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changing heart on the road to damascus

02 January 2011

The end came more suddenly than I expected.

It wasn’t as sudden as Saul’s change of heart heading to Damascus, nor do I think it qualifies as a New Year’s resolution. It was, however, a resolution. It occurred in early January. It promised a long-term change in our lives life. It was also an acknowledgement of the greater good of the family unit. On Jan. 2, 2011, I finally agreed that we should get a dog.

I’d been sliding slowly but surely towards the get-a-dog abyss. Christmas and the visions of a big floppy-eared dog sporting a red floppy hat in future family photos and SKYPE calls helped push me over. The shortbread helped, too.

A Great Dane, Of Course!

There was never really any discussion that we would get any other breed other than a great dane. It was always going to be large and long-legged.

The next step was to find a breeder. We thought of the rescue option, but temperament was key. Temperament was something that Miss Stitches lacked to a degree, a shortcoming not at all of her own making.

When Miss Stitches was about three, MW went abroad for an extended consulting engagement. She found a home for Miss Stitches on a farm owned by relatives of a close friend. Their opinions, though, of how to raise a dog didn’t mirror MW’s. In short, it was a short journey from the White House to the outhouse.

Miss Stitches went from chronically pampered house dog luxuriating on a feather bed in South Florida, to life on the end of a chain beside a Southern Ontario barn. Regardless of the decade, Southern Ontario weather is crap. It is not hard to imagine her spending the days under a drizzling sky humming Song of the Volga Boatmen and lamenting the move from South Beach.

Ten months later, MW returned from Asia to rescue Miss Stitches, her tail now broken, and having developed an acute fear of most strangers.

Opting for a Breeder

2010/2011: We wanted the source to be 100% reliable. Not saying that rescue options aren’t reliable (I know several people who’ve had great success with former racing greyhounds), but we wanted to be absolutely confident. More email exchanges with various friends and friends of friends, and MW ended up on more than speaking terms with a breeder near Sacramento who had just had a litter in mid-November.

Off we went.

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