For those who don't know, Kate and I recently got a dog. Here's the executive summary: she is pretty darn cute and we are very excited.
The more detailed version follows.
Kate gets really bad panic attacks (I've asked permission to share that with you, dear reader, so don't feel awkward about knowing something you shouldn't). We've done a lot of reading, and we have found that dogs can be trained to help cope with panic attacks. But to make this a useful thing, we would need to be able to take the dog anywhere (because the panic attacks aren't kind enough to only strike at home). So, we did lots of research into service animals.
We decided after all that research that we should get a dog that we could train to be of service to Kate. On the blog, I don't plan on dwelling overly much on the fact that she will be a service dog, but I figured it would come up at some point, and I wanted to mention it from the start.
In looking for a dog, we looked at lots of different makes and models. We looked at grown dogs and puppies. We looked at rescue dogs, rescue-rescue dogs (a term I just made up for dogs from places like Last Day Dog Rescue,which saves dogs from shelters on the last day before the shelters put them down, giving them another chance to get adopted), and dogs from breeders. Janine even tried to get us to adopt a Potcake, which I would have really enjoyed (partially because the adoption process involved spending a week in the Bahamas...) In the end we went through a breeder instead of rescuing a dog, which I feel kind of bad about. I would really have liked to save a dog from a bad situation, but that just wouldn't fit our needs.
We started looking at different breeds. We made a spreadsheet of about 200 breeds (all those recognized by the Ann Arbor Kennel Club). It seemed like as good a place to start as any. One by one we started removing them. Some were really easy- we got rid of about half just based on size. We ended up with half a dozen or so breeds that were worth looking at. So, we called breeders and did in depth research on those breeds.
We found a breeder about an hour and a half away from Ann Arbor who breeds Labradors and Flat Coated Retrievers. She just had a fresh litter of Flat Coats, and one of them seemed perfect to us. When we went out to meet Kim and the pups, we found that she had put little colored collars on each of them as soon as they were born so that she could tell them apart. We wanted the girl with the Yellow collar, which we just called "Yellow," for lack of a better name. We brought her home the next week.
As for the name, Kate wanted to keep the Yellow theme, so we thought of different things that are yellow. Banana is a terrible name. So is Sun, or Daisy, or Corn. Really anything sounds either like a person's name (like Daisy) or like a hippy's name (like Corn). So we went another step. We started looking at other languages just for fun. We put all those words into Google Translate and listened to them in other languages. Kate really likes scandy-land, so she fell on the idea of "Majs", Swedish for Corn. It's pronounced with a soft "J", like Maize. And since I am at the University of Michigan, with Maize and Blue as our colors, it seemed like a good fit. So we landed on Majzy (MAY-zee, rhymes with Daisy).
Majzy is a great pup, and she is being a lot of fun so far.
I was planning on having this post be mostly pictures with just a little explanatory text, but I think I will do that in a separate post. For anyone who just wants to see a cute puppy without going through all the boring explaining.