Thursday, June 3, 2010

The dog experiment

Historically, our forays into pets have been temporary. Each summer we are the repository for other people's animals when friends go on vacation. I consider this an almost perfect solution to the pet issue: by the time the novelty wears off, we get to return the critter. In the past we've had turtles and guinea pigs and hamsters as guests. For the past ten days we've hosted a dog.

I like dogs. I grew up with them, poured my teen angst into their fur, and cried when they died (one of diabetes, one in an accident, and two of old age). But I've always said our house would be canine-free until I had at least three kids old enough to walk a dog. That's because I have enough to pick up around here already; I'm not adding dog poop to my list.

Big Guy has wanted a dog for years. At his old school -- the awful one -- one of the few spots of light was a dog named Dilly. Dilly was so helpful in getting Big Guy to regulate his feelings that we eventually arranged to have visits with her worked into Big Guy's schedule. At his new school Big Guy talked about Dilly so much that by mid-year the social workers had convinced the administration to acquire several dogs.Now every kid at that school who wants to gets to visit with a dog once a week. It's a good thing.

We've been contemplating getting Big Guy a dog, so Jojo is our trial run. Here he is:

I think he's a Bichon Frise. He's small and likes to sit on your lap, aloof but cuddly, like a cat that barks when someone comes to the door. Jojo thinks I'm the alpha male, which is amusing and mildly gratifying; at least someone listens to me now!

I've been pleasantly surprised at how easily Jojo has become part of the family. Big Guy has been getting up 20 minutes earlier (not easy for him!) to walk the dog before school, and has taken Jojo up to the dog run for half an hour each evening. One of the girls usually walks Jojo after lunch. I've had to feed him a couple of times, establish house rules, and monitor the younger kids when they get overly affectionate. But it hasn't been hard, especially relative to the peace of having a comfort animal around. We will be sad when it's time for him to go.

Maybe it's time to get a dog of our own. Not a puppy. A dog.

Length: 60cm
Head: 18cm 
Ears: 8cm long, 5 1/2cm wide. 
Legs: 23 cm
Tail: 20 cm
Waist: 40 cm

Weight: 13.8 pounds

* as measured by Little Guy, as part of his schoolwork for today.


  1. Oh, he's cute.

    Why was the dog not weighed in kilos?

  2. Technical limitations (mine!)

    I think our bathroom scale can be programmed to weigh in kg, but I didn't think to have one of the older kids recalibrate it.

  3. Great photo! We miss him....