longer vehemently opposed to a new dog.

In October, I almost got a Great Dane puppy. He needed a new home, and they weren’t sure he would get along with the other taker’s dogs. He did apparently. No Great Dane. We had a Great Dane mix, so fear not, I was prepared for everything a Great Dane entails.

Did y’all know German Shepherds are expensive? Like, crazy expensive? Obviously we wanted a reputable breeder and a dog with minimal health concerns. Our series of marvelous mutts has come to an end. You just don’t know what you’re going to get with them. So, reputable breeders of German Shepherds in Michigan. None under $1,200. Most were around $1,600. And of course there were waiting lists.

Side note, if you’re a breeder in need of a website makeover, message me. Seriously. It’s not my thing, but I’ve learned that breeders have the tackiest, least readable websites in existence. One lady had white text on yellow background. You read that right. Except, you couldn’t read it. That’s the problem. Contact me. I’ll fix it.

Now, I have a steady job instead of a temp one, I have some savings, I’m signed up for my math class (speak no evil), and I’m still living at home where others can help me train and take care of a furry baby.

Cue last Saturday.

I was sitting in the family room with Mom as we chatted and I scrolled through Pinterest. There was a picture of a Collie on it, and I showed Mom. We started talking about the breed because Mom had a Collie when she was little who was amazing and she loves them. She also said she’d looked for some when we were thinking about getting another dog, but couldn’t find any near us. Per my usual habit when discussing breeds, I decided to see what the average price was and if there were any near us.

Few results in Michigan.

With very little direction or reason, I clicked the first result which was just stupid and barely related to my search. So I backed out and clicked the second. It was for a litter with 3 males left, only an hour away from us, for under $1,000. I mentioned it to Mom.

“Yeah,” she replied with a chuckle, “but how old is it? Most of the ones I found were too old to be any good.”

I replied, “2 days.”

She looked at me. “Seriously?”

“This listing was updated two days ago.”

So I called this lady and it took 20 minutes of listening to her ramble before arranging for me to come down at noon. That gave us time to shower, get ready, go to the bank before it closed, and get down there. Aiden was less than thrilled at first. He suddenly turned from my normal brother who loves dogs and doesn’t care as long as he gets to pet it, to being the voice of reason. He kept asking if I was sure, talking about commitments, making sure I wasn’t just doing it on a whim. Of course I was. But I’d been researching and looking casually for a year, so I was actually quite prepared. We called him a Debbie Downer, but he did perk up eventually.

So, we got down there and this woman was like Laura’s mom, but older. She talked a mile a minute. Super sweet. Amazing old farm house. Definitely Catholic considering the Virgin Mary statues. We walked into the house and I suddenly felt as though I was standing on the alpaca farm again. The smell was identical. And there in the pen were 5 gorgeous rough collie puppies. 1 female sable that the owner was keeping, 1 tricolor male that had already been claimed, 1 tricolor male that was unclaimed, and 2 sable males that were unclaimed. The already claimed tricolor’s family was arriving shortly after us to get him (more on them later).

The owner kept talking about the alpha of the litter. He was the biggest one there (by maybe 2 pounds and 1 inch), and was “confident” and full of energy, picking fights and playing with all his siblings. We took the other two males out into the yard to play with their mama and aunt, who was a German Shepherd ready to have her own pups. While we were outside, the family came to pick up their puppy.

It took two hours to buy a puppy.

I kept trying to pull my mom aside to ask her opinion and talk to her, but the lady was SOO loquacious that it was nearly impossible.

Admittedly, the tricolor was the cutest puppy. But I love an adult sable. I think they’re so gorgeous. And after we brought the alpha out to play too, we were certain (even more so than before), that we didn’t want him. We would’ve made Cesar Milan proud. We picked the middle-ground one with an even temperament and energy level.

While we were deciding this, the daughter of the obnoxious family dropped her puppy. That was a scene. He wasn’t super high, but he limped for a few minutes. As the puppies played, she just kept shouting his name like it would make a difference. This girl looked about 13 or 14, but we think she may have actually been about 10 judging by her behavior.

