March 12, 2012

Our Newest Family Member: Meet Bailey

Last August I wrote that we just couldn't decide if a puppy was a smart decision for us. We have always been dog people, but our home had been dog-less for several years. At various times we thought about getting another, but always felt the time wasn't quite right. We were worried it would not fit well with our satisfying retirement routine.

While vacationing on Maui in October Betty and I did come to the decision to get another dog. Little did we know it would take nearly 5 months to do so. Because of my wife's allergies to most breeds and  because we had them before, we decided on a cocker spaniel. Easier said than done. There are virtually no buff colored, female cocker spaniel puppies available in Arizona. We searched every on-line source we could find. We contacted the local cocker rescue organization. We looked in the newspaper classified ads. We asked friends. Nada. Cocker spaniels are scarcer than Democrats in Arizona.

We would have nothing to do with national puppy mills. The health and behavioral problems that often accompany puppies from mass breeders made than a non-starter for us. Plus, I was very hesitant to send hundreds of dollars to someone out-of-state for a puppy who we could only know by its picture on a web site. In fact, until the middle of last month I very strongly voiced my opinion against buying a dog over the Internet.

But, the search had finally reached the point where if we didn't consider out-of-state breeders we might never find a cocker puppy. So, Betty began an exhaustive on-line search. She did her homework to check on recommendations, records of problems...anything that raised a red flag. She e-mailed and called dozens of kennels all over the country. Finally, about three weeks ago she located a likely candidate. The puppy was 6 weeks old and would be ready to be shipped to us at the 8 week mark. Dozens of phone calls, pages of questions asked and answered and lots of prayers later, we decided to take the plunge and have our new pet shipped to us from a breeder in Missouri.

Tired from a long plane flight
She arrived last Tuesday morning a few hours late after missing a connection in Dallas. Her new mom and dad had some anxious moments but, except for being quite thirsty, the puppy arrived healthy and happy.

Bailey is her name, and is everything we were promised and more. She is a total cutie and a complete people dog who wants to be at your feet. She started to learn about the doggie door within a few hours. She whines when she needs to go out, giving us all the warning we need until she is trained to handle her duties completely on her own. Her appetite is excellent and she is drinking plenty of water.

Will Bailey ever be big enough to fetch a paper?
In another 2 weeks we will introduce her to our grandkids. They will be well briefed on proper puppy interaction techniques but it should be a very special day for everyone.

How much will our satisfying retirement lifestyle change with this addition? I'll let you know.

Standing guard

18 comments:

  1. OMG! Your dog is the cutest thing!

    Good luck. And a happy life together.

    Morrison

    BTW: I'm fine and happier now that I am no longer blogging for free anymore. FYI

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  2. Good to hear from you, Morrison. I've had several readers disappointed that your blog has been discontinued. Best of luck with your new job, actually writing for money!

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  3. What a cutie pie! Just love him. Hope everything works out for the best and he will bring you lots of love and enjoyment.

    Ann M

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  4. Glad to hear you decided to get another dog! He's a cutie, all right!

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  5. Bailey is a cutie and a quick learner. She will become an "it" in about 6 weeks (don't tell her). A couple of accidents a day but generally getting the hang of it. Just glad we didn't replace the carpeting yet.

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  6. Adorable! We had a buff colored Cocker Spaniel for 15 years, and now have an English Cocker. I know you will have years and years of wonderful times with her!

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    1. It's the training period that reminds me of having a very active toddler again...and I'm a bit old for that!

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    2. Yes, completely agree. The good news is it lasts only a few months with a pet, versus 18 years with a child!

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  7. She couldn't be any cuter if she were a stuffed toy!

    You mention your wife is allergic. Are cockers relatively allergy free (I know there are no totally allergy free dogs.) I'm allergic to dogs and cats. The problem seems worse for cats, maybe because dogs are more "floor" and cats are everywhere. I always assumed a longer haired dog would be worse than a short haired one, and cockers have pretty long hair. Do they shed or do they have to be groomed like poodles?
    CindyP.

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    1. Cockers are a low allergy breed, like poodles. We will keep Bailey groomed but not shaved like a poodle.

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  8. Oh I just want to give her a belly rub!

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  9. Must be something about retirement. My wife, who is retired, is really pushing me for a dog. The problem is that we do not want to be tied down and that would change our lifestyle dramatically. Plus, she likes small dogs, while I prefer big dogs (think Rottweilers) that I can run and wrestle with. I think I can hold her off for awhile but it probably is only a matter of time.

    Great addition to your family, Bob. She's a cute one.

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  10. Oh my goodness, Bailey is one adorable girl! Best of luck raising her up. Sounds like she is already a very quick learner!

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  11. Steve in Los AngelesTue Mar 13, 02:59:00 PM MST

    She is adorable! I wish all of you lots of love and happiness with Bailey.

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  12. Well, you're preaching to the choir here. I love dogs and can't imagine ever living without one. But I can understand that at our age, getting a puppy takes into account factors that were not there 20 years ago. My dog now is almost 14. I know my decision about her successor will be based on my current lifestyle and energy, and my best guess about how the next 20 years of my life will go.

    Congratulations on a super cutie!

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  13. What a sweetheart! I hope all three of you are happy together for years and years to come.

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  14. Bailey is beautiful and sweet looking. I remember that article where you wondered if you should get a dog. I am pretty sure my response was that I wanted on but my husband did not. Well last month I went to the shelter and found a beautiful 4 month old Teri-poo. He is an active dog and in the short time we have had him he has given us much joy. My husband attitude changed over time and I am pretty sure he loves the dog as much as I do. We introduced Gus to some of the Grands yesterday and they had a great time playing.

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    1. Folks, click on Sue's name above and look at their adorable little puppy.

      I'm like your husband. Betty really wanted a dog and I agreed after much foot-dragging. It changes our schedule and adds a layer of additional responsibility that I will adapt to. But, Betty, the dog, and I are adjusting well to a life together.

      After this initial phase I am sure I will wonder why we waited so long.

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