Last Year on April 1st I brought home a tiny 2 pound puppy. Well actually I got up really early, drove down to Arthur, IL (which is a little bit past Champaign, IL) and met a little Pomeranian boy. He was in the corner of his breeder’s living room wrestling another pom (who was a little bigger and just sat and took it). Once he saw me he ran over and proceeded to wrestle my foot. After filing out the puppy paperwork and paying for my new friend, he ran away from me and hid under the couch. That is how, Ash, named after Ash Fox from the film Fantastic Mr. Fox, (originally Boris, then Bear, then Jake and it was so hard to choose a name) and I met.
Ash is literally my best friend. He listens to me, and I listen to him. We talk. Sure it took a year, but we understand each other and he really talks to me. I understand every meaning behind every sound he makes. It’s amazing. From his whimpers, to his barks. Each sound and intonation means something. Yeah, so I studied bio so I know animals communicate, but wow its changing to experience such seamless communication with another species.
I got Ash because I was suffering, and still do suffer from depression. And he helps a lot. It’s difficult to admit, but I needed help and I still do. Since 2009 a lot has happened to me that was life altering in very negative ways. Living was becoming a burden, and by 2013 I wasn’t sure I wanted to be here anymore. I hesitate to say I was suicidal, I don’t think I was. What I wanted was more of a fading away. I didn’t want to die, I don’t want anything to do with death, I just didn’t want to be. I’m sure that makes no sense, but that’s what I felt. Ash really helped pull me into the present, and I get up and work partly because I want to feed and care for him. Also it’s nice having someone who loves you no matter what. Who doesn’t see what you’ve done or haven’t accomplished. Doesn’t care if you look nice, or if you’re black or white, who has no standards of beauty. Who only cares that you care for them. It’s really comforting to be able to please someone just by taking a few moments to play with them. I wish I could take Ash everywhere with me, but I know that’s not possible (though he fits in my purse so you never know, he might just be there!)
I think everyone should have an animal. While I favor dogs currently, I’m sure many animals can give you the same sense of wellbeing that Ash has afforded me. So yeah, get a pet.
On that note I’m sure many people are wondering why I went to a breeder instead of adopting. Adoption was my first option. I have very limited space, so I knew I wanted a small dog, and at the time I was looking, medium to large dogs where the only ones available to me. I did meet one perfect dog, she was a Yorkie, but she wasn’t allowed to come home with me due to severe health issues. So instead I looked into donating to her fosters, and kept looking. I did ALOT of research before I chose a breeder, and then chose Ash. I cannot stress research enough. Ask questions! Make sure you’re buying from someone who values the lives and wellbeing of their animals first and foremost! Beware of scams! If you ask a simple question like: “Can I meet the parents of the pups or the puppies before I buy?” and the answer is “No.” keep it moving. Keep looking. You will not find a puppy or dog for a cheap price. There is no cheap price. Even at a shelter. Depending on breed and age EXPECT to pay at least $300 (very least plus supplies for your new friend) at a shelter. When you go to a breeder expect much much more. However, don’t go and pay thousands for so called “designer puppies” either. Teacup puppies are not a real thing (Yeah they exist, but it may not be a good thing). Healthy puppies fall into a breed standard. So, sorry, but teacup Pomeranians are not healthy. They are bred too small and probably come with health issues. Poms should weigh between 4-7lbs as adults. Ash is about 5.5-6 lbs. So he’s at the mid range of his breed.
On top of doing research on how you’re going to obtain your pup you have to do research on your pup’s breed and dog health in general. I can’t tell you how many books and articles and research journals I’ve read on Poms and dogs in general. Read. Bringing home a puppy (and maybe even an older dog) is like bringing home a baby. You have to puppy proof things. If they get sick you freak out, they don’t sleep through the night, and so on. Train. Start training early, and let them know you’re the momma (or daddy or whatever) I say this even though Ash has also trained me, ha! Poms are very smart (too freaking smart) and also very agile (have you seen Jiff! I also think a recent agility champ is a Pom) So don’t think these are just little lap dogs. They are bred down (as in bred to be small, this is attributed to Queen Victoria) German sled dogs. SLED DOGS. You know what else is a sled dog? A HUSKY, which needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. You know what else needs exercise and mental stimulation? A POMERANIAN. Overall I think all dogs NEED this, but I’ll admit some breeds and some individual dogs don’t need as much. But not Poms, and not Ash! He loves to rip and run, and he loves high energy kids, because they laugh and run and chase like he does. Except when he’s with my younger sister, they are sleeping buddies.
So yeah, just thought I’d write about Ash. Since he’s been walking across my keyboard all morning.