Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh Fuzzy Bear!

Our children are petrified of dogs.  Scream, cry, run away, anytime a dog comes near them.  They calm down once the dog calms down, stops running towards them, or they realize the dog is super tiny.   They love the idea of a dog and love hearing stories of our beloved yellow lab Bubba, but once they get around a dog, panic sets in.   So, we started talking about getting a dog, in hopes that would eliminate their fears.  In those discussions, we talked about:

Puppy vs. Full grown dog
White vs. Black vs. Brown vs. White
Shedding vs. non-shedding
Barking lots vs not at all
Boy vs. Girl
Everyone care for dog vs. just Mom
Shelter vs. pure bred dog

Finally, we decided to go to a few shelters and just look.  Well, the first one we went to, all three screamed and started crying the second we entered the first room with all the kennels.  Yes,all the dogs were in kennels and the kids all freaked.  Not good. All three stopped when they realized the dogs would not "get them."  We didn't find any we wanted to consider so onward to another shelter.

Right away, the kids fell in love with the second dog they saw, Fuzzy Bear.  Jack actually saw him online earlier in the day and he KNEW this was our family dog!  We hung out with Fuzzy, no kids screamed or cried, but all three kept their distance for sure, but Fuzzy did too. After playing with him, taking a little walk, we decided to adopt him!  Red flags rose a tad when we got a look from every volunteer, the look of relief?  Good luck with that one?  One said, "He's a lively one."  We went home that night with plans to get ready for Fuzzy and pick him up the next day.

Everyone woke up with excitement the next day, we stocked up at Walmart and Petsmart, and off to pick up Fuzzy Bear!
Such a cutie!

We signed tons of paperwork, bought the worlds largest kennel, and headed home with our new family member.

Yay, the drive home was not the greatest.

1.  He pooped in the back of my car.
2.  He jumped over the seats to sit in the front with me (Eric and Will were in the truck with the huge kennel)
3. Jack and Molly cried when the dog jumped on them to get to me.

I called Eric near tears that this wasn't a good idea, a common theme in the days ahead, but he reassured me it was a good idea.

We get home, take a long walk, and cleaned out my car, then settled in with Fuzzy!  The first day and night were good, no accidents, lots of walks and outside time, and I had a new shadow!  But, the kids were not good.  Will refused to play on the floor, only on my bed or the couch, I had to carry him everywhere in the house, and he screamed every time he saw Fuzzy.  Molly didn't need me to carry her, but screamed and ran away from Fuzzy every time she was near him.  Jack was super excited but very nervous around Fuzzy.  I had a really bad feeling, I may have cried and drank a few glasses of wine.  Maybe.

Monday was our first full day with Fuzzy and we took lots of walks, spent a lot of time outside with him, and he pretty much followed me around the house all day.  He went into his kennel great and the kids were warming up to him, well, they didn't scream every time they saw him.

I went to bed Monday night feeling a little bit better about Fuzzy.  But, Tuesday morning I had a huge pit in my stomach.  I just had a really bad feeling.  I took Fuzzy on the worlds worst walk, he tried attacking some kids waiting for the bus at their bus stop.  They were just standing there, poor kids look terrified, I'm sure I did too!  It took all my strength to stop the dog.  We get home, things go smoothly getting everyone ready for school, except Fuzzy knocked Will out of the way when I was getting Will dressed, Fuzzy wanted to play instead.  That sort of added to Will's fear of Fuzzy. That afternoon, we came home to eat a quick lunch between speech and taking Molly to school and I didn't want to get Fuzzy out of his kennel for 30 minutes just to put him back in.  Well, we get home from taking Molly to school and his kennel was torn apart.
Luckily I laid towel underneath his kennel, otherwise that would be my destroyed carpet instead of towels.
Of course, I call Eric in tears and he thinks this is normal and its fine.  I know dogs tear things apart but I just had that feeling.  After hanging out with Fuzzy while the kids were at school, I go to put him back in the kennel to pick the kids up and Fuzzy growls at me.  Oh that's not good.  So, I leave him outside, pick up Jack and Molly, and we have an uneventful afternoon.  Eric comes home from work, takes Fuzzy on a walk with the kids, and he thinks I'm going crazy.  I agree, because by this point, I'm crying, thinking this dog is the wrong dog, and I'm going to to be the mean mom that sends the dog away.  

Well, at dinner, we're all eating and Fuzzy is laying under the table and for no reason at all, he starts to bark uncontrollably at all of us.  No one touched him, were near him, and he barked in a very mean bark.  We send him outside, clean up dinner, and bring Fuzzy inside.  I go and sit on our couch, Fuzzy puts his head in my lap and I'm petting him.  Molly comes and snuggles with me and we are petting Fuzzy, when he starts to growl at us.  I reassure Fuzzy every things fine, pet him again, Molly pets him, and he growls again.  I start crying, Eric thinks it's a fluke, and has Molly come sit on the floor with him and calls Fuzzy over to them.  While they are petting Fuzzy, he growls again.  Not a fluke.  Then, all the sudden, Fuzzy lunges, snaps at Molly and tries to attack her.  Scariest thing ever.  We sent Fuzzy to his kennel and that's pretty much where he stayed until he went back to the shelter the next morning.  We told them about how great he was with adults but keep him away from children.  I really wanted this to work out, but maybe when the kids are a little older?  Not sure when the right time is!  We're sad it didn't work out but we learned a few things:

1.  15 minutes with a shelter animal is not enough time to see if that one is the right fit for a family.  Foster a pet or adopt a puppy from a shelter.

2.  Trust your mom gut, always!  I am relieved that it was my child and not a friends or those poor kids at the bus stop that he tried to attack.  Not that I wanted Molly to go through the experience of Fuzzy trying to attack her.

3.  Research, research, research!!  There is a dog in any breed, shape, and size for all families.  It's just finding the right one!

4.  Having a dog or puppy is a lot like bringing home a newborn baby.  It's a lot of work but the benenfits usually pay off!  But you have to be able to work with the dog, it's not an overnight job!

5.  Dyson animal vacuum is the greatest invention ever!  So thankful we kept it after Bubba, there was dog fur everywhere!  Next time, we're getting a non-shedding dog!  That is not negotable!

6.  We will get a dog that either starts off as a puppy and grows big or a smaller dog all together.  Starting off with a dog that weighed more then the kids are was almost as tall as them was not a good idea.  No wonder they were scared, he was huge!

Now the kids are asking for a fish, thinks that the route we'll go for now!  Maybe hermit crabs, I heard those are super easy!  

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