Sunday, January 25, 2015

How Did Getting A Puppy Transpire?!?!?!

I'm not sure ANYONE, who knows us and knows us well, ever thought getting a puppy would ever happen. We are busy, clean, and slightly overwhelmed people as it is, with three children.  We also love to go places, near and far, and we had no desire to be tied down. But, as my momma always said, "Never say never!" AND it's so true.  

As promised, I had planned to share the when, what, where, who, how, and why regarding our Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Sadie, and her arrival into our lives.  I know she's just a puppy, but this soulless animal is a 10-12 year commitment (unless something tragic happens). Being Sadie could potentially be with us for up to 12 years, I plan to document our time with her. So I hope you will enjoy seeing all the cute, funny, challenging, and sometimes frustrating moments.  I'm being 100% honest, when I say, I have only been challenged and frustrated ONCE by her, otherwise, she has been the funnest, funniest, sweetest little addition to our lives.  The frustration came when I decided to take her on a loooooong walk and she refused to walk the first 5 minutes, so I had to drag her instead.  Once she realized who was boss, she ran the rest of the way. LOL! SO let me share all of the details or you can just bypass this post altogether, if it doesn't interest you.

When: It all started about two weeks after Christmas, when Darren came to me and said, "I've been doing a lot of thinking.  I really love our home and see us here for a long time.  As long as you agree, I'd like to do some home enhancements."  I'm totally content, so I asked, "What type of enhancements are you referring to?" Once Darren and I has his mind made up about something, the rest of the storyline happens fairly quickly, but we are definitely not spontaneous or impulsive about our decisions.  Our decisions come with much thought.

What: So what type of enhancements did Darren have in mind? Darren discussed his ideas: a fence, a puppy, and a "sunken trampoline". I was blown away.  He was very specific. Oh and it wasn't just "a puppy", he had a specific breed picked out...a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.  We had a dog book that describes all of the breeds and apparently he had bent the Rhodesian Ridgeback's page over 12 years ago, but never told me.  My step-mom, Carlene, even recalls Darren saying (12 years ago), "If I ever get a dog of my own, I want a Rhodesian Ridgeback!"

Where: Okay, so although we were BOTH on board with the plan, I'm not going to deny that we still had a little hesitation.  We exchanged comments like, "Let's be realistic, the kids will love it the FRIST 10 days, and then, the responsibility will be all ours!" and "Will we ever get to travel again?" etc... After we got over some of those fears and ways to resolve them, our next step was WHERE do we get a Rhodesian Ridgeback?  The breed is definitely rare in this area.  Our vet, Dr. DeRolf, was stunned when we brought Sadie in, simply because they are so rare.  He even asked where we found her.  LOL! Darren began sending me breeders names and photos of some cute RR puppies that were set to release soon.  I contacted ONE breeder in Roanoke, but she wasn't breeding again for another year.  Sigh... This won't be as easy as walking into your local pet shop and picking out the dog of your dreams.  I contacted breeders from Texas ALLLLLLL the way to Florida. Our pup, would potentially be flown to us. After speaking with many many many breeders (6 to be exact) and spotting our Sadie girl, we chose to go with a breeder in Gaffney, SC.  The plus about using this breeder was that we wouldn't have to purchase a plane ticket, for our pup, literally.  It was just a car ride away.

Who: Who did we choose?  Our breeder's name is Frances Wood.  We were happy with the conversations we had, with Frances, enough to drive 3.5 hours there and 3.5 back to, both, meet and pick up our sweet Sadie. Buying a puppy, if you do it correctly, is like a job interview. I fully believe the breeder should be kind of interviewing you and visa versa. Frances takes great pride in breeding her pups and while many of her pups are show quality, and ALL of her pups are AKC registered, Frances doesn't have the "dogs are better than humans" mentality.  Oh trust me, this business is brutal.  Almost all of the breeders I spoke to had some "beef" with one of the other breeders I was considering.  It's crazy.  

