Over four years ago we sat LBean down and tried to explain to her that daddy had a new job and that we were moving to China. We might have hastily ended the conversation with “and we’ll get a dog!” Maybe not the best way to try and distract/bribe/excite a child about moving to a new country, but we did.
Jamie and I had a dog for a few years early in our marriage. Although Miles was a very ornery 70 lb lab/beagle mix, we loved him very much and we were sad when he had an unfortunate accident.
At the same time that Jamie’s job was transferring us to China, we had also decided it was time to get a dog again. We really thought we would get one in Suzhou, but for a variety of reasons we never did get a four-legged furry friend.
Fast-forward 4 years and Jamie and I are discussing our possible move to Xi’an. One of the first things we agreed on was that it was time to get a pet. My brother got a dog (hi Gracie!) the summer before and our girls LOVED playing with her. I had everyone convinced that a cat might be a better fit for our apartment lifestyle. But, after seeing our girls play with Gracie over the summer, it became pretty clear that a dog would be really good for our family.
In September we began seriously researching dog breeds that were not only good for families, but also for apartment living. Jamie’s administrative assistant and our driver helped us locate breeders and pet shops that might have what we were looking for.
Jamie and I whole-heartedly support adopting dogs from shelters (like we did with Miles). Beijing and Shanghai do have animal shelters, but that doesn’t exist in Xi’an. At least not we’re aware of. Also, it’s very common for cities here to have “pet & plant streets” where there are all kinds of animals for sale. I’m not sure that all are for the purposes of being a pet…some probably end up on a dinner table.
We did have luck finding a pet shop on our side of the city that seems legit and offers boarding, vaccinations, dog grooming, supplies and is 500 meters from an animal hospital. We visited the shop on a Sunday to meet two puppies, both male miniature Schnauzers from the same litter.
We were smitten with the black and white one and we showed great restraint not bringing the dog home that day. (We did not show the same logical thinking with our first dog Miles. We had gone to Lowe’s to buy paint and decided to just “look” at the puppies. We came home with a dog and not the paint.) A national holiday was coming up in three days and we would all be home for 4 days to help potty train the puppy. Because we all know that when everyone goes back to school & work, the dog becomes mom’s job.
As we planned for a new puppy, a few names were tossed around. I was trying even out the glitter and princess influence in our home by suggesting something masculine, like Yoda. Jamie offered the name Chewy, but I had already mentioned the name Oreo to the girls and they had latched on to the name for our new black and white puppy.
We are so glad that Oreo is part of our family! He is very much a puppy and we’ve had our share of accidents (so glad we have tile floors), but I have joked that he is our therapy dog. Now that ChinaBean has gotten over her “I’m not the baby in the family” feelings, all the girls love him very much and he has been a great addition to our family. We hope he is a part of our family for a very long time!