Over the years I got over my fear of dogs, solely due to the fact that Alex's parents' had two Dobermans and his sister had two Pit Bulls. No better way to get over a fear than to just jump right in.
Xander started exhibiting very young, really while still an infant, that he had a love of animals. Due to the fact that the verdict is still out on whether or not he'll have a sibling, I often imagine him growing up not with siblings, but surrounded by and loving animals. I have a feeling he is going to be a Veterinarian. I know all parents imagine their kids doing this or that, but I really truly have a sneaking suspicion he is going to be a Veterinarian. I just know it. The compassion and interest he shows in animals is above average for someone his age. It quickly became apparent that a canine companion would be in our future. We had to wait for the right time. Is there ever a right time in life for anything? Yes, this time there was...
Since late February/early March, Xander started exhibiting some pretty out of character behavior. He's always been an active kid, but upon being moved to the 3 year old class his behavior went to an extreme. Keep in mind with us at home, or with his tia or his abuelos, he was business as usual, but at school a total different story. Biting was running rampant at his school and he got in on the mix. He wasn't listening to his teachers. He was playing too rough with friends. He was being the class clown. He started telling us he didn't like school. He even started telling us he had stomachaches to get out of going to school. I expect this behavior from a junior higher, not someone in a 3 year old preschool class.
Alex and I were completely perplexed. I wrote a blog, made some comments on Facebook, but none of that really exemplified how I was feeling on the inside. Completely helpless. Sad. At my witts end. It literally consumed me. It was all I could think about. While I never thought his behavior was due to my work travel schedule, no doubt people who read my blog, or saw my facebook posts did. Don't act so surprised. I know who you are. I know you did. And, it's the truth. I still don't think it has anything to do with that. It has everything to do with an independent, extremely intelligent 3 1/2 year old pushing boundaries to see what he could get away with. And he was getting away with murder at his school. After all, he didn't act like that with us at home because there is never an option to. Xander needs structure, Xander needs to know he can't push you around and Xander doesn't respond well to negative reinforcement. It was time to find a new place for Xander. And we did.
At the same time we put Xander in the new school, I had a feeling NOW was the time to find him a dog. We knew we wanted a Doberman since that's what his abuelos have, and we knew we didn't want a puppy. We started looking at Doberman Rescues. The first few inquiries we made, we were denied. This Doberman has food aggression issues, we won't give a Doberman to a household with a young child, blah, blah, blah. Truth be told Alex and I were getting quite annoyed with all of these Rescues and now we're left with a bad taste in our mouths for them. Despite the fact that we would have felt comfortable with any of these Dobermans, and been a truly loving household, they apparently weren't meant to join our family.....but, Daisy was.
I found Daisy on Petfinder, also being placed by Rescue. A five year old Doberman, raised with kids, needs a new home because her current family was moving and couldn't take her with them. Um, perfect for us! I sent an email. And, was ignored by the Rescue. This time though, I couldn't stop thinking about Daisy. She looked and sounded perfect in every way for our family. After some sleuthy Internet research, I tracked her owner down and called her directly. She was so happy I had reached out. The Rescue had never even told her about us, yet was trying to convince her to place Daisy with a breeder!!! Can you believe that??? The owner put the kabash on that! So far, the owner said, there had been no one interested in her that fit their standards. It was perfect.
The current owners and their two kids came to our house on April 13 to see if Daisy would be a good fit for us. We fell in love with her instantly. That day she became a member of our family. Xander helps feed her, Xander helps put her to bed, wake her up, let her out, let her in, picks up poop, helps walk her. The sense of responsibility and pride of accomplishment I see in my little boy is awesome. He's even started waking up a full 30 minutes earlier on his own these last couple of weeks to get her up. I no longer worry about him playing in the backyard by himself. Daisy protects him from any country critters that could be out there. The other morning I heard him tell her he loved her. He asks me to take his picture with her. The first thing he says to us when we pick him up is that he wants to go home to see Daisy. And funny enough these last two weeks he has been damn near behaving perfect at school. I don't believe it's a coincidence. As a reward for him, we even brought Daisy to school to pick him up last Friday. In the first few weeks on the job, Daisy has been an amazing success.
I'd be omitting the truth if I didn't admit she's had a calming affect on me too. Her mere presence has been such a welcome comfort to me. I worked from home the other day and moved her bed into my office. She slept at my desk as I worked away. I loved having her by my side. Rarely in life is there a "right time" for anything, but THIS not only was the right time to add a dog to our family, but it was also the right dog. Perfect in every way. A saving grace.