Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Bullock and I have started the dog adoption process with an area rescue organization that specializes in the Brittany, a bird dog bred for hunting, and thus, for better or worse, plentiful around here. We're currently considering this cute 3-year-old girl, whom the rescuers have named Betty Boop:

Squeeeee! How can you not love that face?!

Betty has some house-training issues still to deal with, because it seems she came from a home where they didn't follow up on such things or else kept her somewhere where it didn't matter (her story isn't clear, except that she had several litters of puppies, and yet through it all is still sweet, social with humans and furry creatures alike, and gentle in nature). And so Bullock and I are trying to figure out if we can handle the extra training. Originally we were interested in adult dogs so we wouldn't have to house-break them, but Betty seems so good in so many other ways, that we're still considering her. We still have the house visit by the regional coordinator, and we may go meet Betty or she may come visit us. So keep your fingers crossed for us that whether Betty is our girl, or some other dog becomes part of our pack, that we end up with the right dog for us, and the dog ends up with the right people for her (or him, as the case may be).

Btw, if you're wondering how we ended up looking for a Brittany, this is how it happened. After lots and lots of research about various breeds, as well as obsessive watching of both the AKC/Eukenuba and Westminster Kennel Club dog shows (at least on my part), we came back again and again to the Brittany. For awhile there, as you may recall, I was infatuated with Portuguese Water Dogs, but I decided that the breed wasn't right for us. Working dogs are too clever and willful for me. The Brittany, as a breed, is affectionate, eager to please, not generally willful, smart enough to learn but not deviously clever, and people-oriented. They're an active breed that needs lots of exercise, but I'm looking for a running partner, so that's a good thing in my book. Plus, they're a medium sized breed, which means that in case of an emergency I can pick the dog up myself. After Wiley's ear infection last year, when he was too dizzy to get down from our second floor on his own, I was adamant about getting a dog I can pick up myself. But neither Bullock and I wanted a very small dog; I figured it wouldn't be a great running companion and Bullock just didn't want something too, well, foofy. So that's how we ended up interested in the Brittany. And the fact that the rescue organizations are over-populated with them around here -- this is a big hunting area, and sometimes hunters surrender the dogs who turn out gun shy or don't bird well, or whatever -- made me feel like they were a breed in need.

The regional coordinator was so excited to read in our application that we'd done our research, btw. One of the main reasons dogs end up in shelters and rescue organizations is that people get a dog because it's cute and don't know anything about the breed's general qualities and needs. There's a Boxer down the street who's suffering because of that. Poor thing is left out in the back yard by himself all day and he's clearly bored out of his mind. He barks all day -- and I know it's him because of that characteristic Boxer bark that sounds more like a baby crying than a dog -- and frequently jumps the fence. And I *never* see his owners walking him. Poor thing.

Anyway, not only did the rescue coordinator *tell* me she was impressed that we'd done our research, but the fact that she called at 8:30am this morning after I'd submitted the adoption application around 11pm last night told me something! I suppose the fact that we *weren't* asking for the one puppy they have right now (actually, Betty's pup) made her leap at the chance to give us a call. She was definitely very excited to talk to me this morning!

This is all proceeding much faster than I thought it would. Who knows -- we may have a new addition to the household pretty soon!


T.E. said...

This is so exciting! What a cutie. I hope things work out. I was a bit worried about the Brittany's exercise capacity, but then I remembered, oh, runner. You'll be fine. And a smart girl can definitely learn housetraining with a consistent routine.

Anonymous said...

What a face! It sounds like the poor thing was used as a puppy generator, so she was probably kept somewhere where no one care if she was house trained or not. But they are a smart breed, so I'm sure with some patience and consistency you can get her trained. It's a small thing to put up with considering the rewards - like that adorable face looking at you every day!

squadratomagico said...

Oh, I hope Betty works out for you! Such a sweet sweet face!

the rebel lettriste said...

Look at her little face! Brittanies are funny little birddoggers; there was one at my dog run who'd track scents into a corner and kind of get "stuck" there.

She looks so sweet, and so pretty! Housetraining is do-able. Don't worry! (The rescue will make you get a crate. Keep her in it, with her toys, except when you walk her. When she does her duty outside, praise like crazy and give treats. Repeat until she learns. But you probably know this already.)

And yes, it's so nice to have a canine running partner. Their excitement's infectious.

Anonymous said...

Of COURSE you're good at doing your research.

Ecce Equus Pallidus said...

Oh, look at that sweet face! I hope you get her.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

What sweetheart!! She's so lovely - I hope it works out. I'm sure the training will work itself out. NLLDH wants Future Puppy (the hypothetical dog we're going to get sometime when we know what the hell we're doing and can live somewhere dog-feasible) to be a running partner, too.

Dr. Virago said...

I'm glad you all think she's as adorable as I think she is, because if we get her -- or another, equally cute Britt -- this blog will turn into an all dog blog. Te-hee. OK, not really. But still, there will be regular dog blogging I'm sure.

Oh and potentially bad news: there's another applicant interested in Betty! Yikes! Well, if they win out over us, there are others I'm interested in, including a beautiful cinnamon roan-coated Britt. I'll keep you posted.

Rebel Lettriste -- yes, that's exactly what the rescue contact person said about house-training and using the crate, and that's what we'll do. So in our home visit on Saturday I'll talk confidently about how we'll manage that. Fingers-crossed that we don't sound like total newbies!

Owlfish -- Hee hee. Yes, Bullock and I were just discussing this morning about how surprised people are by the research we do about mundane things. He's always stumping repair people with questions about the ins-and-outs of whatever mechanical thing they're repairing. They totally don't expect his questions!

Bardiac said...

What a cutie! Good luck on your adoption!

I've always had really good interactions with retrieving breeds; they're active, but also tend to be really responsive to people, and usually friendly. And a Brittany is a perfect size!

I think there's a lot to be said for some dog blogging instead of cat blogging (I may be biased!)

Janice said...

Betty looks gorgeous! I will keep my fingers crossed on your behalf that the adoption works out.

If you do get her, along with crate-training, I recommend that you leash her to you when she's in the house for the first few days. This helps to ensure she doesn't sneak behind the couch or into the kitchen to make a mess. It's a good intermediate step between popping her in the crate every minute you can't keep your eyes on her and letting her run free.

We still use the crate for periods other than meals or through the night, but leashing has allowed me to build a real rapport with the dog (as well as an awareness of when she needs to go outside ASAP).

the general said...

oooh doggie... she looks sweet. I'm sure you two will be a great doggie duo. You should see if the Dog Whisperer has anything on getting them housebroken.

Michael said...

The late Argyle the Airedale was an adult rescue dog - and I think they're a great idea! You have a much better shot at getting a dog with a temperament you're up for...and no puppydom!

--Cranky Prof