One big change to cover before getting back to the move. I'll ruin the surprise with a photo:
One thing that I've always, always wanted, was to get a dog. I heart dogs. All dogs! I grew up with a dog, and a house without the sound of clicking nails on the floor is very empty feeling to me. N wanted a dog, too, though not nearly as much as me, and he always told me that we'd get one once we got to LA. With the huge postponing of our move, though, I couldn't wait any longer.
One thing I was not looking forward to about getting a dog was scouring the NYC animal shelters (I will never buy a dog) to find a right fit for us. I fostered from the shelter system before, and the whole thing is just a huge bureaucratic and stressful mess. But as fate would have it, the stars aligned, and an adoptable dog appeared in our lives through a friend. The one big shocker for us--he was a bichon frise. I know I just said I heart all dogs, but that doesn't mean I don't have ones I especially like over the others. And the ones I especially like are the big ones. I actually have a bit of a soft spot for pit bulls and yellow labs. At the bottom of my list would be designer dogs that overrun New York City: Pomeranians, malteses, mini chihuahuas, yorkies, etc. And yes, bichon frises would definitely make that list. But at the end of the day...I heart all dogs.
So Stewie the bichon frise joined our little family in January. He didn't have a perfect life before he came to us, so he had quite a few kinks to work out. He suffered from terrible separation anxiety (would bark LOUDLY nonstop if he was left alone...for hours, if we let him, which is just not okay in an apartment situation), teethed on our hands, and pulled at the leash. After a solid two months of very regular discipline and training, he's a completely new dog. He trots happily besides us on a loose leash while walking, no longer barks when left alone, and gnaws much less than he used to.
When we first got him, I definitely had a miniature selfish moral crisis. I'm always torn about animal issues, especially with dogs, and I'm 100% pro-adoption. I'm not against breeding, per say, but I am against how most people go about purchasing cute puppies to use as an accessory and neglect later on. Whenever we walk Stewie outside, everyone comments on how he's "such a beautiful animal" and some say they'd like to get a bichon frise, too. I certainly don't want people to go out and spend thousands of dollars on a bichon frise puppy because they saw Stewie. I also don't want strangers to think that I am the type that did that exact thing to get him. I actually want to put a sandwich board on Stewie that says "I AM A RESCUE AND WAS ADOPTED BECAUSE MY OWNERS THOUGHT I WAS CUTE WHEN I WAS A PUPPY AND GOT TIRED OF ME WHEN I GOT OLDER. PLEASE DON'T BUY PUPPIES!" I won't subject him to that, though...yet.
Having Stewie puts an interesting twist on our move. Moving with a dog is harder, of course. We're going to be limited to pet-friendly rentals in LA. We'll have to figure out whether we'll fly with him there, or drive with him cross-country. He's actually very good with long car rides, so he'd enjoy that. Or we could also have him housed a bit longer term with N's parents (who love the heck out of him) and move ourselves, and go back for him later. Lots and lots to think about...