The breeder then brought me and the mom of the other family inside to sign the papers, show us all of their paperwork, and talk some more. Bear in mind, I still haven’t paid her yet. Although I did decide on an extra $50 for breeding rights. Just in case. Then she checked them for fleas (their mom had them for a while, but she had treated them and was just making sure), trimmed their nails, checked their teeth, etc. While doing this with my dog, the girl dropped her puppy again outside. I wanted to drop the girl.

Eventually, the family left with their dog, I paid the lady, she handed the money back while she took a picture, I paid her again, and she gabbed with us until we closed the car doors. We got lunch, and drove to the pet store by our house to get supplies. Aiden parked his truck there so he could go get Georgia so we could introduce them at the park. But the park was crowded, the puppy got sick in the store from the car ride, and we decided to just take him home.

It has now been 1 week and 2 days with our newest family member. After day 2, he perked up a lot. Georgia finally sniffed him after a few hours and decided he was allowed to exist, though she still wasn’t certain why he had to exist with us. She’s socially retarded due to abuse and being raised with her demonic sister for the first few months of her life. She doesn’t sniff dogs when she meets them. She ignores their existence or barks. If they insist that they do exist, she just growls at them to stay away from her toy and get out of her face, then goes back to indifference.

We went through a whole list of name options before finally deciding. Top contenders were

  1. Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Jethro (NCIS)
  3. Fitz (Agents of Shield)
  4. Leroy (NCIS)
  5. Ducky (NCIS)
  6. Much (Robin Hood)
  7. Pippin (LOTR)
  8. Merry (LOTR)
  9. Leo (Percy Jackson/Agents of Shield)
  10. Hardison  (Leverage)
  11. Eliot (Leverage)
  12. Archer (Everything we watch/read involves archers)
  13. Tug (Ranger’s Apprentice)
  14. Abelard (Ranger’s Apprentice)
  15. Gunny (NCIS)

Hardison is too long. We tried Jethro out for a while, but it just didn’t work. Deb voted for Ducky, but while he looks like a good Ducky for now, he won’t as an adult. I would’ve happily accepted Fitz, but it sounds like “sit” so that’s out. Archer was too done. We already call Dad Much, so that’s out. Eliot turns to “Smelliot” (Open Season) really quickly. Abelard would involve Dad calling him “Lard Butt.” Another friend voted for Bingley, but it wasn’t working as well for us. So, Gunny it is. It seems to fit. Deb, who is my NCIS friend, approved. Actually, Pastor thought it was fantastic. It was good enough for him as it was (he’s Air Force), but he loved it even more when Mom told him we went through Leroy, Jethro, AND Gibbs before settling on Gunny. So… Pastor watches NCIS. That’s a fantastic discovery.

Anyway, here’s the stats on my new little demon. He’s a rough collie, 9 weeks old now, 12 pounds, can go up stairs, loves Georgia, and eats more than I thought possible for a creature his size. Also, while I was writing this, Aiden sent me a video of Gunny finally learning how to go down the stairs! Progress! We’ve also learned through unfortunate experience that he must be super tired come bedtime or he will be up for forever. Last night was the best so far as he only got up once at about 3:15. Woohoo!

Yesterday he was a stinker. He’s still teething, so that’s fun. I yelped once in the first couple of days when he bit hard though, and he hasn’t done that again. At first, he only played with toys if Georgia had played with them. Now he plays with all of them. Tug-of-War is pretty much mastered, and it’s actually taught Georgia to play tug as well. He is afraid of nothing. Including reprimanding for bad behavior… the whole nudge in the side thing isn’t working with him. We did get a baby gate to keep him from going upstairs or to lock him in the living room with us. This is for sanity purposes as well as potty training.

Georgia is… interesting with him. They will eat their food next to each other with no fighting. He can play and run as long as he stays away from her face, but she’s told him who’s boss a couple of times when he was super annoying. She checks on him if he gets hurt (read: if we step on him because he herds us as we walk….). She also scolds Aiden if he tries to pick Gunny up.

So, without further ado, meet Gunny!

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