Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meet Colin Farrell!

Okay, MOST of the time he is Colin, he's really only called Colin Farrell when he misbehaves. I've already had to say, "Colin Farrell, get your nose out of that girl's crotch!" a message now both the two-legged and four-legged versions have had to hear.

I love my new dog but I will admit this has not been an easy journey. Now doing a 360 review of my experience I'm going to write this so that others may have an easier time when they're ready to adopt a pet.

Research
Everyone should know what dog will fit their activities best. There are advantages to puppies and there are advantages to older dogs. Different breeds have different needs as far as needing mental challenges, jobs, and exercise.

I knew from Michelley that I love the intelligence, sweetness, and quirkiness of the Sheltie so I felt secure there. My only caveat was that I didn't want to get a sable that looked like her. I should have also been more specific that I want to train this dog for herding and therapy work. It takes different mindsets and being specific can help match the right dog for you. Colin will be great at these but it was a leap of faith.

Rescue Dogs
This is the first place I went. People with full-breed dogs get shamed all the time from owners with lovable mutts. The first thing they ask is if you would adopt a pound puppy. I love all animals but I don't feel like I need to justify liking a certain breed.

I did try to adopt rescue Shelties. The process is ridiculous and defeating. "Are you home 100% of the time?" they ask. "No, I telework once or twice a week and go into the office three days." "Mmm, no, you can't have this dog. "Are there dogs in your neighborhood?" they ask on another. "Yes! It's a very dog-friendly area." "Mmm, no, this dog doesn't like dogs. Sigh.

AKC Breeder of Merit
I thought this was a HUGE deal. I know I like Shelties so okay, I'm going to look at AKC Breeders of Merit. Sounds like this means something right? No, it means the breeder paid for that certificate. According to an interview on the Today show, AKC has only 9 inspectors of kennels and no idea how many AKC registered breeders there are. So how are the standards ensured?

I only know this now because I really delved into what it meant. I was surprised at allowable practices. For instance, my dog came from one of these. But she never told me that his bark was softened, a controversial procedure where they puncture the vocal chords, he had worms and was severely underweight, and didn't have some of his shots. Had I known ANY of this I wouldn't have adopted a dog from her. I don't want to encourage her business.

Visit the Kennel
Yes, if they discourage you write them off right away. I looked at another place and it was a six-hour drive so I google earthed it. Terrible conditions, no open space for the dogs to run around, and backed up next to train tracks. Um, no.

What I should have done is visited the kennel in PA where Colin came from. Because when she brought him down he was terrified of me and all people. By then I had committed to this dog. Yes, that's on me and it took several hours for him to come up to me. Let's just say the first few days were not necessarily happy ones. Once I got past the fact that I was not adopting a well-adjusted dog but instead rescuing and rehabilitating a dog full of fear of the world, well I was committed. Now every day is a little happier because one day he wags his tail, another day he allows a neighbor to approach him, and yet another he plays with abandon.

So although this experience was not what I first anticipated, it certainly is rewarding. I view Colin as my little rescue dog which he certainly is. Regardless of where he came from his life is now one where someone truly loves him for who he is and will work to give him the best life possible. I trust that God has a reason for bringing us together and I look forward to a lifetime of adventures with my little Swiss bear.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dating Through the Ages

Going grey has really changed my self-perception and my awareness of the world. When you make the decision to go grey you really are making a stand for yourself. You undergo a lot of criticism and some of that criticism turns into accolades, some to quiet acceptance, and some remains criticism.

You also learn that your dating pool doesn't really change. It only changes when you change the way you see yourself. So if you see yourself as successful and together, then that's what you attract.

Now it's the dating mix, the mix of age ranges. I'll always get the same: men my age, men entering the winter of their life, and little puppies.

Older Men
Let's start with the older men (age before beauty!). The older men I attract are searching for their lost youth. It annoys me to no end. They're typically trying to display how much energy they have and how in shape they are. All the while I'm thinking, "Really? You're still insecure and shallow after all these years?" I also find that they're searching for someone to make them the center of the universe. Their problems are always bigger, their successes must in turn be bigger, etc. I watch my friends in these relationships and realize they don't have a partner they have a man baby. Now it's different when they're fathers but still that need to be the center of the universe has tended to remain.

Puppies
I have to categorize these men into two groups: the 20-somethings and the 30-somethings. For some reason I attract a lot of 20-somethings. Makes me feel like a pedophile, it's weird. The good thing is they're not at all threatened by your success which is refreshing. For the most part I figured it was some kid living at home that wanted a place to crash. That or they want an experienced woman in the sack. I don't think that's out of the question. However recently a Millennial actually convinced me to give him my number. Well, that's what research is for! It starts out well enough and then he jumps right into what he likes about older women. He also texts on a Friday afternoon for weekend plans. It's too much of a hassle in DC to go out during the week so I always have weekend plans and politely declined. "You're even booked tonight?!" Mr. Presumptuous asked incredulously. "Yes." See there's no finesse, no wooing, and it doesn't mentally spark my interest. And if you can't mentally spark an interest with me, it's a no-go.

The 30-somethings are a mixed bag. I spent the weekend at a wedding with 30-year-olds. Lovely people who had some interesting life stories. There was always that one or two in the group that got blackout drunk. One in particular made an inappropriate comment. I knew he was just what I call "wasty pants" but some other girls heard it. They couldn't let it go. Instead there was this big drama created under the guise of protecting me. No this was all about drama, something I have no room for in my life. The whole thing got blown way out of proportion and reeked of mean girl mentality towards this guy. But then I noticed that little things often get blown out bigger than they need be. When I dated men in their early 30s there were arguments about stupid things that I'd scratch my head over. It just all became too silly and too dramatic.

Age-Appropriate (for me)
By 40 Life has kicked you down a few times. If you've lost a close loved one there is just so much you let go of- little things just don't have the impact they once did. Men my age understand that a woman my age wants some advance planning for a date and definitely in the beginning. The ones that really peak my interest are the ones that give good woo. I like some good woo: someone who picks me up, holds the door open for me, has a conversation with me, and ends the date respectfully with a kiss. There's something to be said to not revealing everything about yourself and letting tension build.

I've found through this research that I'm not missing out from these younger or older guys. Now I understand that these are just my experiences thus far and there are always exceptions to the rule. But I've found that I'm happiest with someone nearer my own age. It helps clarify what I DO want in a partner and I think that's half the battle.