Friday, October 12, 2012

Something Dumb


For years we've been doing the right thing.

We got married on a Friday for under $300, and we stayed in a discount hotel room for our wedding night.  Saturday morning was the Bean's hard class and he didn't want to risk falling behind, so we didn't even take the weekend off.

We rented a duplex that shared a backyard with hoarders.  We could have afforded better, but it was the wise financial decision..... right up until we found out that even though we were paying the landlord he wasn't paying the bank, and the bank foreclosed on our little home.

We could have afforded a small apartment, but it wasn't nearly as smart as moving in with my parents and sharing the rent.  We took two bedrooms, they took a bedroom and the garage, and we split the yard.  They cut us a great deal on babysitting so I could go back to work.


We lived with my parents for three years, right at the start of our marriage.

It was the right thing to do.

When the time came to trade in my old car with almost 200,000 miles for something better, I daydreamed about trucks.  I knew they were completely impractical... but on the other hand, a Honda Element wasn't.  I researched, and plotted, and planned, and drooled about a late model orange Honda Element with a cute little camping package.....

But I got a plain brown Honda Civic instead.  The Bean was able to finagle a great price on them through his work, it was cheaper with better gas mileage and a nicer warranty, and it was the financially smart thing to do.

We could have afforded a horse lease while I was living in California.

Instead, we saved our money - it just made good financial sense.

While our peers were going out to dinner, and movies, and on vacations, and bought new clothes and hired baby sitters....we went to work.  And school.  And home.  Then we went right back to work and school, and then we did it all over again.

I'm not complaining - it was the smart thing to do, and because we made the right choices, tiny little smart choices over and over, it's why we were able to jump right in and buy a house when we moved here, instead of renting somewhere.

When The Bean traveled up here to the Portland area in January on a whirlwind trip to meet his accounting firm as well as to look at houses, I desperately wanted to come with him.  I wanted to meet the state, and see the area, and help choose my very first house.

It would have cost several hundred dollars extra - so we decided it wasn't the smart thing to do.  It wasn't financially wise.

Etc, etc, etc, etc.... You get the point.

With one or two exceptions, when it came time to make a decision, we have always made the right choice - the smart choice, the financially sound choice.

This is my first winter in the Pacific Northwest.  Except for the times when I put on layers of waterproof everything on all three of us, I'm going to be trapped inside with two hyperactive little boys, learning how to deal with grey skies and rain.  I have plenty of things I need to take care of.  The last thing I need to push me over the edge of sanity is a puppy, no matter how cute.

No matter how fuzzy.


No matter how adorable.

Even if I did want a puppy, there are plenty of animals needing homes.  With the exception of horses, I've never paid a penny to acquire an animal.   Every cat I've ever owned, every dog that's been a part of my life - they've all been "free" - as free as owning an animal can be, that is.

Why would I plunk down money on a purebred animal when pedigree has never mattered to me?


It's not like I'm going to do field trial competitions, or show a dog. Sure, you get the chance to know more about the animal and the bloodlines they're coming from, but do I really need to dump money on a luxury like that?

With all of the free dogs on Craigslist, why would anybody pay money for a well bred one, even if the stud dog is pretty magnificent?

It's not like we're a duck hunting family. That kind of talent would just be a waste.

Pretty is as pretty does..... and I can barely remember to brush my hair in the mornings, so show conformation would also be a waste on me.

If we want a purebred,  we don't need to go hunting for a breeder....... even if there does happen to be a truly great one within driving distance who has an impeccable reputation for producing quality, calm, intelligent Labradors.

I mean, sure there's a difference in energy level between an field-bred, American-style Labrador and a calmer British-bred Labrador.... and there's also the difference in head style, with those British labs having big, beautiful, blockheads that look like they're straight out of a painting..... but that's just icing on a cake.  Pretty doesn't make a dog, and there are plenty of Labrador rescues teeming with young, child-friendly dogs all over the Pacific Northwest.  Admittedly, most of those dogs are going to need some heavy training to learn how to be good house pets, but I've done it before, and I can do it again.

Sure, it'd be nice to know the family history of a pup, but I've managed just fine in the past with whatever rescue dog I've acquired, so why change that now..... Even if the puppies' mother has big, soft, soulful eyes like this:

Even if she is mellow, and sweet, and looks like she'd be your best friend for life:

You can find a great dog anywhere.  There's no reason to pay money - that's just.... that's just silly.  It.... It doesn't even make any sense.


But sometimes.... sometimes you just have to do something a little crazy.

A little zany.

A little dumb.

When the Bean and I were discussing the possibility of adding to our family, he said something that resonated with me.

"Becky, we're going to have this dog until we're in our forties.  Why not get the dog we really want?"

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how right he was.

Why not?

