“I, Sandra Hohmann, take you *Ardimes(see foot note), to be my beloved dog, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
Well we didn’t take those vows with our dog when we purchased her fifteen years ago. But I knew this was a long term commitment. Of course back then I was holding a cuddly, sweet little black ball in my arm, who was yipping instead of barking. She also used to hid under the radiator when she got scared. Once she didn’t fit under there no more she would hid her head on it over and over again trying to fit. She fed into my narcissistic tendency and made me feel ultra important when I got home. (Remember the bumper sticker: God let me become the person my dog thinks I am)
It seems that most people when they think of dogs they think of puppies or mean spirited big dogs ready to attack. When the puppy you get for Christmas gets bigger, its’ no longer interesting! If the Vet bill is too high there is always the other option of euthanizing. Do dogs here in the United States still die a natural death? I wonder. I barely hear that a dog died at home.
We got ours for 300 Deutsche Mark from a “dealer” in Germany who later on made national news for animal cruelty. She is a mud as you can see and I don’t think the guy knew who the parents were. He had like eighty dogs on his property running freely. I think they put him in a mental institution. Anyway the guy didn’t need a door bell, I tell you. We tried to get a dog the normal route from the Animal Shelter in Germany but we were told that we couldn’t get one because my husband was American and Military. Back then, we were told that supposedly 80 % of all dogs in German shelters were coming from American families in the military who wouldn’t take their dog back to the States with them when there tour was over. In a recent article published in German and English(Scroll Down) it seems that some German animal shelter don’t even take pets from military families anymore because they don’t receive money to support them and because the pet abadoment from Americans is so huge and creating a problem for animal shelters.
In Germany you used to have to go to a screening process for adopting a dog from the animal shelter. You fill out some forms then you claim it. After that you would have visitation rights and if the dog would acts normally and happy around you, you would get to keep it over a couple weekends. Of course your house would be inspected to ensure you have dog toys, adequate room and time for the dog. Then you finally would be permitted to take the puppy home. I find this a bit excessive and I hope they have changed their policies a little bit on it since then.
My dog was a cute little puppy once. Then she turned into an young adult dog who hated other dogs for some reason. Other Dog owners would avoid me when I walked Ardimes. Socializing with the neighbors were over. She would chew up shoes, get the Christmas Ornaments from the tree until the tree fell on her and would do all kinds of annoying stuff I didn’t consider before buying her. Then came the day where someone tried to poison her. The vet bill was tremendous but she made it through. I called the radio station to alarm other dog owners. They laughed but they did it anyway.
The big move to the States was hard. I couldn’t believe that we were actually advised by several people to leave the dog in Germany. It would be so much easier we were told. And we would find a new owner for her. Well my dog was my kid. She turned into a dog much later after I got children. This was not an option. The costs of taking her were tremendous and of course the anxiety was high. But it turned out alright.
My dog lived in fifteen places with me. (That doesn’t include the hotels we were in searching for a house) and yes it is hard as a military family to always find a home what takes a big dog. She is not a puppy anymore. When my oldest was born Ardimes growled at her for putting her finger in her nose. I thought I had to get rid of her for the safety of my child but hired a dog trainer instead. The dog trainer came and played with Ardimes and my daughter. Then she asked where the aggressive dog was. That settled it for me. Ardimes is a wonderful companion. She was with me through two deployments protecting me when I was scared. I couldn’t ask for a better dog. In the past two years her health has taken a turn for the worse. Her back leg is somewhat shaky. And for some reason she can’t seem to hold her stool anymore.
She only waves her tail when we are coming home and doesn’t bark when someone is on the door. She whines at other dogs and seems to be a bit senile. She used to hate other dogs now she is begging to play with them.
Every morning when I pick up her poop I know there is always the option of taking her to the vet so I don’t have to pick up poop anymore. I tell you the truth it has crossed my mind many times and I am sure my husband thinks the same. We just won’t tell each other.
But wouldn’t it be a terrible injustice to take her to the vet to get it all over with just because it is an inconvenience to clean up after her after she was a wonderful and faithful companion for many years. What kind of message would I be teaching my kids who are bored with her since she doesn’t play anymore like other dogs too? Have I not met a commitment to her when I bought her to take care of her? So I pick up the poop and pet her head and tell her she is a wonderful dog after I yell at her for using my house.
So if you are thinking of getting a dog for Christmas know it has it’s good and bad sides. Buying a dog is a long term commitment and not always pleasant and cute. But you can make it work if you really want to.
“I, Sandra Hohmann, take you Ardimes, to be my beloved dog, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
While I didn’t say those words a commitment is still a commitment.
*Ardimes is intentionally misspelled. She supposed to be the Goddess of Hunting like Diana but she is not.