Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A New Dog

Bonnie and I have been wanting a large dog. We live in the countryside, and Bonnie gets a little nervous when I'm out of town. I've been wanting a large dog for other reasons: mostly because a dog under 50 lb. just doesn't seem like a real dog to me.

The last time we got a large dog was in Pomona, near L.A. There, we just went down to the dog pound, picked one out, paid a small licensing fee, and went home. It's not so easy in Langley, BC. At the Langley Animal Shelter, you get interviewed. Then your home gets inspected. Then the dog visits your home. Then you sign papers saying that you will treat your dog almost as well as a human being. Then you pay $350 (which is actually the cheapest of all the animal shelters in the Vancouver area). And finally, the dog is yours. Bonnie and I just couldn't get excited about paying that much money to have a self-appointed 20 year-old animal advocate asking us personal questions and snooping around our home.

Buying a dog out right isn't much better. A mutt puppy costs hundreds and a pure-bred anything is over a thousand.

So Bonnie and I did what we usually do when we do not feel right about our options: we did nothing. Although, nothing is not really accurate. We wanted, and we offered our wanting to God. Bonnie and I both had a peaceful sense that if God wanted us to have a large dog, God would make it obvious to us....

On Sunday, Bonnie had to stop by the Co-op to buy some flowers before Church, and on the bulletin board was a card saying: 10 month old female German Shepherd: free to a good home. Bonnie took down the number.

After Coffee Hour, Bonnie told me about it and we decided to call. We were invited to meet Kota and her current owner, Dave. Dave got Kota from a friend six months earlier. The friend had paid over a thousand dollars for her, but in a few weeks realized that he could not keep a german shepherd puppy in an apartment and be gone to work all day. Dave offered to take Kota to his farm in South Langley where Dave house-trained her and did some basic obedience work with her. Dave socialized her (she loves people) and began conditioning her to be a companion dog. Then this spring Dave realized that he was spending almost as much money feeding Kota and his other two large dogs as he was spending on feeding himself. Dave had to find Kota a home.

Bonnie and I got along very well with Kota (I brought some dog treats, which helped). Dave explained that he had about 30 calls and had invited several people over. He was looking for the right match. He wanted someone who had room for the dog to run but who wanted her as a companion--which is exactly what we were looking for. It didn't take much convincing. Dave let us have Kota.

Although Bonnie and I are happy about a new big dog, our little dog, Tidbit, is very unhappy. As some of you who follow this blog know, Tidbit has had a very bad experience with coyotes, so any large dog seems like a coyote to her. Well it's day two and Tidbit (while being held in Bonnie's arms) will at least let Kota smell her and Tidbit herself is now sneaking an occasional sly sniff of Kota (when she is looking the other way).

For right now we are keeping Kota on a leash as we walk around the house and around the yard. She has to learn that ducks and geese and turkeys and chickens our part of the family too (not play toys). Also, this is helping Tidbit not freak out too much as she can easily escape Kota when she wants to play.

As you can imagine, Bonnie and I are getting nothing done. One of us has to be holding the leash at all times--except, like now, Kota is in my office with me, and Bonnie is with the other dogs elsewhere. Thank God Kota is already partially trained and obeys simple commands (as well as a ten month old can).

It seems that Kota is an answer to prayer for us; but "prayer"seems too strong a word. She is a gift, it seems, from God. May God help us to be faithful with all of the gifts He give us.


elizabeth said...

how beautiful! I hope she has a long and good life with you all! a gift during the Bright Season! Christ is Risen!

Jake said...

I recall another of your animals had a "bad experience" with coyotes (if being eaten by them can be so described). Do you not have the ability or will to dispatch coyotes who eat and harm your other animals?

My brother in law is a professor of biology at the University of Texas. He tells me the range of coyotes has vastly expanded in the last couple of decades mostly due to them adapting to a diet of road kill.

Jake said...

I meant to add, coyotes can easily kill (and eat) any large dog including a german shepherd. It's not even a contest. Only other wild animals (such as the wolf) and man are a threat to them.

Fr. Michael said...

Dear Christopher,
Thank you for your concern. No, we do not plan on using our german shepherd as a coyote deterrent. She is mostly a burglar deterrent and companion. We have had good luck so far this year keeping our feathered critters in an area close to the house. It's when we let them wander that they sometimes become prey for coyotes. Even in the yard, an eagle, owl or large hawk will get a chicken (and once a duck) every now and then, but not very often. The big dog helps scare off large birds. We had a problem this year with ravens going after newly hatched goslings. Bonnie had the little dogs chase off and bark at the Ravens, and after a week or so they stopped trying.