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Day 2 – 30 Days of Thanks – A Little Dog’ll Do Ya!

I had decided we were not pet people.  Jim and I had the most amazing dog ever when we first got married, and she passed away peacefully when she was nine.  Then we hit a rough patch.  I made it my mission to only find pets that would destroy my house, terrorize my children, and cause pet behavioralists to run screaming from my home.  No, seriously.

The nail in our family pet coffin came when we realized our Irish Wolfhound, Rosie, was the reason our Irish-American baby, Granuaile, was breaking out in horrible rashes and experiencing breathing difficulties.  She had dog allergies.  The pet nazi voice loomed ominously in my head – “No dog for you!”

But kids and dogs seem to go together, and it wasn’t too long before we started looking at pets again.  In the end, we decided to bring home two dogs with good reputations for being hypo-allergenic.  Lusi, who came to us from Italy, is a smart, amazing, and eager to please Lagotto Romagnolo.  She is a one of a kind dog who will do anything you ask.

And then there’s Harper Vee Marti.  Named after (a) a character from the Wizards of Waverly Place (b) the amazing Dr. V – Nestor Veitia and (c) the famous Cuban poet/patriot, Jose Marti, she is a Havanese.  Fuzzy, compact, and a little bit aloof, there’s something special about Harper.

Harper’s special talent is knowing.  When I was recovering from my kidney failure last summer, she would sit on the arm of the chair while I slept, knowing that I needed her company.  When the kids want to put bows in her hair and dresses on her fuzzy butt, she knows not to snap or growl while little hands manipulate her into humiliation.  And when Jim has two pieces of lunch meat in his hands, she knows just which side the big piece is on, and that’s the hand she sits near.  She knows when Lusi needs someone to play with, Eilis needs someone to talk to, or Jim needs someone to laugh at.  She just knows.

I love both of our dogs.  It’s almost like we’ve hit the dog lottery not once, but twice.  I am thankful for both of them.

But I am so, so thankful for the things that Harper knows.

Why Yes, This Does Make Me Certifiable. Thanks for Asking.

Awhile back, I posted about how I was very close to cracking under the pressure from my children to purchase a dog.  We had been searching out a hypoallergenic dog that wouldn’t cause Granuaile to itch like mad, tear like crazy, and proclaim herself allergy free, but sleep deprived.  Fortunately, Benedryl was a good remedy for sleep deprivation, too.

So, after interviewing potentially perfect pooches, I put it on the back burner until I thought we were at a point where the family could raise a puppy, give it attention, and properly train it.

And then there were two.

Harper the Havanese and Lusi the Lagotto

We found the Havanese puppies quite accidentally, as they don’t turn up on every list of possibly hypoallergenic dogs.  Right after finding them, we saw a Dog 101 clip on them from Animal Planet, and I was smitten.  I knew this would be the breed that finally caused me to cave.  We looked around, found a few un-reputable breeders and a bit of frustration, and then we found Harper.  She’s four pounds of pure adrenalin puppy power – keeping up not only with the kids, but with Jim, with me, with the neighbors, with her soap operas – she’s 110% energy, and the rest is pure personality.

Literally days after we decided to bring Harper home, Jim got an email from a breeder in Italy.  Jim had hoped to find a hypoallergenic breed that was a little bit bigger than the ones I was finding – one that he might be able to train and work with as a service dog.  We considered poodles, but having lived down the street from Mrs. Kelly’s kid hating, snarling, growling, nasty poodle as a child, I quickly removed poodles from the list.  (please write me and tell me how amazing your poodle is – I do want to know that they don’t all turn out to be evil, Satanic, snarling flesh eaters)  We interviewed an Irish Water Spaniel (epic fail on several levels there) and then the Portuguese Water Dog (Jim wasn’t terribly appreciative of their association with a democratic government), and then found the Lagotto Romagnolo.  Sweet, adorable, and nearly completely unavailable in the US.

Jim got on a waiting list, and, as this long story goes, just after we chose Harper, a Lagotto became available.  Jim jumped at the chance to bring Maria Luise (Lusi) to the United States, and she is now considered AKC Foundation Stock here in the US.  She’s loud and proud.  And Loud.  Did I mention loud?

And then there were two.  Oh, I said that already.

And I agreed that there should be two.

I know there is a padded room, waiting for me somewhere.