Choosing A Puppy: What’s My Motivation?

Before people get all inflammatory and weird and slam me for “not getting a rescue” and “contributing to pet-over-population,” just stop right there. Halt.  Cease,  Desist.

Almost all of my dogs have come from pure-bred rescue, a shelter or were “found-puppies.”  I’ve had 3 re-homes from reputable breeders and therefore I had a lot of information, good or ill, from those breeders. I had a bit of an inside track.

I was talking to a friend who has a handsome, rescue dog who has such extreme issues that he may never, ever live a normal life.  But she’s committed to helping him live the best life he can. But even she, a drinker from the Rescue-Rehab Fountain admits she’s looking into getting a good, sound, correctly raised puppy from a great breeder.  Rescuing a dog or cat is one of the noblest things you can do.  But it seriously is the luck of the draw.  I’ve been pretty lucky with my rescues.  But a lot of them have had Huge Issues too.

My friend would like to start it “right” and do it right without a bunch of unknown crap coming up.  She’s looking at a couple of different breeds too.

We hoisted a mental glass of wine because I know whereof she comes from!

For me, and this is just for me because I’m starting to think about a puppy in the fairly near future……I’m researching breeders.  I’ve got my short list.  But I need to ask myself the hard questions.  I know the breeders will ask me the hard questions.

One of my questions is one of Motive.  We don’t often think of Motive as a reason for getting or adding a dog to our home and life.  But it’s huge!  Do I want unconditional love, companionship? Do I want ribbons? Do I want accolades, recognition?  There is very little that is “wrong” with Motive.  Unless you’re some sicko, of course.

I think anyone who is adding a dog to their life needs to honestly look at their motivation for making this step!

Of course there is the obvious:

Health concerns?

Have both parents been tested?

Can I meet both parents? (Sometimes Dad is just frozen semen).

Do I want a male or a female?

Intact?  Or Altered?  Am I willing to take a lifetime of responsibility for an intact dog?

I’m up in the air on the sex but that’s just for me. I know, if I (we) put my mind, ability (and money) into it, I (we) could finish a female!  I have no worries about that but I’m also a “if I’m going do this damn show thing again, I’M doing it my damn self again!” kind of person.  Any professional handler can finish a decent dog. I’d rather do it my damn self!  As much as I enjoyed that part of our lives, I might not want to do it again.  Not in Conformation. And I really don’t think I want to raise a litter either!

When it comes to Motive, I guess you have to ask yourself: what is my goal for this purebred dog?  Do I want a happy, balanced, in-my-house dog or can I go higher maintenance?  Do I want him to win Westminster?  Am I willing to do a life-time of crate shuffling to have that dog in my house because s/he’s that exceptional but doesn’t get along with everyone?  Or do I want everyone lounging on the sofas and hanging out in the car, on a trail?

What is my goal for what I WANT TO GET from this dog? (Performance, Westminster, perfect hiking companion, herding, therapy?).  I think many people never face this, ever.

If you know it, you can say it out loud.

Face it, dogs love us.  They need love, food, proper care, a safe home, training so they’re not complete jerk-offs, etc. The titles, ribbons, accolades…they are cool. I won’t deny it.  But in the end, for me personally, they need to be our dog, our buddy. I really love the idea of a dog that does something cool and/or useful, and it can be performance, work, service, therapy.

My dream dog could help kids and adults learn about proper dog care and safety and bite prevention  He and I could educate together!!  I confess, I love the interaction and applause!

How much am I willing to put in? (time, money, training etc)  Is he going to be “my” show (performance) dog or is someone else going to do it?  In my case, Hell-NO.

What kind of personality can I live with and what can’t I live with?

As I get older, and less “able,” do I need an easier-going yet less “showy/driven” dog?

Can this puppy get along with Artie AND Elke??  Could he be OK with the cat?

Do I need to research other breeds?

What’s my lifestyle like?  It’s pretty busy, crazy with huge moments of “chill-out-sofa-time”.  My neighbors shoot off firecrackers in the summer.  Kids come in our house. We ride bikes and take hikes in the woods.  Kids play softball in the street.  I live in suburbia!

