Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Perfect Pet, part 1 of 10

The Perfect Pet: A Cautionary Tale
—Written in serial form—
By Chelsea Dyreng
Several months ago my husband brought home our family’s new dog. He was an eight-week-old Australian Shepherd. It was January and the 2010-2011 college basketball season was in full swing, so of course we named him Jimmer.
We have four young children, and we thought this would be the perfect time to get a puppy. We’d spent the month before researching the different breeds, trying to decide what type of dog would best compliment our family. We wanted a fairly active dog, a medium sized dog, and a dog that looked unique. Most of all, we wanted a SMART dog. Australian Shepherds fit all of our criteria and before long we found a breeder who had a puppy available, and we took the whole family out to see him.
He was adorable. We couldn’t take him away from his mom until he was 8 weeks old, but the breeder promised to post photos of him on her website, updating them every week. Scott and I each added hundreds of hits to her site as we salivated over our puppy’s cuteness.
As the day of our puppy’s arrival inched closer, we were determined to be prepared. Scott bought three dog training books and a DVD. We called our brothers and sisters with news of our upcoming family member and received mixed reviews. Scott’s brother and my mother were thrilled. But when I told my older brother about getting a dog his comment was, “I think that is a very poor decision,” as if I had just told him I was running off with a Hell’s Angel.
When I called my sister, her reaction was the following: “You want to get a DOG?”
“Yes,” I responded, “But not just any dog, we are going to get a SMART dog.”
After which all I could hear were five minutes of hysterical laughter.
But he would be smart. Jimmer would be the smartest dog ever. The very fact that he was named Jimmer destined him for greatness. He would be agile and fast, yet he would sit when commanded. He would jump up to retrieve balls, but never jump up on people. He would be able to distinguish between friend or foe and bark accordingly. My husband and I fantasized about having him catch not one, but several Frisbees in succession, about having him balance things on his nose and perhaps leading us across busy intersections, in case either of us should suddenly go blind.
So it was, late in January, with those great expectations that we welcomed Jimmer into our home.
Scott brought him around the back of the house and one of the girls caught sight of him through the window and squealed. In a moment all three raced outside and surrounded the puppy, crouching down and whispering, just like we’d taught them. Jimmer was adorably shy and bashful and wove in and out of Scott’s legs, glancing up at him every now and then for reassurance. He was perhaps the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen. His merle coat was grey and dappled with chocolate-colored splotches. He was as fluffy as a polar bear with a snow white fur collar around his shoulders and a white blaze down the center of his face. His eyes were exquisite; they were half green and half blue. Click here to see more photos of him when he was little.
It didn’t take long before he felt aquatinted enough to jump around and mouth our hands. His little stubby tail wagged feverously as I ruffled his thick coat. His fur was the softest thing I’ve ever felt, like I was running my fingers through waves of silk. He seemed to be everything we’d hoped for.
He was a perfect dog. The perfect pet to go with my perfect family.
TO BE CONTINUTED…..Click here for Part 2


  1. great, now I'm going to have to pull out the dictionary and look up merle.

    btw, i love the new header pic.

  2. Oh the suspense!

    Chelsea, I love it. Great start! I can see Lamott's influence, in your metaphors. They are hilarious and give an immediate picture of what you are talking about.

    Can't wait for the poetry party. Are you writing a poem? I feel like I am going to try...

  3. Aw so sweet! I want a doggie.

  4. I anxiously await part 2... especially since the first dog we owned was "a smart dog". He ended up being the most obnoxious dog ever. Lester, ended up running off with an un-neutered dog just before Ollie was born, never to be seen again. A blessing in disguise. From then on we've gone with the "slightly on the dumbish side" and have had way more enjoyment and success... What does that say about our family? :-)

  5. Hope it is going well! I think puppies are harder than children because you only have a year to get them properly trained...
    Jimmer IS a beauty!