Introducing Neville

We’ve been a bit busy over the past couple of days with our new puppy!

Little Champ likes him—especially feeding him treats!—but he does have moments of jealousy. I’m attempting to get a good photo of Little Champ and Neville together…it’s pretty difficult!

Neville is SUCH a good puppy. He’s smart and sweet. He’s pretty playful, but he’s also content to just cuddle on our laps or follow us around the house.

That’s it for the post! If you want to read my little shpiel on buying a purebred dog, continue reading. Otherwise I will post about our inherited garden soon!

Why we chose a purebred puppy

I always thought that rescuing a pet is better than purchasing one, and that mutts were to be preferred to purebreds because purebreds can have health problems from over-breeding. But when I developed a pretty serious pet allergy, I knew that if we were going to have a family dog, our choices would be seriously limited.

We decided on the Havanese breed (see my last post) because they are non-shedders and really, really cute, and a good size for traveling, and good with kids. It helped that my aunt and uncle have a very sweet Havanese of their own.

The difference between the Havanese from a pet store or puppy mill and the Havanese from a legitimate breeder is HUGE. We compared both, and the Havanese from a farm, raised for 10 weeks with his mother and siblings, was much healthier, had a better temperament, and wasn’t nervous or skiddish like other puppies for sale. He was secure, healthy, and happy.

I’ve never liked seeing animals in cages, which is why I’m often tempted to buy a pet from a pet store—just to save them. But buying from pet stores just continues the industry!

We went to a pet store where the owners really did seem to care for the animals. Though the animals were in cages, they were able to play with other puppies. The store also offered a health guarantee. But the puppies were not happy. They looked tired and terrified. Not all pet stores, and not all breeders are equal. You really have to go with your gut when choosing a dog, not with pity.

I still think that breeding is a bit like doggie eugenics, but I also think there is a clear difference between neutering or spaying animals and sterilizing humans. Quality breeders makes sure their puppies will be cared for in a responsible, loving environment. They make sure the mothers and fathers are carefully selected, and their health is always priority.

On the other hand, “breeders” who run puppy mills care about profit. They treat their animals like prostitutes, pimping them out without real concern for the animals.

Our breeders breed Havanese for the love of the breed, to keep it healthy and strong. They make money from the litters, but profit isn’t their main motivator.

Bottom line

Growing up, my family adopted all of our pets but one. They were and are wonderful! Still, we had them all “fixed” because there are just too many animals that have to be put down in the world—we didn’t want to add more animals to the mix. If you are looking to add to your family, check out Petfinder.com and see if you can adopt a pet. Never buy a puppy from a person claiming to be a breeder until you see where they keep their animals regularly.

And ALWAYS get your animals spayed or neutered if you can’t take responsibility for their entire litter.

Puppies and Rainbows

Today was the kind of day that left me giddy as a kindergartner. We picked out a puppy and saw a luscious rainbow on the drive back from the farm!

First, I probably need to give some backstory since I’ve been gone so long.

I haven’t been posting lately because any post would have been a downer. Joblessness, homelessness, infertility, a miscarriage. Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely been seeing God’s blessings through everything–yes, even through the loss of our child. However, even when I would mention any of our troubles, along with the blessings, people would focus only on the apparent hopelessness and not seem to remember that I was encouraged by my faith.

Well, now I am writing to you from the living room of our beautiful rental house that is more than we could ever have hoped for. Our landlord / the owner is a Christian doctor and his family that are going to move to Chad to do medicine and missions for the refugees from Darfur. The house is in a great neighborhood and has plenty of room for the three of us. It makes me wish even more that we had additional children to enjoy it! Our new home is without a doubt a Godsend—it is amazing how He brings people together for their mutual benefit.

LT got accepted into an engineering program at a private school in Minneapolis and is joining the Marine Corps Reserves later this month. It will be quite an adjustment for him to go back to college again for a second degree! (He was a History major before graduating and then going to Officer Candidate School, followed by many more months of Officers’ training.) This fall he should be promoted to a Captain in the Reserves!

Little Champ did better than we could have hoped for on the long drive to Minnesota from North Carolina. Usually a very healthy boy, he’s been sick since the first few days of July—double pink eye first, followed by an ear infection, and now a cold that just won’t quit!

Originally LT and I decided we would get a dog after having our second child and potty training Little Champ. Now, since it will be quite some time before we will have another child (if the Lord would grant us another), we decided there is no time like the present. We have a new house, and we want Little Champ to have a companion to fill the gap between children. Yesterday we went to a pet shop to see the puppies. As fun as it was, it confirmed that 1) we can’t just get any dog, since I have terrible allergies to some breeds, and 2) we’d prefer to get a puppy from a breeder. The puppies in the shop seemed completely terrified, and while the shop owners seemed to really enjoy the dogs, I just don’t think pups should be cooped up like they were.

I had been in contact with some Havanese breeders for a month or so now and finally heard back from one that had a puppy available (all others had been previously claimed). After hours on the phone talking to the breeders and owners of the puppy’s parents, we decided that we definitely wanted to meet the little guy.

Here’s the photo they emailed me:
Today we went out to meet him, and on the way, I was just praying that he would either be our favorite by a landslide, or he wouldn’t want anything to do with us. From the photos of the litter, I’ll admit he wasn’t my first choice, but going to see all of the puppies together made me certain that he was the one. He was the first to jump up to greet us and was playful yet super cuddly. We are SO EXCITED to be bringing him home, but we are going to wait until Tuesday. We figure it’s better for him to get one last day with his mommy than to be traumatized when the movers come to our house on Monday.

We haven’t named him yet, and I only got a couple photos of him from our visit today, but I’m sure I’ll post more about him once we have his name chosen and have him home with us!

Four out of the five puppies in the litter. The one I originally thought was the cutest ended up just sleeping in the corner the entire time!

Our little prince. We’ve yet to pick a name for him.

I also foresee a puppy + two-year-old photoshoot on the horizon, since Little Champ’s birthday is next month!

P.S. Curious about the Havanese breed? Read more about this virtually hypo-allergenic dog here (on Wikipedia, of course).