What will my lifestyle be like in 2, 5, 10 years.  Etc. etc.

To me, if the puppies are all pretty nice-looking, I really have to trust the Mommy Dog owner because she’s with those puppies day in, day out. But kennel-blindness can come into play.

I surely would get another opinion from someone, (even if they “do” another breed) on the litter because correct structure is structure!  I”m lucky that I could call in some cards and get someone from another breed to look at the litter. Most people that I’ve seen make a successful match do seek another opinion from outside that particular breed.

I need to see them interact with their siblings, other dogs, people. other animals if possible.  I’d drag along a dog person (like a trainer or behaviorist)  I trust to look at the litter because maybe the one that appeals to me most might not be the right dog for me, for us, for all of us!

I will definitively take the breeder’s advice; she should know that litter inside and out.

But I’ll also send it up to the Gods, and ask that the right puppy come into my life and be a blessing for its whole lifetime.

©2013 Mia Hess

Myth, Parable and The Modern Mode: An Opinion

An old acquaintance of mine wrote this quote:

The question: How to reach the not-very-bright hordes, when they simply refuse to be reached by logic, fact, or modern mode? How to communicate obvious and vital truths (conservation, global warming, public health, sexuality, basic nutrition, religion as parable/myth, the general awfulness of Mumford & Sons) the lack of understanding of which keep the country straggling and embarrassing, the laughingstock of the civilized world?  

T. Alexander

My snappy answer was “Turn off Fox News.” But that is rather simplistic. 

First of all, it’s not just America or Americans that are to blame.  There is general stupidity and apathy, blind obedience to “leadership’ or what is fed to people by the government or media.  Anywhere.  In the world.  To make America and American the whipping boy, the lowest standard is just plain limited. We are not the only idiots in the world.

 Hello?  China throwing hundreds of pig carcasses in the river?  Oh, yeah, that was real bright and far-thinking, eh?  They could have a giant weenie roast and a big ass party!  No, instead let’s pollute one of our main rivers. 

Do people need to step up, look at and make positive steps towards conservation, global warming, nutrition?  Absolutely? We all share the world.  Hey, folks, here’s a clue-by-four: THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE FOR US TO GO. Hello, we have no colonies on the moon or Mars.  So if you screw this joint up, you’re screwed. 

Sexuality?  Of course, that’s a no brainer. Same sex couples should be able to marry.  We need, as a world society, more tolerance towards those who are not heterosexual.  Period, finished, end of story. If you think it’s bad for LGBT in the U.S. you have no knowledge of the rest of the world.  None, zip, zilch.

Women’s right and equality?  Again, a no-brainer.  Last time I looked men don’t have a vagina and can’t give birth.  So, grab your weenie and shut the front door.

Religion as parable/myth? Really? You honestly think that communicating “obvious and vital truths” in regard to religion is needed?  How exactly are you going to do that? Whose “obvious and vital truths”: would those be? I sense a disturbance in the Force. 

I shall start this off by stating that I am not a Christian, Jew or Muslim.  By the mere fact and dictionary definition I am a pagan. (See DEFINTION.)

I believe in a Higher Power, which at any given time I can call God, Goddess, Mother, Mother Earth, Father Sky, Gaia, Great One, The Universe, Divine Love, Angel Michael, Great Spirit, Father Of My Ancestors or “Hey, Ralph!”  And I’m not joking about the last one. 

I believe in something greater than myself, a power which can “restore me to sanity.”  Some days I am “coming to believe.”  Some days, moments etc. I truly doubt.  Some days I’m pissed off and don’t want anything to do with that idea. And there are days I forget too!  

I don’t hold that thought or belief in a Power Greater Than Myself all the time.  I forget to ask for help or guidance, to meditate, to turn things over when things are in the crapper, to let go and let that Higher Power do something positive, heal a situation (even if temporarily). to bless those around me, to help those in need, to open a closed door or show me another one.  Etc. etc. 

A Higher Power can be a “deity”, a group (such as a 12 Step type of thing), Nature, the Universe, Order, etc. 

