We're Getting a Puppy!?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

I was afraid (like petrified!) of dogs until about 2 years ago. Tom has always grown up with dogs in his extended family and has a deep love for them. It took him a whole year for me to even consider getting a dog of our own. I was apprehensive because I didn't know how to train a puppy and was scared of what would happen if we adopted a dog that had underlying aggression problems.

But Tom was very patient and took me to MANY animal shelters to visit the dogs and just get used to them. We did a lot of research and eventually settled on a breed that we thought would fit our personalities and lifestyle - the Brittany Spaniel.

We decided a puppy would probably be a bad idea for our first dog, so we looked into adopting an adult Brittany Spaniel. The National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network (NBRAN) is a fantastic group of volunteers that foster and care for neglected, stray, and abandoned Brittany Spaniels. It turns out there are hundreds of Brittanies adopted every year in Canada and the US from NBRAN! We filled out the online application and had an in-person home visit from the Ontario Coordinator of NBRAN to make sure a dog would be going to a good home. Well, we were accepted and ended up adopting our dear Ginger girl in March 2011. She was the perfect dog for us; affectionate, energetic and quiet. Adopting her was the best decision we ever made and it has changed my life forever (*tear)!

Meeting Ginger for the first time.  Already a big suck.

Unfortunately, in August 2011 (four months after we got her) she was diagnosed with a rare heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy, where the walls of her heart were expanding. This was devastating! We were told to limit her exercise levels and give her three pills a day for...ever. Well the pills we could do, but if we didn't exercise her at least 2 hours a day, she woke us up at 2am. We decided to make the most of our time with Ginger and keep her as happy as possible (at the dog park chasing squirrels!). We had an amazing 1.5 years with our girl before she passed away in September 2012. Still brings tears to my eyes. I miss her cuddles, energetic walks and her sneaky way of sleeping on our bed without us waking up! I never understood the appeal of a dog before Ginger came into my life....but now I can't live without one.

Needless to say, we have really missed having a dog in our home for the last six months.  We have been resisting adopting or fostering a dog until we get settled in to our new house in London and get into a routine again. As much as we would love to rescue/adopt another Brittany, the health issues we encountered with Ginger were an unforeseen circumstance. We will definitely adopt another dog in the future, but for our next dog we have decided to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder to try and minimize the health risks.

So we are getting a puppy! We visited a few Brittany Spaniel breeders over the winter and have not taken this decision lightly. The Canadian Kennel Club has a great guide for how to choose a reputable breeder, so please don't buy a puppy from a backyard breeder on Kijiji or Craigslist! We really loved the breeding program and health screening at Ruffwood Kennels, so have decided to purchase a puppy from them. They only breed once a year, so we have eagerly been waiting for news on when puppies might be born. The good news is that one of their dogs is pregnant and is due in a week or two!

Our puppy is in that pregnant belly!  Photo copyright - Ruffwood Kennels

So it looks like we will be getting a puppy in about 9 or 10 weeks!  We can't wait!  Stay tuned for puppy updates, training, frustration and cuteness!

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