How: Once we decided on our breeder, it was up to us to decide if we were going to drive to Gaffney or if Sadie was going to take an airplane to the Roanoke airport.  HOW did Sadie get to her new home? Darren and I took a drive up to Frances' home, without the kids.  When we arrived, we pulled up to a gate, which required a passcode, to get to her precious pups. I thought it was a good first impression. Francis breeds Silver Labs, Brittnays, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  We were greeted by Sadie's momma, who barked and chased our vehicle the entire way down.
Frances' "kennels" were VERY clean.  She had video cameras monitoring every "pen".  I wanted a tour, but she was very protective over the pregnant mommies and the nursing mommies. Frances did let me take ONE peak, at one Rhodesian Ridgeback mommy, who was nursing her pups.
Isn't this so stinkin' cute?  I wouldn't want to be nursing 4-10 pups, but she wears it well. Hehe
 Why: Why Sadie!?!? When I spoke to Frances, she originally had one male pup and one female pup left, but she said, "The female pup is the pick of the litter. I kept her for myself, but I travel a ton, with my other job, so if you are really interested in her, after seeing her, I might be willing to give her to you!" Darren and I wanted a female and the more and more we spoke to breeders and the more and more we went through the motions of having a puppy, the more and more anxious excited we became. So we didn't wait a moment longer. Darren and I did agree that if we got there and it wasn't "love at first sight", we would wait for the next litter.  AND look what happened.... WE FELL IN LOVE immediately.  Sadie was a tad bigger than I had expected an 11-week old puppy to be, but the reality was, she wasn't going to be getting any smaller, that's for sure.  She was 25 pounds when we took her home.
I felt like a new mom being handed over a newborn and then told, "It's all yours! See ya!!!" I've had dogs my entire life, but it had been 3 years since Ninja passed away and at least 20-22 years since I've been responsible for a puppy.  As the old saying goes, "If you don't use it, you loose it."  We were so unprepared.  We had NO DOG supplies, minus the 3 cups of dog food that Frances sent us home with.  No leash, no collar, no crate, no bed, no dog bowls, no dog treats, no chew toys, no clothing :), N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  So, we drove a little ways and stopped at a PetSmart about halfway home.  Sadie came in with us.  LOL! We were hoping she would lead us to some things she wanted.  
She was a timid little thing.  The world is a big place and she was just used to her tiny, little living quarters as a pup.  She wasn't even willing to walk on a leash at PetSmart.  I'm not even sure she knew what a leash was. Speaking of leash, Darren and I had are first "argument", regarding Sadie, in PetSmart.  He said he refused to walk a dog with a BIG flowered collar and a girlie leash.  He tried to get Sadie a Duck Dynasty GREEN and BLACK camo collar.  Uh, no!
We arrived home with some of the important necessities. All of our children wound up spending the night out so Darren and I could experience the first night, with Sadie, alone.  Sadie really did make herself right at home. Check out her fashionable collar, by Martha Stewart.  Looks like I won the collar battle.  LOL!
All nestled in her new mommy's lap: safe and warm.  Wow, she's grown SO MUCH since this photo was taken 2 weeks ago.
We love her dearly and have zero regrets.  She's literally the sweetest, cleanest, calmest, smartest, most "chillest" pup I have ever had AND I've had many dogs: Pugs, Labs, Shiba Inus, Dobermans, Boxers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Mutts. Finally, I haven't seen ONE piece of hair...NO LIE, in the last 2 weeks. Now that is the type of dog for a Bolling home.  

I'll fill you in on how we introduced Sadie to the kids and their reactions.  If you are interested in getting a Rhodi and have questions about our breeder or our breed, feel free to contact me. We've done a ton of research and have asked a crazy amount of questions. We don't claim to know it all, but now that we have a Rhodi, ourselves, we can answer many of those questions that didn't seem to have consistent answers, from one Rhodesian owner to the next.

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