My Higher Power is not confined to a couple of thousand pages in a book called the Bible, the Qaran, the teachings of Buddha or the Torah.  It’s “bigger” than me, it’s within and without of me.  

My question is: why don’t you believe in a Higher Power?  Why do you believe that religion is a “parable/myth?”  Isn’t that a rather simplistic view? Traditional church-temple-mosque type beliefs can be rather constrained, I’ll grant you.  But the Divine, that Higher Power is so much more than what’s found between 4 walls or a book.  Whether is be religious or educational!

Logic, you say?  What is logical about a tree?  A flower?  Nothing.  It’s not linear, it’s not logical.  Yes, it grows and dies but where was that original spark.  The big, cosmic, universe-colliding bang?  Sure, absolutely.  But why do people think that logic and belief are incongruous. 

Facts?  Facts can be misconstrued, re-phrased, re-tuned to suit the listener. Whose Facts are those?  Yours?  Look at pre-WW2 Germany and I rest my case. 

Statistics? Please. You can mangle statistics in so many ways that it’s almost ridiculous.

Math, you say?  Yes, math is very “pure” in concept but how is it used, explained, taught, related to? Math can all be expressed in a different ways.  Math to me and how it relates to my life is different from math to you.  Funny thing: so is the concept of a Power Greater Than Yourself.  

Science?  Science as truth?  The Ultimate Truth?  Really?  They have come up with so many ways to change our perceptions of how dinosaurs lived and looked in the last twenty years, that the old stuff I learned as a kid is barely relevant  That’s just as an example. “Hard” Science is ever-changing.  New discoveries are being made every day. Where does that spark of inspiration and sweat and try-again-because-that-one-didn’t-work come from?  The human will?  Sure.  But when a scientist says, “Hmm, I wonder if I did THIS, that would happen?”  Where does that come from?  Isn’t that the same as a musician writing a song?  Yes, he might know notes and theory but what is the essence that puts it all together and makes a decades-loved tune or symphony?  A touch of genius?  Luck? The hand of God? The Creative Spark?

So I ask again: Why don’t you believe in Something Bigger Than You?  A “Higher Power” if you will. Why do you try and negate that but using the fear-based “parable/myth: argument?  Why does it frighten you?  Because of the sheep-like devotion to rhetoric? You could say that about law or government or media   

That Something Bigger Than You inspires you!  It gave you the thought in your brain to write that paragraph and ask those questions about the “hordes.”  It doesn’t wipe the board clean of logic or facts.  It could inspire you in a way to help make those changes you want.

Modern Mode?  Let’s talk abut that, shall we? Exactly what is that? The Modern Mode of what? Communicating?   It  sure as hell isn’t the “Modern Mode” of compassion and forbearance and tolerance. 

The “Modern Mode” as I see it is: lighting fast communications, the Internet, social media, global satellites, force-fed, highly filtered, agenda-driven news, ever-growing ways to “connect” (without really connecting on a face-to-face level), new weapons, organ-regrowth, GMOs, super-farms, cloning, cell regeneration, new medicines and detection technologies, etc. 

Some of it is extremely useful and cool, some of it is great, mind-blowing, fabulously helpful, some of it is horrible, a lot of it is surprisingly de-humanizing and mind-numbing. (Think cyber-bullying.)  It’s slowly creating robotic thinking; the inability to learn and connect without some device helping you. 

The Modern Mode is being collectively disconnected from “real” world. It’s keeping you virtual, fed whatever you want or get the easiest way possible. For the most part, people are inherently lazy.  It’s Fox News.  It’s Rupert Murdock. It’s keeping us stupid.  It’s brain-numbing, soul-stealing.  We are more and more “of the world but not IN the world.”

The “Modern Mode,” in its most comic, yet true version, is two people sitting in the same room, texting each other, sharing a YouTube video. 

The “Modern Mode” has almost nothing to do with:

 Giving your neighbor a helping hand. Knocking on their door and saying, “Hi!” Talking on your porch, front stoop, hallway. 

Socialization face to face. 

Playing a game whether it’s Backgammon, Baseball, Bridge, Bocci or board games with real people not in some virtual la-la land of WOW.

