As I mentioned, Benjamin had a hard time after all of the Trouble with Rex and his subsequent return to the animal shelter. The Daddy and I decided that perhaps a puppy (a girl puppy) was a better idea, one that we could train from the start, with the goal of avoiding any Rexist repeats.
So we started deliberating over what kind of puppy to get. I took a cursory look around in the paper and online, but didn’t see anything that struck me. Bulldog? Too snorty. King Charles Spaniel? Cute, but too fussy. Boston terriers? Too Boston terrier-y. Golden retrievers? I love them, but they all seemed to be ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Then my dad sent me an email that said something along the lines of, “I have a friend who has a Labradoodle, and it seems to be a good dog and it doesn’t shed much.”
This whiz-banged my memory back to an article I’d read a few years ago on the trend towards the designer dog breeds called “doodles,” meaning one breed mixed with a Poodle. Breeders are frequently mixing Labrador Retrievers with Poodles (Labradoodles) or Golden Retrievers with Poodles (Goldendoodles). There are several benefits to these mixes, including dogs that don’t shed much, are low allergen producers, and have temperaments appropriate for family life or human assistance (therapy dogs or guide dogs). I seem to remember that the original Labradoodle was bred to be a guide dog for a woman whose husband was terribly allergic to dogs.
A quick Google search yielded a breeder with Labradoodle puppies ready for homes in a town 2 hours away. Better yet, she had a girl puppy. Even better still, the pups had already been exposed to the
abuses charms of 2-year-old children, as she herself had a 2-year-old boy who loved to play with the puppies.
After some more research, we decided the Labradoodle was for us and scheduled to pick up the girl puppy that Saturday. We didn’t tell the kids; we simply told them we were going on a surprise adventure. Benjamin was confused when, after exhaustive questioning, I confirmed that the adventure wouldn’t include a museum, science center, or dinosaurs. I’m sure in his mind, he was thinking, “What other kind of freakin’ adventure is there?”
So now…drum roll…I’m pleased to present….Maya!
After the brief honeymoon period in which it seemed like she was the most perfect puppy ever, we entered a more typical and sobering phase of nipping, chewing, jumping, and general naughtiness. For example, when a frightened 2-year-old runs away screaming from a nippy puppy, the puppy doesn’t think, “Uh-oh…I shouldn’t continue on this path. The child is scared.”
Nope. Here’s what the puppy thinks:
“Yay! The small pink human-shaped thing wants to play with me! First, I’ll jump on top of her play-growling, and she’ll enjoy that so much that she’ll fall on me and smack me with her oddly shaped paws, and then we’ll nibble on each other for a while! It’ll be so great! And then I’ll tug on her hair and she’ll chew my ears! And everyone will be proud of me and I’ll get treats treats treats treats TREATS!!!!”
Despite the obvious communication difficulties, it’s clear that she’s sweet and very trainable, or perhaps we are, and I predict that she’s going to be a really great dog.