Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Boys: The Search for Duke and Toby

Yesterday I spent lots of money, time, and sanity at the vet. On the drive home as the boys finally settled down, I started thinking about what it took to find our dogs and how having them the past year, really has changed my life.

I grew up with dogs. In my whole life there was only a one year long period in which, I did not have a dog. It was very difficult. I became puppy obsessed. The way others pine for babies or marriage, I was for canines. I had puppy-fever.

It wasn’t too difficult to convince Nick what needed to be done. The hard part was finding a dog. It seems like for most people they go out to "just look" and magically come home with a fury bundle of joy. Not us. Nick is an engineer and therefore a lot of research went into it. He started reading giant textbook like material and learned as much as he could about breeds, training, etc. Meanwhile, I became addicted to sites like and fell in love day after day.

When Nick finally decided we were ready to become dog owners, we went to a "Puppy Meet and Greet". It is exactly what it sounds like.

It was simultaneously the best and worst way to spend a Saturday. You spend the whole time playing with insanely cute puppies but you leave empty handed, wishing you could take every last one home with you. If you are looking for a dog and live within an hour on Minneapolis, I strongly recommend this shelter. The people who run it, truly care for the animals they help.

We found a puppy that we thought would be perfect for us. We spent time playing with her and set up a time for the shelter to come see our home to make sure it was fit.

Within an hour, of leaving Nick's throat started to close. He had trouble breathing and was completely stuffed up. A week later Nick's doctor confirmed that Nick was highly allergic to dogs. The doctor recommended that we not get a puppy. Nick recommended that we look into hypoallergenic breeds.

I was not happy about the idea. I wanted a dog that could protect me and all I could imagine was a little puff ball that would be better in my purse than on a leash. I finally swallowed my ideas of what I thought I wanted and started looking at the possibilities.

I found miniature schnauzers to be a hypoallergenic breed that was known to be very sweet but protective. I saw a picture of a litter that was just born and fell in love. Nick was hoping for a West Highland Terrier. He grew up with a westie (as they are commonly called) and his whole family just absolutely loves the breed.

I was really hoping to get a rescue dog but after so much time and effort, I was exhausted and just ready to have my dog. I scheduled an appointment with a breeder and the day before we went to go meet the puppies, I received an email from Nick’s eleven-year-old cousin.

She was explaining that her family was moving to Germany on a military assignment and were going to have to give their dogs up for adoption. She went on to say that she knew Nick and I had been looking for a dog and was wondering if we would be interested in taking their dogs. Toby, a four-year-old miniature schnauzer and Duke, a ten-year-old westie. The exact two breeds we had been looking for.

It was a rescue of the best kind. We have had the boys for over a year now and every day I fall in love all over again.

Toby is a rascal. He is so much trouble but he is also the most loving dog I have ever known.

Duke is our old man. He’s stubborn and quirky but mellow and sweet. Everyday when I turn down my street after a long day at work, I feel my spirit pick up when I remember that as soon as I open the door, I will be greeted by those cute faces and wagging tails and for that I am so grateful.


  1. I love these guys and I haven't even met them captured the experience of having a dog as part of your family perfectly....we will never not have one:)

  2. Awww, I love dogs. Unfortunately, I have to stick with babies for now! :)