First, a story…
Once upon a time, I had 2 children and one on the way. My husband decided to bring a black lab puppy home as a hunting/family dog. His name was Scout.
It should have been Houdini.
Ty had come off a 2 year deployment, and before he went back to work, he had all the time in the world to spend with the dog. However, once he went back to his civilian job, the dog became a terror. He jumped on our table breaking my favorite sugar bowl (which Ty replaced this past Christmas). He snuck out of the pen no matter how airtight we made it. He howled from his crate all night long.
One evening, while Ty was at work, and it was raining, and I was supposed to be heading to a La Leche League meeting with my new little baby girl, the dog escaped again. And I yelled at him as he ran down the road -
“I hope you get caught by the dog catcher!”
Yes, I did. I was done. So done in fact, that I was thankful when shortly thereafter, we moved to a rental that didn’t allow dogs and we had to give him away.
That was almost 10 years ago. That was almost 7 kids ago.
So, let’s just say that getting a puppy is a pretty big deal, and I had some pretty big stipulations.
#1 The hunting/family dog had to be a smaller dog. (as in, not a monster lab with a monster tail that knocks small children – and sugar bowls – over)
#2 The dog had to be trained – not by me, not by my husband, not by our children.
#3 The dog had to be cute.
This little guy met all those stipulations…
His name is Kip (named after Kipper the Dog – an all time favorite cartoon around here). We chose a one syllable name because it is easier to use out in the field when hunting. It also couldn’t rhyme with “NO” – for obvious reasons.
He is a true tricolor French Brittany – a fairly rare find. French Brittanys are smaller hunting dogs. Not as small as a Cocker Spaniel, but smaller than their American Brittany cousins. I really didn’t think I would like the ticking on him (the small spots on the white part of his coat – also sometimes called “roan”), but when I saw his daddy, Reux, I decided all grown up, this dog would end up looking pretty classy.
And frankly, the pup chose us.
(Get a load of that cute guy holding the puppy! Did you know that’s how he snagged me in the first place? He was holding a puppy. )
Kip was the one puppy out of the litter that followed us around. The one who looked at us when we talked. The one who captured our hearts. So, we loaded him up and took him to the trainers.
Yes, I said the trainers. (Remember #2?)
We do not want a hunting dog that hangs out in a pen all day. We want a family dog, but having a family and hunting dog is a tricky combination. We took Kip to a man who will train him in basic obedience and later in the year, Kip will go back for hunting training. This takes the pressure off of me (I have enough trouble potty training children, let alone a dog), and Ty (who needs to spend his extra time focusing on the children rather than focusing on teaching a puppy to behave), and the children (who have attention spans about as long as a puppy).
We will still need to reinforce all that Kip is learning, but we are not starting with a blank slate…
or a broken sugar bowl.
Welcome to the family, Kip! We are looking forward to many fun years at home and in the field!