The big friendly giant

A big black dog sitting on a little bed

Not Humphrey, but pretty awesome anyway. Welcome, Odie!

Someone has replaced my spreadsheet-making, ever-cautious fiancé (what a weird word!) with his risk-taking, adventurous doppelganger. First, the engagement and now, a dog!

As many of you know, we’ve been trying to adopt a furry friend for about a billion years. We’ve responded to over a dozen Craigslist ads, newspaper listings and kijiji posts – always just a bit too late.

Yesterday morning, JF answered a listing from Wasaga Beach. Odie, a one-year-old bernedoodle, needed a home because his mom was downsizing. To our great delight, she answered within minutes. Could we go see him that afternoon?

When he came bounding up the stairs – a big, black ball of legs and fur – our eyes opened wide in shock. He was enormous! But he snuggled up to us both immediately, laying his head on my hip for a scratch.

After an anxiety-ridden coffee break at Tim Hortons’ (is he TOO big?) we went back to pack his huge crate, bed and dishes into tiny Tobias. He hopped in without hesitation, crouching his head because the roof of the car was too low.

When we got home we took him for a walk and pondered the enormity – literally – or our decision. After setting up his things in the mudroom we watched him excitedly wander around our house. All 85 pounds of him.

How can anyone resist this face?

How can anyone resist this face?

But when we sat down to watch a movie, he cuddled with us and all was well. How lovely to have a giant, happy, sweet and friendly teddy bear!

There is a lot of training and hard work ahead. But there are also a thousand hugs, kisses and games of fetch. And I’m so excited.

Finding Humphrey

Back in 2013, when we were pondering the move from city to country, we had a very specific lifestyle in mind.

Picture an ecologically and beautifully renovated old stone farmhouse on a hill, hidden from the road. Every day after work, I’d wear a big floppy hat and tend an organic vegetable garden while JF went birding with our dog Humphrey. Then we’d read together on a big, soft sofa by the fire, the dog curled up at our feet.

It was a nice dream. Instead, we bought a fireplace-less (but pretty!) victorian house on the main street in Elmvale. I’m out most evenings and haven’t touched the garden. JF sneaks in some birding between slow and painful renovations. I’ve read only two books since August.

But there’s still the question of Humphrey.

The closest I came to a childhood pet was the time mom let me keep some toads in a bucket on our deck. I was a bad toadmother and they got away. So, I’ve been asking myself two important questions:

  1. Am I attracted to the idea of a dog, or do I actually want one?
  2. Am I prepared for all aspects of dog ownership?

I’m certain there are things we should do before diving into the world of chew toys and poop bags — like actually answer those two questions and maybe fence in our yard — but the far more fun thing to think about is what kind of puppy we’ll get.

We both really want a rescue, but my nasty allergies and overzealous cleaning habits mean we’re thinking hypoallergenic and non-shedding. So, in the manner of my friend Brad’s most recent blog post, I’d like you all to vote for one of the following options:

  1. Airedale Terrier
  2. Barbet
  3. Bernedoodle
  4. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
  5. Schnauzer
  6. Sheepadoodle

VOTE HERE and help us choose!