Friday, February 5, 2016

An Ode to Gracie

Will deeply desires a dog of her own, and we're hoping to make that happen this summer, but this particular spoiled grey tabby of ours is pretty much Sydney's best friend and soulmate:

She is to be found wherever the children are, often sleeping inconveniently exactly where you'd rather be, but under Syd's dictate, you are not permitted to disturb her, lest that make her uncomfy:

In warm weather, she insists upon being outside with the children, and will even follow us on hikes: 

When the children go outside to play in poor weather, however, Gracie stands at the window and watches them, meowing plaintively. It's pretty pathetic.

Mostly, however, you'll find her somewhere like this:

And yes, she will let Syd dress her up. Here, she's serving as the mascot for Syd's online Girl Scout cookie shop (which you should ask me for the link for, so that you can buy some cookies from her. She takes credit cards! And ships across the US!):

And, yes, she even has her own theme song:

We WILL launch our Hunt for the Best Dog Ever this summer, because I promised the kid, and it's something that she wants very much, and frankly, it's probably something that she needs very much, as well, but I'm nervous about it on several fronts. Will we find a dog that won't eat the chickens? Will we successfully train it not to pee in the house? Will its existence be a giant pain in the ass?

But also... will it, could it, how could it ever possibly be as perfect, as deeply loved, as integral a part of our family as our beloved Spots and Gracie are?

Although I do look forward to one day hearing Will make up and sing a theme song to her dog...


Tina said...

The love between kid and pet is so awesome. I love all the photos of Syd with her baby :0)

We've been in major flux with this move, and from the 25th of January until the 3rd of February Emma and Bailey were not together. When we got to my in-laws and they two of them saw each other, it was the coolest thing. Emma and Bailey were not able to sleep together while we were at my in-laws, but every morning when they saw each other again it was like they had been apart for years. While Bailey would prefer to snuggle with me, she really, truly loves Emma and always keeps an eye on her.

One thing to know about dogs, is that they will listen to the "alpha" in the house better than their person. While they may love the kiddo more, they will most likely mind the mama better. It's kind of like, "Well, I see that my kid is getting yelled at by the mama, so it must mean the mama is really in charge."

That being said, the dog will obey the kiddo, and the kiddo will be able to train the dog and do fun tricks with the dog, and totally be in charge of the dog, but there is a possibility that the dog will look more to the adult for guidance.

That has been our experience with Bailey anyway. But you have to take into consideration how old the dog is when you adopt and what the history of the dog has been. With Bailey being 5 years old when we adopted her, she could have spent the last 5 years of her life listening to adults and ignoring children (though she has always been willing to humor Emma). This is one of the reasons I swear I will get a puppy next time.

We are nowhere near perfect dog parents, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

julie said...

Oh, that's interesting. I don't fancy myself much of a dog person, so I rather imagined that I'd ignore the dog and let the kids be in charge of it, they way that they are with the chickens and the fish--heck, they even do all the cat chores! I guess I'd better start reading some dog training books!

After much research, Will is saying that she wants a labrador mix, maybe between 1-3 years old. I am still VERY leery about how a dog will behave around the chickens, but it seems like after we get home from our American Revolution road trip this summer, we'll start looking!

Tina said...

We have started researching the dog/chicken interactions. With Bailey being a terrier, and designed to hunt small creatures, it's going to be interesting. There are a few decent articles about how to make it work. I'll look through my pin boards and send the ones I found helpful.

And if all else fails, get a shock collar (they actually have ones that just vibrate or make an annoying noise), and 'zap' the pup whenever it gets too close to the chickens.

We liked the clicker training methods (Karen Pryor- with our last dog. That's what most big box pet stores teach. The clicker scares Bailey though, so we have been trying other things with her.

Labrador mixes are a good choice! Just let her know to keep an open mind about breeds though because sometimes it can be tough finding what you want.