For years we’ve been doing the right thing.
We got married on a Friday for under $300, and we stayed in a discount hotel room for our wedding night. Saturday morning was the Bean’s hard class and he didn’t want to risk falling behind, so we didn’t even take the weekend off.
We rented a duplex that shared a backyard with hoarders. We could have afforded better, but it was the wise financial decision….. right up until we found out that even though we were paying the landlord he wasn’t paying the bank, and the bank foreclosed on our little home.
We could have afforded a small apartment, but it wasn’t nearly as smart as moving in with my parents and sharing the rent. We took two bedrooms, they took a bedroom and the garage, and we split the yard. They cut us a great deal on babysitting so I could go back to work.
We lived with my parents for three years, right at the start of our marriage.
It was the right thing to do.
When the time came to trade in my old car with almost 200,000 miles for something better, I daydreamed about trucks. I knew they were completely impractical… but on the other hand, a Honda Element wasn’t. I researched, and plotted, and planned, and drooled about a late model orange Honda Element with a cute little camping package…..
But I got a plain brown Honda Civic instead. The Bean was able to finagle a great price on them through his work, it was cheaper with better gas mileage and a nicer warranty, and it was the financially smart thing to do.
We could have afforded a horse lease while I was living in California.
Instead, we saved our money – it just made good financial sense.
While our peers were going out to dinner, and movies, and on vacations, and bought new clothes and hired baby sitters….we went to work. And school. And home. Then we went right back to work and school, and then we did it all over again.
I’m not complaining – it was the smart thing to do, and because we made the right choices, tiny little smart choices over and over, it’s why we were able to jump right in and buy a house when we moved here, instead of renting somewhere.
When The Bean traveled up here to the Portland area in January on a whirlwind trip to meet his accounting firm as well as to look at houses, I desperately wanted to come with him. I wanted to meet the state, and see the area, and help choose my very first house.
It would have cost several hundred dollars extra – so we decided it wasn’t the smart thing to do. It wasn’t financially wise.
Etc, etc, etc, etc…. You get the point.
With one or two exceptions, when it came time to make a decision, we have always made the right choice – the smart choice, the financially sound choice.
This is my first winter in the Pacific Northwest. Except for the times when I put on layers of waterproof everything on all three of us, I’m going to be trapped inside with two hyperactive little boys, learning how to deal with grey skies and rain. I have plenty of things I need to take care of. The last thing I need to push me over the edge of sanity is a puppy, no matter how cute.
No matter how fuzzy.
No matter how adorable.
Even if I did want a puppy, there are plenty of animals needing homes. With the exception of horses, I’ve never paid a penny to acquire an animal. Every cat I’ve ever owned, every dog that’s been a part of my life – they’ve all been “free” – as free as owning an animal can be, that is.
Why would I plunk down money on a purebred animal when pedigree has never mattered to me?
It’s not like I’m going to do field trial competitions, or show a dog. Sure, you get the chance to know more about the animal and the bloodlines they’re coming from, but do I really need to dump money on a luxury like that?
With all of the free dogs on Craigslist, why would anybody pay money for a well bred one, even if the stud dog is pretty magnificent?
It’s not like we’re a duck hunting family. That kind of talent would just be a waste.
Pretty is as pretty does….. and I can barely remember to brush my hair in the mornings, so show conformation would also be a waste on me.
If we want a purebred, we don’t need to go hunting for a breeder……. even if there does happen to be a truly great one within driving distance who has an impeccable reputation for producing quality, calm, intelligent Labradors.
I mean, sure there’s a difference in energy level between an field-bred, American-style Labrador and a calmer British-bred Labrador…. and there’s also the difference in head style, with those British labs having big, beautiful, blockheads that look like they’re straight out of a painting….. but that’s just icing on a cake. Pretty doesn’t make a dog, and there are plenty of Labrador rescues teeming with young, child-friendly dogs all over the Pacific Northwest. Admittedly, most of those dogs are going to need some heavy training to learn how to be good house pets, but I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.
Sure, it’d be nice to know the family history of a pup, but I’ve managed just fine in the past with whatever rescue dog I’ve acquired, so why change that now….. Even if the puppies’ mother has big, soft, soulful eyes like this:
Even if she is mellow, and sweet, and looks like she’d be your best friend for life:
You can find a great dog anywhere. There’s no reason to pay money – that’s just…. that’s just silly. It…. It doesn’t even make any sense.
But sometimes…. sometimes you just have to do something a little crazy.
A little zany.
A little dumb.
When the Bean and I were discussing the possibility of adding to our family, he said something that resonated with me.
“Becky, we’re going to have this dog until we’re in our forties. Why not get the dog we really want?”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how right he was.
So, Internet, meet Artemis:
The breeder, Merganser Labradors, breeds some of the most incredible Labradors I’ve ever seen – and I did a lot of internet research once we started dreaming bigger, beyond Craigslist. They have a fantastic reputation on the internet forums for producing healthy, intelligent, British-type blockhead Labradors with brains, beauty, and a steady temperament.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos on this post, because they all came to me from the breeder’s incredibly talented husband, and they’re probably the best photos we will ever have of our new little girl.
She’s coming home in a week and I have to admit, I’m pretty excited. Aside from my little car and this house, I don’t think I’ll have ever owned anything quite this nice.