October 29 a dog came to stay at our house. It all happened so fast. It was about a week before that our neighbors told us they were moving and were looking for a home for one of their dogs because they could not find a rental place that allowed 3 dogs. Their dog, Olive, had become our daughter’s best friend. Our daughter, who lives in a house of cat people has been begging us for a dog. She loves dogs, all animals. We remember when our neighbors got Olive as a puppy, a small cute dog, who grew to a medium size dog who is at least half soft wheaten terrier. At some point, we watched our neighbors dogs when they went away. My daughter, Abby, wanted to take them for a walk. These dogs had a huge fenced in back yard, they did not know how to go for a walk. We took Olive for a walk and then tried to take the other bigger dogs for a walk. We only attempted walking Olive after that. And even when our neighbors were home, Abby got to walk Olive with us. “Anytime you want to come and get her is fine with us” our neighbor told us. Abby would ask to bring Olive over and would walk around with her in the yard. One day she told her best friend, “I think I like Olive better than you.” Her best friend replied, “I understand. She’s a dog.”
In the spring of this year, 2010, my daughter began having serious emotional and behavior issues. Olive to the rescue. Bringing the dog over to her, could change her from full rage to calm and centered. At least centered enough to move on and out of the difficult place she was in. We even brought her into Abby’s bedroom on occasion when Abby was really stuck.
Abby’s pleas for a dog grew. “Someday” I would tell her. Abby’s aunt, my sister, is a dog person. She has had as many as 6 at one time and dogs are her livelihood. She grew a business with agility and dog training that has become her full-time career and passion. And so for the past 6 months my daughter has been begging for a dog and my sister has been trying to convince us we need to get a dog for Abby. She even started a Facebook campaign with reasons to have a dog.
I have always liked Olive. I have said she is the perfect dog. Although my husband and I felt that we would like a smaller dog than Olive. We live in an 1800 square foot split level and have 3 kids. Our youngest is only 21 months. Olive tolerates Jason’s enthusiastic, physical toddler behavior with calm composure.
This dog fell into our lap. How could we say no? The universe must be telling us it is time to get a dog. But so little time to make this decision. I came up with the plan to tell our kids that they need us to watch the dog while they move, to buy us time and to have a trial period. It would be more difficult to tell them that keeping the dog is an option. Abby would be begging and pleading and her older brother would put his heels in the ground. I forgot to mention that Harrison, almost 13, is not a fan of dogs. He likes them enough when they are my sisters dogs and when they are not in our house. Harrison had been saving up for an iPod touch and had earned enough money for one. He had ordered it and had just gotten it prior to this dog opportunity. Timing is everything.
We had a family talk. We explained that the neighbors needed someone to watch Olive while they moved and got settled. Harrison agreed to the dog staying for 3 weeks and Abby was ecstatic. Although she was sad knowing our neighbors ,who she had grown to love along with their dogs, would be moving. Change is not easy for her.