Monday, July 12, 2010


The 15th is the date of getting the keys.  After weeks of searching, only to find that everything in our new town is woefully out of our price range or absolutely squalid and cockroach infested, or not dog friendly, and having all the houses that looked like they MIGHT be habitable and we MIGHT be able to stretch the budget to afford them mysteriously slip from our fingers, we finally made the terrible decision that the dogs are of secondary importance to our family life, and that continuing to drive an hour and a half each way is so bad for our family life that if the dogs have to go, the dogs have to go.

One day after making that decision, we found a wonderful downtown apartment, the entire top floor of a Victorian (architecturally, yes, but don't think gingerbread and wrap-around porches) house.  It is old and charming, right across the street from a park, two blocks downhill from the church, and half a block from the best coffee shop in town.  (The last was entirely accidental, though I WAS the one to find the house.  I promise.)  It needs much cleaning, and the landlords need to do some repair work, but I am excessively pleased, just the same.

NB: my husband doesn't think it's "wonderful."  He walked into the foyer and saw the hole in the ceiling plaster where they'd fixed the toilet above and hadn't put the ceiling back, he saw the window that needed to be re-sealed, the one crooked door that the landlord had already told me they were going to fix, the window sill with termite damage, and the uneven floor in the original screened-in summer porch (whose floors are always uneven, at least in every old house I've ever seen - those porches were almost always afterthoughts, after all) and said "you thought THIS was CUTE??"  Well, c'est la vie.  He was desperate enough to tell me to look for mobile homes, but apparently not desperate enough to snap up an apartment that was affordable and livable but which needed repairs and cleaning from the nasty previous renters.

And the best part?  We can still keep one dog!  They have a 2-dog, 50-lb total pet limit, and if our dogs weren't Aussies we'd be keeping both, but unfortunately one dog just about meets the weight limit, so one dog it is.  We don't know which one we'll be bringing, and which one we'll be re-homing, because it all depends on the homes we can find.

I know mostly only people who I can trust read this blog, so I will give a shameless plug for my dogs here. 

Gwenivere (yes, spelled the Welsh way) is a year and a half old black tri, has had one litter of puppies, ASCA and AKC registered.  She has followed a herding dog around and has proved her abilities/instincts, but has not been trained.  She is absolutely sweet, loves people, loves kids, I have never seen her growl or lash out at any provocation.  However, she is very very high energy, and needs space or an owner committed to giving her enough exercise.  She's happiest when she has a job, and I'd like to place her with someone with sheep or cattle to herd, or at least a farm to watch over.  She smiles with her teeth and loves to lick faces.  I have not been able to break her of the habit of jumping up on people.  She's the one my husband wants to keep because of her sweet temperment, and she's the one I want to re-home because I she would be so much happier on a farm than in an apartment yard.  She would be an amazing show dog for conformation or agility.

Sir Gawain is an 8 month old red merle, intact, ASCA and AKC registered, and Gwen's half brother.  He is much more laid back and lazy, and loves to sit and look at you adoringly.  He is a wonderful companion dog, but his energy is much lower, and I doubt he has much of a herding instinct.  He also loves kids, but he's bigger and clumsier than Gwen and more likely to knock very small children over.  He is very patient, but he has one black mark on his record: he bit my husband once when he was a very small puppy.  He has not bitten anyone since then, though he has definitely been provoked, but he likes to lick you with his whole mouth, not just tongue, so sometimes there is teeth contact though it's never nipping or biting.  Again, these are considerations for having him around children, especially if children are likely to say "he bit me!" when all he was doing was licking.  I have not seen him be aggressive once since the one biting incident, which based on the circumstances was definitely puppy fear-biting.  He injured his shoulder when he was a puppy and it grew somewhat crooked, so he will never be able to peform for conformation.  I honestly don't think he's smart enough to perform for obedience.  He's just a perfect dog to have around a family, and he's never happier than when he's stretched out across your lap getting his tummy rubbed.  He's the one I want to keep, because I think he'd be happier in an apartment yard with daily walks.  Also, I'm his favorite person, which naturally makes me love him more.

It breaks my heart to have to get rid of one of these dogs, but it is so necessary for our family.  If anyone who reads this is interested, or knows of anyone who might be, please send them my way.  We won't be finally out of the old house till the 1st, and driving back and forth to pack till then, so we have a little time to work dog details out.  It's my biggest priority just to find a good home for them.  I'll be asking $100 for whichever dog I can find a good home for, not that that comes anywhere close to what we paid for them or what even their papers are worth, but my object is not to make money.  I put a price on them more as a litmus test for their future homes, whether their future parents are willing to invest in them or are just willing to accept freebies.

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