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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meet Poppy, the newest member of our family

Well, we did it. We jumped in with all four paws and got a dog.

It has been about six years since our beloved Cheyenne died, and though we tried getting another dog a few years ago, that ended with me tearfully returning a hound that ate door casings, escaped incessantly and in general couldn't adjust to our home. I don't really like thinking about it and hate writing about it, but I think it helps to put into perspective why we were nervous about getting another dog. Returning her was one of the toughest things I've had to do.

But we decided to try again. We really don't have time to train a puppy, so a full-grown dog from the Saratoga County Animal Shelter was still our best bet. Our requirements: a medium-sized female that was housebroken and good with children.

For the past few months, my husband would escape any conversation about getting a pet by saying he didn't want to have anything to do with it -- his way of ensuring he could play with and love on the animal, but say it wasn't his when it came to the responsibility end of it. I know his game. The kids, who are old enough to do so, promised to help out with feeding and cleaning up after a dog, so I decided I didn't need him anyway.

My daughter and I visited the shelter, our first time in the newly constructed building off County Farm Road in Milton, on a Saturday and were drawn to a black and brown lab mix (Rottie markings if you ask me). They let us play with Poppy for a bit, and we immediately took to her playful personality, my daughter and Poppy playing fetch with a tennis ball over and over in the small room.

She wouldn't be ready for a couple weeks because she had to be spayed before being adopted, but we put our name on her. It didn't take too much convincing to get my husband and son to return the following week to have them meet Poppy. Of course, they immediately fell in love with her.

Last Friday, she was ready to come home, and I rushed out from work to get her before the shelter's 4 p.m. closing time. Boy was Poppy excited -- so excited in fact that she promptly pooped on my backseat. Then, she proceeded to step in it and run EVERYWHERE in the car. Though I had planned to pick up the kids at that point, but instead turned around and headed home.

With Poppy looking on inside the garage, I scrubbed the inside of the car for a good hour before I was satisfied I'd gotten it all. Because we hadn't bought a dog crate yet and I'd only had Poppy for about and hour, I loaded her into the car again. Just a mile later, Poppy barfed. This time, I was a little more prepared and threw the old blanket I'd brought over it to keep her from spreading it to every square inch of the interior.

The kids were so excited to see I'd arrived with the new doggie. Poppy was excited, too, and expressed it with another round of puke. We all stayed calm, though, and managed to keep her out of it.

The kids stayed with her in the car while I ran into Ocean State Job Lot and bought a good-sized crate, a collar and leash, a rawhide bone and a chew toy.

At home, the kids played with her in the backyard, while I went for round two of cleaning the car. As it turned out, Poppy had skillfully aimed her barf right down the seat belt hole in the backseat. Lovely.

Actually, after having two kids and plenty of pets in my life, I've developed an iron stomach. It always impresses my tough-as-nails husband what I can handle without gagging. (Not that I was really hungry for supper after all that.)

OK. Enough of all the bad stuff. Poppy has been nothing short of an angel of dog since then. And she rode in the car all the way to Connecticut for Easter weekend without incident. We're all in love with her.

She'll retrieve a tennis ball over and over and over, bringing it back and dropping it at your feet each time. She hasn't had any accidents in the house and listens well. Poppy already has won us over by being playful, gentle and sweet -- and she has the good behavior to go along with it.

I don't know why her owners had to give her up, but we're so blessed to have her in our home now. Whoever had her previously instilled some good habits, and we are grateful.

I've posted the only photo I've had a chance to take. It's not great because she was moving around so much that first night, but I'll surely be posting more.



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