When I’m not buried in work or delighting in visiting Tarma every night, there’s an ongoing struggle I keep going back to. We’re still healing from loosing Cyrus (a process that never really ends), and slowly shifting towards maybe being ready to find our next dog. However, Cyrus set such a ridiculously high bar, even more than Flash did for my equine partner. He slipped right into our lives and routines with barely a ripple, and just a few incidents here and there where we figured out his preferences in life. From the first moment he was trustworthy with Kade and the cat, the horses and the adventures. Only once did he completely blow off a recall (he apparently had a huge crush on a Golden Retriever puppy at the beach one day).
The main question I face first is what kind of dog to put out the feelers for. I already have Cyrus’s breeder listening for other retired or failed show Boxers, but this is a good period to reflect and maybe broaden our horizons.
But a puppy? Is my household ready for the big lift that is training and molding a puppy to fit our lives, dealing with the inevitable upheaval and chewed on, peed on, thrown up messes they make? On the other hand, puppies are joy and love personified, and we could use some of that this year. But…I’ve never raised an animal myself, from scratch as it were. And my husband does enjoy a mostly quiet household.
My biggest hesitation with an adult dog is ensuring they’ve been adequately exposed to horses, or have a sufficiently low enough prey drive that it’s not a huge worry how they’ll interact and follow me on horseback. I’ve already passed up one dog who sounds otherwise lovely because it’s one risk I just won’t take, and a good argument for getting a puppy. But…puppies are more work, and as a friend and my husband have pointed out, I’m already bringing along a new horse and I’d really love to have an adventure partner, mostly ready to go by spring. Also, should I broaden my breed horizon? I tend to fixate on things, but Boxers are not the only family friendly adventure dog out there…so I’ve heard.
What do folks think? Is a puppy worth the work and disruption and not being ready until next year for full adventures, or should we seek another adult dog and work with what we can find, hoping we get so incredibly lucky twice?