Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cougars and Canines

I've received such an overwhelmingly kind response about our move (here & on FB) -- thank you! We are still plugging along and my mind is running at night, making phantom furniture placements and planning my Christmas party (I like to keep it simple).

And as my mind has been running, imagining winter nights curled up in front of the stove with a blanket and a book, I have to be honest that it isn't all pretty. In fact, I tend to be a worst case scenario kind of thinker. Tim is a realist and practical to the core (wellllll, except for the apple orchard he's already planted and the herds of livestock he's already pasturing on this property that isn't yet officially ours). But I am the negative one.

I think it's partially my mostly-dormant creative mind (always looking for a conflict!) and partially something Jesus is working out of me, but man do I come up with some bogus fears.

Cougars, though? Maybe not so bogus.

We've all but been assured by a couple people that no way, no how are there cougars in our area. Buuuuut, there are in North Bend. And they have been spotted in Duvall (Kirkland too for that matter, though not recently and I don't know where). And even if not, anything wilder than a squirrel or a rabbit or a deer is going to make me jump out of my skin. Definitely coyotes. And most certainly cougars.

If I hadn't grown up in suburbia, this might not be the case. If I had a little more experience with the great outdoors I might not have made Tim turn around less than an hour into our honeymoon hike on the Olympic Peninsula because I was afraid we *might* spot a cougar. Yep, just a healthy dose of fear here.

So, shucks. I've ended up doing a lot of things in my life, especially as a mom, that I said I'd never do. I would never be a stay-at-home mom (God straightened that out in me before Tim and I even got engaged), never put a baby in my bed (hahahahaha), never homeschool (Linnea's preK curriculum has been outlined for weeks!). Yeah. I can eat my words and have leftovers.

The dog thing, though -- I still don't know. Linnea is pretty afraid of them. And I know zero about handling them. But I do know they can be reliable and protective of children, especially when it comes to wild animals and strangers.

My brain hurts just thinking about this. Having a dog is so. not. me. I am allergic, and I don't really even like them. But those morning walks I've been envisioning on this property I know squat about? Looking a lot more possible with a dog.

So dog people, especially Psiaki people who know us and dog owners with young children (if you are wannabe frontiersmen like us, even better), give me the low down:

1. What kinds of dogs are hypoallergenic AND don't shed AND are sweet to your own kids/friends but nasty to strangers and predators? Because let's not pretend I won't be high maintenance about it from the start.

2. Which breeds will protect my (hypothetical) chickens and not eat them?

3. Is it possible to have a dog that will be low maintenance if it needs to pee when I'm nursing the baby? Or will it be waking my kids at nap time every day? This is a real deal breaker, ladies.

4. Is there any way on earth a non-dog-person can become a dog person AND be a respected master of said dog in a few months' time, say between moving and having this next bambino? Or is it going to see right through me and eat up all my furniture?

Clearly I know nothing. I had a cat.

Dave and Mandy, Jane and James, you may laugh at me now. Never say never!


Jane said...

You probably have nothing to be worried about in the animal department. As long as you are not leaving food around outside or leaving your trash in the yard you are at low risk for attracting critters. Most of them are skittish around humans. I think a lot of them are also nocturnal so you're unlikely to see one out during the day.

As far as getting a have to consider if you want a puppy or an adult dog. The advantage of a puppy is that it has the closest thing you will find to a clean slate and it probably doesn't have any baggage yet. Puppies also will bond with you the most easily. They are a lot of work though. An 8 week old puppy needs to go out to pee really often and will need a lot of supervision and attention. Old dogs may already have the potty training down but most breeds need some attention and training. Some older dogs have behavior issues that they bring with them and can take a lot of work to deal with.

The hypoallergenic dogs, pretty much any of the poodle mix designer mutts plus some other breeds, need to be groomed regularly because their hair grows and grows. Otherwise you end up with a shaggy sheep like Shelby!

I hope that helps. I'm sure Dave and Mandy and my mom can add more. Dogs can be really great and we sure love our little Lana. Let me know if I can answer anything else.

Jane said...

I should have also added that it is possible to become a dog person. I was super scared of dogs as a child and still kind of timid of them even after we got Humphrey. Now I am comfortable with most dogs and I really love having one. It takes some good experiences with dogs to get there.

Tim Psiaki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Psiaki said...

I already picked one out: Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Hypoallergenic, good watchdog, likes kids, and maybe we can get some sheep and it will herd them too!

marypsiaki said...

Shelby has headed to the airport and will check himself in and be there within a day.

Dave said...

Cameron, this is awesome!

A few things about dogs:

1) You can get a dog door, train the dog to go out of it, and you never have to take them to the bathroom again. Roxie, the 5 month old puppy already has it figured out. Downside is you have a hole in your house/door.

2) Dogs will generally be protective, so almost any breed will work. They instinctively seem to know when something/someone doesn't belong. Frank is a sweet dog, but he gets really fired up around strangers and won't stop barking.

3) Like Jane said, older dogs will probably be potty trained and don't require a ton of work behavioral work like a puppy would (e.g. Roxie likes to chew things like the C2 rower). On the downside they can and will have some baggage they need to overcome as a rescue. Frank hates kids on skateboards...weird.

4) For the allergic stuff you could get a dog that is more inside/outside and that might help with less hair in the house. I did a quick search and most of the hypoallergenic dogs are not as popular of breeds. Maybe some of the doodle breeds have the positives of the retrievers without the allergic reaction.

Finally, just let us know when and we can put Mac on a plane. He doesn't guard anything and is a picky eater so he should be a big help (haha).