But for the past few months I've been having serious puppy lust. Spring arrived and my boyfriend, Brian, and I started spending time in the park, a haven for Manhattan's doggies and doggy owners. So many cute dogs. How lovely it would be to have one!
Over the winter a colleague had gotten a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy and I found myself repeatedly going back to look at her pictures. I'd never seen one before and I thought she must be the cutest dog in the world. I did some research on the breed and found that they're known to be friendly and sweet-natured, considered excellent for the novice dog owner. With every picture I saw, I fell more in love. I really wanted this dog.
Yes, I know...I said I'd adopt from a shelter. But too many episodes of The Dog Whisperer had scared me about behavior problems. I'd never had a dog and I knew I wasn't going to be a confident first-time owner. I wanted to start with a sweet, gentle puppy. And besides, I was so hopelessly in love with the CKC Spaniels by this point that no other dog would satisfy. It was time to talk to Brian about this.
I showed him pictures and he acknowledged that this was a very good looking dog. I knew he loved dogs and animals in general. He'd had a sweet little kitty when we first met. She had died of feline leukemia and he was heartbroken. We discussed how pet stores get their animals from puppy mills and agreed that a breeder was a better option. But finding the right one would be expensive and time-consuming. My birthday was a couple of months away and he said that if I found a pup I wanted, he would buy it for me as a birthday gift.
We neither of us like the idea of shipping a pup so I've been looking for CKC breeders within a 3-4 drive. My desk is piled high with information and I can see that this is going to be a big adventure. I've decided to document the whole experience.
Note added September 2009: We didn't know it then, of course, but almost on the exact day that my boyfriend and I decided we would get a dog, a beautiful CKC spaniel puppy was born on a farm upstate. She was destined to be my precious Hadley.