September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A dog named Gus

By Krista [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Pets at Sheeknoll Farms have a specified living area - outside. My family has always had the mentality that people live inside in the house while animals live outside in the barn or on pasture. In fact, I grew up being able to quote my Grandma Sheehan when she said, "The day I have a cat in the house is the day I have Alzheimer's." She never had Alzheimer's, so we knew none of the farm cats snuck in.
And we, in my immediate family, growing up didn't have cats (or dogs) in the house, either. At least, not longer than a day. The farm cats and dogs lived the good life outside - the cats played in the straw in the calf barn in between their milk breaks while the dogs ran around the farm exploring to their heart's desire until night time when they snuggled in the shed with the dry cows. This still happens on our farm today with our numerous cats and two farm dogs, Lucky and Lucy.
For me personally, this people-inside-animals-outside mentality had never been questioned - until I met my boyfriend, Jordan. At first he would talk about his childhood dog, Murphy, the big German Shepherd that lived inside. I would listen, smile and nod. I could relate to having dogs. They're great! The inside part, not so much.
When Jordan started mentioning his future Golden Retriever, Gus, I didn't think too much of it. When it came up, I thought he meant far into the future. But the occasional mention of a dog kept creeping into conversation. Jordan must also be thinking about moving to more acreage because dogs live outside, I thought at once. But I quickly realized that wasn't the case. I started imagining hanging out at Jordan's house with a dog around - the hair, possible accidents and maybe even drooling came to mind. All those aspects weren't included in my idea of a fun date night.
Even though Jordan knew my thoughts about an inside dog, he also knows I love animals. (I grew up on a farm. How could I not love animals?) So the dog chatter continued - with pictures. Every once in awhile he would show me pictures of dogs he found on the Internet or randomly turn to the Animal Planet channel on TV when an episode of Dogs 101 was on. I still liked dogs, but I still thought the ideal place for them would be outside ... but if the dog only went in the basement that would probably be OK, too.
Then came the pictures of the Golden Retriever puppies. Dogs are fun and cute, but nothing can beat how adorable puppies look. When I would glance over these photos, my thoughts went something like this: I could play and run with them, wrestle in the snow with them, snuggle inside on the floor with them or ... oops, scratch that last thought. I wasn't breaking down. Dogs are meant to live outside. Right?
Soon after the pictures, the search and calls to Golden Retriever breeders in Minnesota started. Many of them had Web sites with lovable looking puppies, many of which were just weeks old. How could I not want one of those fluff balls in the house? Just as long as the dog (and his hair) would stay off the furniture. Then, on the sixth page of a Google search, Jordan found them: Hunter's Goldens. They had three male puppies available. Jordan's mind was made up. He was getting a dog.
Although the idea of an inside dog seemed to break the philosophy I grew up with, it still seemed like an OK idea. But when I went with Jordan to pick out the new pup, the idea was definitely great. When we arrived at the farm, the dogs immediately wanted to play with me. One wanted to bite my hair while another playfully tugged on my shirt. The last dog stood out. Wagging his tail, he ran over to me and plopped down in my lap for a head rub. This little boy melted my heart. When he did the same thing to Jordan, he knew this was the dog for him. He found Gus.
Now I look forward to seeing Gus, the inside dog - a thought I once disliked. And at 11 weeks old he's already doing very well with potty training, learning he can't be on the furniture and how to sit on command. There have been a few times when I thought he could sit on the couch with me, but I quickly corrected my thoughts (for now).
I think I may have a new mentality about pets and their living arrangements - at least for dogs. I'm with you on the cats, Grandma![[In-content Ad]]


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