Taking responsibility for your own actions. Accountability  Winning and losing gracefully. 

Fresh air. Open windows on spring night.  Seeing the stars, the moon, a sunset in real time, with real wind and temperatures. 

Live performances  the arts, music, museums, history. Touching a 2,000 year old stone carved by some long-dead person.  

Consequences for bad, negligent  stupid behavior.  Apologies. Amends. 

Fixing it. Healing it.  Making it work and last until its just dead, Jim. You break it, you fix it.  Duct taping it, bailing wiring it.  Shouldering on.  

Caring, kindness, the human touch.  

Commitment; whether to an animal, person, an ideal.  Staying the course. Manners, consideration, politeness, a thank-you. 

A sense of humor.  A sense of wonder and curiosity about things, people, the world. 

These are considered by many to be out-dated, old fashioned concepts. Not in the “Modern Mode” at all. 

I like, use and appreciate technology as much as the next girl (or guy). I might be able to positively impact your life through its use.  The Gods know I sure as hell could implode your life through its use. 

If I want to create change in the “not-very-bright hordes” I can surely use technology to do so.  But human nature is such that to make essential, cellular, holistic change, the surest way is through human contact.  We are screaming as individuals, as a society, as a world, to be touched.  You can watch a video of me singing a song but when you are there, and I make eye contact with YOU or I touch your hand, we are changing each other.  If I touch the shoulder of a gay man who is hurting because society rejects his lifestyle and give him my support, we are changing each other.  If I write to my congressman or testify at a hearing, that’s making change, even if it blows up.  If I walk outside the Afghani embassy with a sign saying, “Rights for Women.” I’m making a change.  If I don’t use a product because I don’t like their policies or spokesperson, I’m making a change. If I recycle, save, reuse, donate, I’m making changes.  If I’m in my yard or on a walk and I get a bolt of inspiration as to how to do something, or who to talk to and FOLLOW THROUGH,  I’m making change.

If you don’t like the “not-very-bright hordes” then quit bitching and blaming and make some changes. Make a shitload of money and buy a television station and do your own unbiased news.  Or if something you see on Facebook pisses you off, message that person or post or blog  and say, “what the hey?” or “Where are you getting your information from?  Here’s another point of view.” One person, face to face, at a time. You can be eloquent, you can get mad. To just blame all of society ills on Americans, stupidity  apathy and religion is too narrow, too easy.  

Don’t be afraid to let the Divine shine within you. Even if you don’t believe in Power Greater Than Yourself, last time I looked you aren’t floating.  If can’t look into the face of a child, a flower, a star, the sunset sky, an animals’s eyes; smell bread, a rose, the wind; hear music that makes you laugh or cry and not see something beyond your comprehension, than you are missing out.That is the Myth, my friends. Don’t blame anyone but your own lack of being a part of the Universe and Beyond. A part of .a Higher Power. A part of everyone and everything else in this world and beyond.

That is all.  I’m going outside.

Elke & Artie: A Short Conversation

(Overheard speaking about March 13, 2013)

Elke: SHE (Mom) took HIM (Artie) out somewhere on his harness and SHE left ME home yesterday!!!!!!  SHE says I pull too much for her right now with her knee.  I do NOT pull.  I am ENCOURAGING her to go FASTER and in the correct direction I want to go to SMELL THINGS.  She keeps almost falling over me. Really?  Parents are so stupid. 


Artie: Yes, but Mom said I was good. I did not pull on my harness very much at all. I even got a cookie at the bank-place. I saw another dog and I got excited but Mom said let’s go and watch me and stuff like that so she wasn’t too scared to fall.

Elke: You suck and you are way slower than I am at emptying the Morning Kong Wobbler of food.  I finish mine MUCH faster than you do. YOU are supposed to be this great cattledog thing and you take so long to get the food out.  Face it, I am smarter than you.

Artie: No, you just have a bigger nose, bahahahah!

A New Word


The black hole of time you fall into while on YouTube, where time and space suspend.  Suddenly you look at the clock and two hours have gone by….and your original reason for going on YouTube has escaped you.


©Mia Hess