The husband and I has always wanted a puppy.
When we first started dating (so long ago in 2001!), we were frequently separated. The first time the husband had to go overseas, I bought him a puppy soft toy and wrote in a letter that I hoped the soft toy will keep him company in my place. He later told me that he never took the soft toy out once in the 2 months we were separated, mostly because he lived with a bunch of guys and no guy wants to be seen by another guy playing with a cutesy soft toy. However, when I left to go overseas for a year, he went and bought the exact same puppy soft toy for me. We were in a long distance relationship for a total of almost 7 years, and in that time, those two soft toys became very important to us. They signified our relationship – to the point that the husband got into the habit of having his next to him at all times.
Throughout those years, we met up in summers and winters and took holidays together. We talked a lot about what kind of puppy we wanted. In the 12 years we were together, we considered getting a Cocker Spaniel, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, a Husky, a Golden Retriever, a Corgi, a Samoyed and a Pomeranian. I finally fell utterly in love with a Japanese Spitz puppy I saw when I went home to Asia in 2011 and it was decided that’s the breed we are going to get for our first dog. What a variety, eh?! It was mostly talk though. We lived apart for 7 years, and when we finally lived together, we moved 5 times in the course of 5 years. We also lived in rentals that mostly did not allow dogs.
We knew we want a puppy, but we also knew we had to wait. Last year, we finally bought our own home and we could finally have a dog in our house. At this time we were volunteering regularly at our local shelter, and we signed up to foster dogs. We fostered two dogs. This was an invaluable experience. In fact, I would suggest all 1st time dog owners to try fostering first before getting their own dog. Not only does it help the shelters to free up space (dogs that get rejected from shelters due to lack of space tend to face euthanasia), you get a lot of support. The first night we brought our foster dog home, he cried through the night. I called the foster coordinator the next day in a panic, afraid I was doing something wrong. She counselled me and taught me how to handle it. Getting a dog is ALOT of work. We knew going in that it would be a lot of work, but only after fostering did we realize what we thought was really nothing compared to how much work it is. In fostering, you really get to try out being a dog owner, and the responsibilities it required from you, without really committing to a dog (and end up surrendering it to the shelter when you realize you can’t handle it).
We knew it was time to get a dog of our own. The only factor being, should we adopt a dog from the shelter, or get one from a reputable breeder? At this time, I had done a ton of research on the breed we decided on – the Japanese Spitz. I loved all I learnt about it. It is a healthy breed with few genetic issues. The size is perfect – I didn’t want a tiny dog because my husband is very tall and I think it looks comedic when he walks a tiny dog that barely comes up over his ankle; I didn’t want a big dog because I’m fairly small size and if a 50 lb dog decides he’s going left, I have no hope of making him go right. I love how low maintenance this breed is, despite its beauty and pure white color, dirt and mud do not stick to the coat and it only needs regularly brushing. In addition, the husband and I really want to raise our first dog from a puppy, to make him truly our own. This is a relatively rare breed in the USA, and an adult dog rarely shows up in the shelters, not to mention a puppy. Therefore, we decided that we will get a puppy from a reputed breeder for our first dog. (After going through potty-training, we have decided that we are definitely going to adopt a house-trained dog for our second dog! No way are we going through that twice.)
I went online to search for breeders of the Japanese Spitz. Because of the rarity of the breed, there aren’t actually that many breeders to choose from! I managed to find one in North California. However, fate and circumstances caused us to wait for approximately six months before a litter became available. Simba, from IMAG in North California, mated with a Korean female, Iku in South California, and she had four lovely pups! I originally wanted a female puppy, but because Simba’s owner and Iku’s owner each reserved a female, only male puppies were available. I debated for awhile and decided we waited long enough. After an agonizing choice between two identically adorable boys we have our puppy.
In November 2nd, 2013, we made the long drive down to South California and saw Qing Qing for the first time. And the next day, after QQ’s first road trip, we were home.
And that’s the beginning of the chronicles of a puppy.