Cliff notes version
No more than a week ago at lunch with co-workers they all talked about their dogs, and at the end I said in a very definitive voice, “That’s it – I’m getting a dog!” I’d been wanting a dog for several years, but for various reasons the time had never been right. But now, something in the conversation had moved me to step out and say it with conviction like I meant it. That declaration started a whirlwind series of events, that led to Chloe’s adoption exactly 7 days later.
“Really, what kind?” my co-workers asked.
“Well, I want a puppy. Female. Easy to train. I want a small dog that will be good company and a playmate for Sparky (my somewhat annoying, yet entertaining and lovable cat). Pretty sure I want a Havanese (non-shedding, non-allergenic, non-yappy). I want her to be black or have a lot of black. Preferably a rescue dog. For sure I don’t want to spend a fortune.”
Last week’s time line
- Back from lunch, I cruised Petfinder.com for shelter dogs. No Havanese – found a cute puppy, Fiona, but she was a different breed that shed.
- Looked for Havenese rescue organization in my area – nothing there.
- Cruised Seattletimes.com and Craigs List – there were Havanese, but not the right one for me (females, but white – black, but males, and so forth).
- Corresponded with some breeders. Found some attractive, available puppies that fit the bill: $1,200 – $1,700 – uh….no.
- Sent an email to and talked with close friends, asking: “What should I do? Cute shelter shedder I can get right now, pricey perfect pup, or wait it out? In short, all agreed: “Hold out for what you really want, not just a ‘good enough pup.'”
- Visited a friend over the weekend, and a neighbor came over with a cute, sweet dog that I was really drawn to. “What kind is that?” “Havanese.” “Really? Wow!” “Ya, she’s the best!” “Huh, you don’t say?”
- Monday morning first thing, I go back to Petfinder.com, search on Havanese, and what??? A local rescue org now has, not 1, not 2, not 3, but SIX Havanese rescue pups available. No way! I call 4pm Monday.
- Tuesday 10AM, shelter lady calls back and we set an appointment for Wednesday morning.
- Wednesday 9AM, meet Chloe. She’s, a little stinky, sticky (a litter-mate’s accident on the way to our meet-up), shy & scruffy (a shelter dog, after all), but sweet, and there was a hint of cuteness underneath the scruff. She’s not a copy of my friend’s fluffy, pretty and outgoing, bouncy dog as I had envisioned. However, she is 6mo, female, Havanese rescue, lots of black (face & spots), female, and a bargain at $400.
- After sitting with her for an hour, despite some lingering uncertainty (a puppy is after all a 15 year commitment), I took the plunge and declared “I’ll take her.”
- Brought her home and immediately gave her a bath. Bye, bye sticky and stinky. Now she’s just shy, scruffy and sweet.
- That night on her walk, she shows some bouncy puppy energy. In the house, she and Sparky are leery of each other, but generally tolerant.
- Thursday morning, she’s bouncy, happy, and by the time I am ready to leave for work, she and Sparky are tearing around the house chasing each other and playing like long lost pals. 50/50 – cat chases dog – dog chases cat. She’s waaaay less shy, even more sweet, and soon (once her hair grows and she gets a proper grooming), I’m convinced she will go from scruffy to chic.
- By Friday, she’s walking happily on a leash, doing her duty outside, playing with Sparky, has made fast friends at work, and is calling her own corner of the couch home.
Yep, I’ve found the perfect pup, and in doing so, learned the following about the power of words.
- Short, declarative statements pack the most punch.
I’ve been ‘talking about’ getting a dog for years. Saying things like “I’d love to have a dog” “I want a dog” “I wish I had a dog” “Can I have your dog?” But, it wasn’t until I declared “That’s it, I’m getting a dog.” That things started to move, and move fast.
- Holding a vivid vision in one area increases power in all areas.
Having nothing to do with dogs, about 10 days ago I took on the daily practice of holding my vision for what I am creating in life. I’m focusing on fitness, relationship, business, and finance. It’s a simple practice of relaxation and meditation where I spend 10 – 40 minutes envisioning those goals fulfilled. I’ve been really enjoying the process, and the feeling of accomplishment in developing a new habit. Progress in those areas is steady, but with no big breakthroughs yet apparent. Nowhere in anywhere of that practice was the vision of a dog, but I have no doubt that practice played a big part in bringing Chloe to me.
- Say exactly what you want, even if it seems unlikely.
You remember my list? I wanted a popular, pricey and somewhat specialized dog. But at a bargain price, without compromising on my criteria. Typically, getting all that is highly unlikely. Kind of like wanting a very popular car, late model, low miles, in perfect condition, at a bargain-basement price, with attractive financing, but you have crappy credit. Even so, I knew what I wanted, so that’s what I said.
- Talk it out – out loud.
Once I’d made the decision and declaration, I started telling all my friends, and coworkers, and about anyone else who would listen “I’m getting a dog” “Oh ya, what kind?” “A Havanese, I want a female, preferably, black, and I don’t want to pay a fortune. I would love to have a rescue dog. I want a good playmate for Sparky.” Whatever it is you want, getting it out of your head and into the world in conversation is a critical first step in having it go from goal to reality.
- Don’t settle for a “good enough pup.”
I was mighty tempted. Little shelter shedder, Fiona, was cute. Very cute. I had thoughts like “What if I let her go, but don’t find what I want? Then I’ll have nothing.” and “You can’t be too picky if you want a shelter dog” and “Maybe I will just have to bite the bullet and cough up the cash for the puppy I really want.” (And, yes, I do think in cliche’s. Don’t you?) Luckily, my friends had all encouraged me to hold out for the right dog. Another reinforcement of the value of talking it out – good advice and support.
- (formatting won’t give me 5.5, but you get the idea) Sometimes ‘perfect’ comes disguised.
I came perilously close to walking away from Chloe (or puppy X as she was called when I met her). When I say she was a little sticky, a little stinky, a little scruffy, I am being generous. She was a lot sticky, stinky and scruffy. She was shy and shivering and more than a little leary of me at first. Certainly not the happy, bouncy, ball of unconditional love and adoration that I had pictured. She did however, meet all the requirements on my list. And as I sat there trying to decide, she gave my fingers a few coy licks. Suddenly, I thought of the home shows I like to watch – where they buy a run-down house for cheap and then with patience, perseverance, vision and comittment, in a few short weeks, it becomes the perfect dream home – and I knew this scruffy pup was my perfect dog.
Now as I am writing, Chloe sits on the couch in her doggie-bed, sleepy and cute. Nope, now she’s up and chasing the cat. Wait. Now Sparky is chasing her. Can’t help but giggle – it’s just what I had envisioned. And, yep – it looks like I’ve had my way with words again.
I’d love to hear from you
- What do you want?
- Are you saying so? Out loud?
- What happens when you’re tempted to settle for ‘good enough?’
- Where can you see the perfect behind the disguise?
- Find rescue dogs and shelters at Petfinder.com (Fiona may still need a home)
- Learn more about K9 Northwest where I got Chloe