Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Pooches

The thing about watching Oprah is that one is often inspired to change their lives.  This is how she has made billions.  I should have known to look away from the set one rainy afternoon when Oprah and Lisa Ling warned viewers that the content would be disturbing.  But did I?  No.  The end result?  I now have two dogs.

The show was about puppy mills - you can imagine the horror - and I was entranced. Oprah stated that from now on she would no longer buy purebreds but rescue dogs instead, and I too felt the call.  I spent hours scouring the Internet to find out about puppy mills and humane societies, finding a way to help.  My way to help came in the form of Mr. Mop.

I went to a website ( that matches rescue dogs in your area.  I love bichons and found an adorable photo of a little bichon mix up in the North West Territories.  In a patch of snow there stood a white dog, with long hair resembling a mop (hence the name), one ear cocked staring at the camera.  I could hear his little voice crying 'take me home'.  I melted.  I enquired about him and didn't hear a peep.

In the next few days, my then casual dog mission led me to a puppy that would later become Brooklyn.  A breeder saves mum dogs from puppy mills and this little guy was part of her litter.  I called her up, just an inquiry, and within five minutes I agreed to take him home.

The Engineer was more that perturbed (see:  'The Doglema') when I called him at work to inform him of my rash decision.  

The weeks went on and I prepared for the arrival of the puppy. I spent hours looking at his photo, reading dog training books at the library and going to pet stores in preparation.  I decided on the name Brooklyn to mark the move (see:  "My Apologies") and started talking about the new arrival with lots of excitement.  

Then one night I had a new message in my inbox:  Mr. Mop was available.  Oh god.  The idea of two dogs was ridiculous but my heart went out to this poor little mutt up in the Arctic.  I decided to call just to see what the chances were of his adoption.  It turned out that Mr. Mop had a bit of an unfortunate past.  His owner treated him like a husky, meaning he had been left to roam around the snow-covered tundra all winter with no love.  He had been caught by the dog catcher several times and finally his owner refused to pay the 'bail'.  Up north, everyone wants big dogs and Mr. Mop was having a hard time finding a home.  Gulp.

I called my biggest dog advocate, little K,  for advice.  She convinced me to take him and we would find a home for him here.  The stars had clearly lined up as the shelter could transport him to Edmonton but not all the way to Rainy City.  Luckily, Little K's mom was driving out from Edmonton the next day and was willing to pick him up.  Within minutes, Mr. Mop was organized to board the one plane flying out of his hometown and I was now a mother of two.

I know this story is long but hear me out.  

My intentions were good:  find Mr. Mop a home when he arrived.  He did find a home:  mine.  Mr. Mop turned out to be a bichon crossed with jack russell.  Adorable, sweet and with eyes that would make even the coldest hearts melt.  In fact, everyone, and I mean everyone loves this dog.  He is so full of personality and spunk.  I have offers all the time from people who want to take care of him.

At this point, the Engineer was ready to leave me (and the dogs) and things got a bit sticky.  I couldn't imagine giving Mr. Mop away as I had fallen so in love with him.  And when Brooklyn arrived, I couldn't resist his teeny tiny cuteness.  It was the Engineer or the dogs.  But luckily the pooches wormed their way into the Engineer's heart and I never had to make that decision.

Yes, two dogs is crazy.  Yes, I travel a ton which leaves things a bit difficult.  But I just got back from an hour long walk around the seawall on a beautiful sunny morning. I NEVER would have left my house before 8 (make that 11) if I didn't have to let my dogs pee.  Now I love it.  I love going outside.  I love meeting all the other dogs and their owners - it's such a community.  I love people stopping me to play with my energetic pups.  I love taking them to the lake and teaching them to swim.  I love feeding them and bathing them and playing with them.  I would even go as far to say that I love picking up their poop (only because I am so proud Brooklyn is finally housebroken!).  I simply love my dogs.

I think everyday should be a dog day - they just make life a bit sweeter.  So thanks Oprah for inspiring me to rescue two little guys who needed a home.

Where's your dog?

P.S. I have to give a wee mention to the dog that first made me love dogs: Molly Dog Groundwater - the best dog a girl could have growing up - I hope she is having fun chasing squirrels in doggie heaven 

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