So, Internet, meet Artemis:

The breeder, Merganser Labradors, breeds some of the most incredible Labradors I've ever seen - and I did a lot of internet research once we started dreaming bigger, beyond Craigslist.  They have a fantastic reputation on the internet forums for producing healthy, intelligent, British-type blockhead  Labradors with brains, beauty, and a steady temperament. 

I hope you've enjoyed the photos on this post, because they all came to me from the breeder's incredibly talented husband, and they're probably the best photos we will ever have of our new little girl.

She's coming home in a week and I have to admit, I'm pretty excited.  Aside from my little car and this house, I don't think I'll have ever owned anything quite this nice.


Blogger RuckusButt said...

Squeeee! Puppy!!!!! They do look like incredibly nice dogs. Enjoy!

October 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Kaje said...

WOMAN. I hope you know what you have done. Rob was standing over my shoulder as I read this post and now I have to convince him that a puppy is the last thing I need with an infant and a 16 month old. That being said, that has got to be the cutest puppy I have ever seen in my life and I am so jealous, and happy for you! But seriously. He's about ready to buy one. :-)

October 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Half Dozen Farm said...

Awesome! There is nothing better in this world than a Lab for two boys to grow up with.

Enjoy your beautiful puppy, and kudos for searching out a top-notch breeder. I'm all for rescue mutts (or purebreds!) too if someone is able to deal with whatever they get, but sometimes a person needs to know exactly what they are getting, and those people need good breeders. :)

October 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Of course, has Becky told you she now has afternoon tea every day, pinky aloft?
That she got a haircut just like Princess Di?
How about her new bumper sticker...My Dog is Soooooo Much Cooler than yours?
Didn't think so.
It's a fact. Serious.

October 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Albigears said...

Freaking adorable.

October 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

i am so jealous. and i love that her name is ARTEMIS.

also, your approach to decision-making and finances reminds me very much of that of my own parents, who've been able to provide every thinkable opportunity i could ever want, simply by working hard and not really buying a whole lot for their own entertainment or comfort or whimsy...but then investing in awesome things like this! so i think your children will be well-served by the decisions you've made and the example you set!

October 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Dom said...

There is nothing cuter in the world than a lab puppy. Congrats!

October 12, 2012 at 1:59 PM  
Blogger Laura Crum said...

Hope you have great fun with your new little girl. Puppies are so much fun--and so much work, of course. But the fun is worth the work.

October 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Veronica Foale said...

I have serious puppy envy. I mean, yeah, I know, I just had a baby, but PUPPY.

She's gorgeous.

October 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Carrot Top said...

Gah! Adorable!
I like purebred animals. We've had good pets from the pound, but in my experience our purpose-bred companion animals are just that bit more.... companionable. :)

October 12, 2012 at 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that regular visits to Sauvie Island for waterfowl training may be in your future....and what a gorgeous little girl!

You know, the reason to buy from a breeder rather than go to a rescue is exactly the reason you're want a critter of quality with a known history that is going to be part of your life for a while. Which means what you are doing...buying a quality critter from quality bloodlines, not going to some small puppy mill or crappy, unproven bloodline.

Gorgeous pup, stunning parents. Looking forward to reading about the dog.

October 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger AareneX said...

Purebreds from responsible breeders? I got no problem with that.

You might want to start comparison-shopping for excellent raingear. After all, you'll be wearing it EVERY DAY for the next 9 months while walking your new puppy. Srsly, you might "make do" with Goodwill raingear (gawd knows that I do that frequently enough) if you're just going shopping, but for long walks with a water-bred dog, figure that a good raincoat is part of the investment.

And: Welcome to the Swampland, gal!

October 12, 2012 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger CG said...

Oooooh congrats! A good Lab is really hard to beat:)

October 12, 2012 at 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. The boys will not melt or die if they play outside in the rain. That's what the rest of the PNW born and raised kids do, otherwise they'll miss out.

2. Internet blog reader friends, I really did try to give her Bob, a red tick coonhound, who is kid broke, house trained, and cat friendly. But nooo! Becky wanted a puppy! LOL!

3. Buying the pup you want from a GOOD breeder? Nothing wrong with that. It's a smart move!

October 13, 2012 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Becky said...


I wanted a GIRL dog.

I'm tired of seeing boy dog pink thingies.

October 13, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You visited the litter? First mistake. How could you resist those puppy faces? The parents look wonderful, and so does your new puppy.

Bean is right, especially when you have small children, you might as well get the dog you really want. Almost 11 years ago, I "visited" a litter of Swedish Vallhunds, and paid more for one of the puppies than I paid for my horse. Really dumb, but worth it at twice the price.

October 14, 2012 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Snipe said...

The reason for making the smart decision is so that you don't feel so dumb if you splurge a little. You guys have earned it. Enjoy that nice dog :)

October 15, 2012 at 7:30 PM  

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