Black, White and Cinnamon

I never thought we’d have a dog.

My sister has been working on my parents since she knew what puppies were and how to articulate herself. And for years my parents have found reasons to deny her. The main reason being that she and my Dad are both very allergic to dog and cat dander. It seemed safe to say that the Izzos would never have pets (other than the occasional gold fish which didn’t last for more than a few months, but that’s another story) and I was ok with that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I’m all for animal rights, humane treatment, I buy grass-fed, free range meat and get local eggs. I’m against animal testing and cruelty of any kind. I just don’t really want one in my house.

They’re smelly, they scratch and tear things, they have accidents and they are a ton of work. I have enough trouble taking care of myself, the last thing I wanted was someone else to be responsible for. So when my parents started to cave into my sister’s requests this summer, I was against it and I made my case known.

I lost.

In August there was an ad in the paper. ‘Shitzi-poo and Lasa-poo puppies for sale $375.00, potty trained, hypoallergenic and ready to take home.’ As my Dad read the ad out loud to me that morning I knew that was it. We’d be taking a dog home that day.

So later that afternoon we packed into our gold PT Cruiser and drove 40 mins to Farmington to meet the puppies. My sister was excited but she didn’t think we’d end up buying one. She likes to make certain that she is getting exactly what she wants and doesn’t like to make quick decisions, but I knew. I had a feeling and it was making me simultaneously happy for my sister (for she’d finally be getting her pet and new best friend) and nervous because I also knew that I’d end up watching it more than I wanted to.

When we got to the breeder’s there were two dogs left. A black, hyper Lasa-poo who quickly ran to my Dad and wanted to play, and a slightly calmer, but friendly white, black and cinnamon Shitzi-poo. I instantly knew we’d be taking the Shitzi-poo home (which did tickle me a bit because I could call him little shit, or poo poo when he aggravated me. My Dad put an end to that quickly.) It was love at first sight for my sister. The little white dog went right to her and started licking her fingers, and wagging his curly tail. I have never seen my sister make a decision so fast. About 20 minutes later we were back in the car with a puppy, and really no idea how to take care of him other than the tips the breeder gave us with a basket of dog supplies. We didn’t even have a pen for him yet. It didn’t seem to matter at the time though. I hadn’t seen my sister so happy in years as we drove home, the tiny, fluffy dog nestled in her arms. Calm the entire way back. I cried. She was glowing.

The puppy’s name is Potato. He is now 5 months old and has become a permanent part of the family.

The original deal was that we’d take care of Tato for the first few weeks (to get him on a good schedule) and then my sister would take him to college to live at her apartment. Well, we tried that but Tato only lasted at SUNY Fredonia for about 10 days and then he dropped out. It was too much work for my sister, who is a double major and hardly has time to take care of herself, let alone a tiny puppy. I knew he’d end up living with us at home.

Tato and I have had our ups and downs. The first time I dog sat I swore I’d never do it again. I even called my Dad and exclaimed “He’s a MONSTER!”

Does this look like a monster to you?

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In my defense, he wasn’t potty trained (even though the ad said he was) so when I watched him there were multiple accidents to clean, along with shredded papers strewn across the kitchen and living room and water splashed on the wood floors and rugs. To a girl who does not naturally speak dog, I was pretty lost.

I’ve grown to love Tato though. I repressed it for a long time but I’ve finally given in. He is just what my family needed. He’s therapeutic for my Mom and sister especially and that’s most important to me. Now that we have him, I don’t know what we’d do with out him. He’s a good boy and though he drives me crazy, he’s worth the occasional stress.

I never wanted to be a dog person, but maybe now I am…

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