Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The first of the major changes that we made occurred in January. We decided to expand our family . . . No, there is not a baby. We got a dog.

Ever since I got married, I have tried and tried to convince the German to get a dog and was always met with a resounding, "NO!" In my point of view, dogs offer child the opportunity to learn responsibility and a love different from that which they feel for friends and family. Memories of Coco, my childhood dog, still bring a tear to my eye. In the German's point of view, if you have a dog you cannot go on vacation. I never understood that argument. What are dog kennels, sitters and friends for if not to pick up your dog's poop so that you can go sip drinks on the beach?

Over New Year's we went over to his family's home. Everyone was there; aunts, uncles, Opa, Omas, cousins and nieces, and yes even a few cats and dogs. The German's cousin, who is also the Dude's Godmother, started talking to us about dogs. She pulled out a book of dog breeds. This young women possess the most amazing powers of persuasion because on the way home, the German said, "Let's get a dog."

"WHAT?" My head whipped around faster than when I see diapers on sale.

"There is only one condition. It has to be a cocker spaniel." I could live with that condition.

I thought the entire process would be long and thought out, but a few weeks later after surfing the Internet, he found her. We agreed on a certain set of criteria: an older dog (no puppies!), house broken (naturally), good with kids (hopefully), and preferably fixed. After looking at breeder sites and their ridiculous fees we found a site that rescues dogs.

This organization takes in cockers from all over Europe. The rescue them from puppy mills, pounds and even the streets. Kimka was being kept at a home just two hours from us. Not much was known about her history. She comes from Poland, where she was found on the street. She is extremely good with kids and walk well on a leash. However, she had a large tumor on one of her nipples. The organization theorizes that she was abandoned because she was sick.

After two operations, it was deemed that she is in perfect health and approximately 7 years old. The German went to check her out and when he got back it was perfectly obvious that he was smitten. "She is so beautiful and sweet! You just want to pick her up and cuddle!" Gee, honey, you do not even say those things about me anymore.

So we adopted her.

The first few weeks were fine, but now the "long haul" has settled in. The Dude is jealous to a certain extent, and also sees the dog as a play thing. However, the Dude plays rough. Kimka usually takes it, but I spend most of my mornings trying to keep the Dude from biting the dog or riding it like it is a horse.

Kimka loves to walk and run, but doing that with the Dude is difficult. I tried once with the dog on the leash and pushing the stroller. But the dog flipped out! She tried to jump into the stroller and she barked her head off. When I walk with both of them the Dude wants to be carried the entire way. It is exhausting.

Yesterday, of all days, Kimka decided that she had had enough. She bit the Dude and she left a mark. It was on his hand and left some scratches. I immediately locked the dog in my office and took care of the Dude. He calmed right down and was perfectly OK. In fact, two hours later he tried to get on Kimka again. Either the kid can take the pain or he is just not too bright.

We are hoping that this adjustment phase will end soon. Otherwise someone will be moving out and it might just be me.

On the other hand, they are kind of cute together; you know, when they are not biting each other.


Gracey said...

First of all, I love the name "Kimka". She looks adorable! Also, I'm sure things will work out with the Dude. A little more time is necessary, but I wouldn't worry.

Way to go for giving the Dude a loyal friend who will mark his childhood with countless happy moments.

Anonymous said...

They will learn to get along and love each other. Just got back from the vet. Mable has a torn legiment in her back left leg. $860.00 to repair it. Since she is in no pain, and moves really well on three legs, we will play to wait and see game!
Love Mom

Carrie said...

I never thought I'd be a dog person, but it seems I have 3 now. Good idea to rescue, I've done both and both are a lot of work. I'm sure you will get better with the walking next to the stroller...just takes practice. Next you'll start watching the Dog Whisperer. Oh, and I think it's fair if the Dude is going to bite the dog, that the dog should be able to bite the Dude...just saying.

Carrie said...

Btw, is "Kimka" in the German approved name book??? haaha

LizE said...

Oh I'm so glad you're blogging again! I've missed your posts. Kimka is a doll and in my doggie experience things will settle down. Good luck with the growing pains. It will all be worth it in the end!

Anonymous said...

maybe you shouldn't let your child sit in Kimka's basket - that's her space and she has the right to defend it!

Claire said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are totally right. I am trying to teach the Dude to stay out of the basket. But do you have a two-year old? If you do, then you know that as SOON AS YOU TURN YOUR BACK, they do exactly whatever the hell they want. It is very frustrating indeed.

Actually most of the biting has occurred when Kimka has taken the Dude's food and the Dude tries to get it back. Is the Dude allowed to defend himself or just the dog?

Anyway, everyone is at fault in this situation. But thanks for commenting anyway.


barbara said...

Go to www.travel4dogs.de for dog friendly hotels etc There are plenty!!! Am moving to Varel in late Okt/Nov....if u want to chat!!!