August 15, 2005

My great love

Hope you weren't expecting some great love story about my husband or some other lost love. Although I adore my husband to no end, anyone who knows me also knows that my puppy, an English Bulldog named Sgt. Major, is the center of my world. In fact, shortly after we got him, I wrote a commentary for the military publication I work for regarding finding a pet that was right for us.

-- Published Commentary (9.17.04 edition) --

My husband and I recently added a new member to our family. We brought home the cutest 6-month-old English bulldog and promptly named him Sgt. Major.
Although we fell in love with him at first sight, the decision to get a pet was not made in haste.
Shortly after arriving to Fort Polk, at the end of May, my husband expressed an interest in getting a pet. I was a little apprehensive since I had very little experience as a pet owner, but he had grown up with dogs and assured me I would enjoy it.
Our first hurdle was to find a pet we could agree on.
My husband said he wanted a rottweiler like he had during childhood, but I was worried a dog that large would be hard for me to handle, as I'm only 5-feet tall. I suggested we look into getting a smaller dog since I would be the sole caretaker when my husband deploys.
Our next decision was what breed to get, so we made a list of considerations. We wanted a dog that would not need constant attention, as we both work; had an easy temperament, because there are so many children in our neighborhood; and was "travel-friendly," since we often drive to Houston to visit our families.
My husband wanted a "house dog," and I was worried about the Louisiana heat. We spent time researching different breeds because we wanted to get a dog that fit us. Since my husband is in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, we had to consider the possibility of an upcoming move.
Once tentatively deciding on an English Bulldog, we did more research, talked to breeders, veterinarians and animal shelters to make sure that we could properly care for this breed.
We asked questions regarding the breed's health issues, and what to expect from it as a puppy and full grown dog. We also inquired about recommended veterinary needs, exercise and feeding.
We visited the Fort Polk Veterinary Treatment Facility to gather information about installation requirements and talked to friends about their local veterinarians.
We wanted a puppy with the classic bulldog look and discussed what our budget was for purchasing one. We had to take into consideration the cost of supplies such as kennel, food and toys since it was our first pet.
Then we started looking for a dog. We visited shelters, talked to breeders and called pet stores. We so so many puppies in those few weeks, but when I saw Sgt. Major, I knew he was the one.
I have to admit, when that shy little puppy licked my fingers I was hooked. We took him home that day and haven't regretted it.
We still have to deal with training and teething, but he is no longer shy. In fact, he has become very adventurous as long as he can see either my husband or me.
He has claimed his spot on the sofa and often redecorates his kennel with our towels and rugs, but we knew to expect that and he is learning his boundaries.
He has even learned who to go to when he wants to wrestle and who will scratch his belly when he is sleepy.
Although it may have taken us a while to get him, we agree that the time we took to research our options was worth it because we found a pet that fits us perfectly.
We do occasionally get angry with him, but we knew what we signed up for and the joy and laughter that he brings is well worth it.
We are still trying to get him to understand that he is not the one in charge, but that may be a losing battle.

For updates about our feisty puppy, keep checking in ... I'll even have more photos.

1 Tea Party Guest:

Jan Oswald said...

--they do work into the heart very quickly, and stay forever!
I have a bulldog and she has a site devoted to bulldogs:
you can send us a picture and we'll post it!

your pals,
Jan & Vivy