Getting closer to crossroad


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My midlife crisis has gotten me closer to more tangible choices again.

Unfortunately our beloved older dog met an adder a week ago. In his youth he won many battles against them but maybe he had gotten bit slower with age and before we rushed to intervene he got bitten. And despite vet hospital doing their best, his heart was not able to handle the venom and we lost him. He had just turned 13 but in very good shape and from the breed that tends to live long so we had hoped couple more years with him.

Our house feels very vacant with only one dog. And our remaining, younger dog seems depressed. So we want another dog and quite soon before our remaining dog grows too old to handle a puppy pestering him.

Choice of the breed is what brings the career crossroad of mine to forefront. Hubby has easy to fill wishes for the new puppy. Basically big enough he doesn't need to worry breaking it. And good fit to our lifestyle (basically not an independent hunting dog and likely to have a steady and at least moderately social character.) So choice will be mine and depends on what kind of dog I want.

Before I thought that when kids get out of home I would again have time for more serious work with dogs. I was waiting for getting a field trial lab and training him to become an official search and rescue dog. Or maybe taking one more Rottweiler (the breed that has stolen my heart though we have been without one for close to decade now) and likely dedicating myself to other dog sport, because even female rottweilers tend to be bit too heavy for me to carry (you need to carry your dog in search and rescue test go pass it and only after that dog can be used in search and rescue missions.) Also with Rottweiler there is a real risk the dog would not be quite as social as we would hope.

Both of those breeds would require quite a time commitment from me. Third option would be Rhodesian ridgeback that would likely be happy with living our everyday life and accompanying me to my morning runs. Maybe trying some cani cross and dog skijoring.

In the end it comes to decision I have to make about my career. Staying in current job (secure, relatively well paid, very reasonable hours, tad boring) or trying to take a leap to academia after I finish my PhD studies soon (lousy job security, very competitive, lousy pay, crazy hours if you want to be competitive, exciting.) My heart and brain are firmly in opposing corners for this.

And now I need to more or less decide before we start calling breeders who have exciting litters coming in near future on one of those breeds...

Scent of Cedar *

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I feel badly for you about the dog that is lost SuZir, but I loved reading the rest of your post ~ the information on search and rescue was especially interesting. I had not known you were pursuing your doctorate. Wishing well with that and with the upcoming work decision.

You sound great!



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Just a friendly "warning"... if you go the Lab route, be prepared to invest time daily for the rest of it's life. This is NOT a negative thing. Just be prepared.

I love Labs. Currently have Lab-cross rescues. Grew up with a Lab, too. Very friendly. Very pack-tied... as in, not a one-owner dog like, say, a collie; a Lab has a relationship with every member of the pack, and that relationship can be different with each person. But they DO love exercise and they DO love to work.

Of course, it's a Canadian breed, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But it's not hard to see why they are a very popular breed.


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The dog we just lost will be sorely missed. It feels like we lost some of our senses. He was an excellent guard. Nothing happened without him noticing and informing us about it. Though when he was young we had quite a few long talks about if I actually needed to be informed if a fly dared to trespass our property. And I never quite managed to convince him that bees are indeed welcomed visitors.

He was a true family dog. When we had him, we already had dogs; our last Rottweiler whom we took when kids were very young and who was most magnificent dog; especially great friend of Ache and always there for him when he got upset. She really seemed to not only notice when Ache needed someone in his corner but also unfailingly was there for him in her own calm and steady way. However she was bit too much on his a d Joy's side. When kids got old enough to be home alone and have friends over, she took it very seriously when someone tried to kill or do some serious harm.... err, when their little friends tried to take a toy from them because it actually was their turn to play with it. It was inconvenient and we had to be careful. So we wanted a dog that would take skirmishes among kids less seriously.

This dog was perfect in that too. He was much less partial referee and if the row broke out he tended to get middle of it and bark his heart out until thing got settled. Much better strategy, when also neighbour's kids should stay alive even if there is disagreement on if something was a goal or not or if there was an offside involved.

IC: Thanks for a warning. I don't plan to take a field trial lab if I'm not about invest serious time to doggish hobbies. We have had a lab before but he was a chocolate pet/show lab. Really nice and steady family dog but bit heavy for running and sporty activities and lacking stamina and liveliness to be a working dog. And very eager to get to every ditch or puddle of dirty water.

Now I want more sporty dog if I will decide to have just a pet. And lab for working/hunting lines if I will decide to commit more time for dogish hobbies.


So sorry about the loss of your beloved dog, Su. We as people could take a lesson from them on 'How To Be A Best Friend'. Sorry I am unable to give any advice on breed to get. I am very biased... I love them all! :p


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Have you considered an elkhound? Smaller so carrying is easy. Great for protection. But I'm partial also.


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Elkhounds around here are bred purely for hunting and not even sold those who are not looking a hunting dog. While hubby does hunt he is not enthusiast enough to want a hunting dog, especially when he can borrow in-laws dogs. Hubby's dad has also an elkhound. Great dog but when he gets out of leash he will start looking for moose straight away and after finding them will stay with them even over a day barking them. Great helper for moose hunting, not so much for finding people.

The dog we lost was very similar to elkhounds in many ways expect not being a hunting dog but originally a reindeer hearder instead. But the temperament, size and even the looks are very similar.

And in the end the choice of breed comes into what type of dog I will end up looking for. Family pet and running companion or working dog. Our remaining dog is former, pet and running buddy, alaskan malamute and we do some cani cross and skijording with him. But he too is already eight years old and while that is not old the first signs of him getting older can be seen already.


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SuZir, I too am very sorry you lost your beloved family member. How wonderful that he was so loved by you and your family his entire life. And how great he died in battle. He never knew he was not victorious. In our hearts, he indeed was.

Your post is so exciting and I for one so enjoyed learning more about your life and your goals. How full and meaningful your life seems. And how deliberately chosen and savored.

As to your next dog. I have met few dogs I do not like, and love many, many breeds. I know you have narrowed down your choices, between Lab, Rottweiler and Rhodesian Ridgeback, and you will decide based upon the direction you want to go and your priorities.

While I have lived with Labs and adore them, they have never been my own dog. I met a Chocolate Lab on a walk nearly 10 years ago, and spoke to him and his family for less than 3 minutes and I remember him still. These animals are pure happiness, love and energy.

That said, our choice over and over again are Boxers. Dolly is with us now. Before her were Jack and Molly. I think they share a heritage with Rottweilers, but may be more tender, accepting of strangers, and flexible. These are not serious dogs. They love to play.

As you already most likely know they too are a working breed. I doubt if they do search and rescue, as I have never seen my Boxer use her nose to solve a problem. They are good with children, especially the females but your children are not so young anymore where that makes a difference. A boxer is a working dog, though, and a family friend and running buddy.

Be sure and let us know your choice and let us share with you your first meeting and homecoming.

Again, I am sorry for your loss, SuZir. But thank you for sharing it with us.


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Our remaining dog is former, pet and running buddy, alaskan malamute and we do some cani cross and skijording with him

Major ENVY!
Wow would that ever be fun.

No mountains where we are. Not even HILLS, really. But those sled dogs would be excellent for skijording!


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Copa: Boxer would be a great fit character wise but there are two problems. First is health; spondylosis is scary typical and heart problems and cancer is also quite common. And some have breathing issues due to short snout. Other problem is that I'm not an eager cleaner and still prefer not to have snot on my roof.

But all the boxers I have known have been really great dogs.


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Of the problems you cite SuZir only the cancer would scare me. My boxer now, Dolly, got cancer at 5 years, one and a half years ago. She seems to have recovered. I hope. The breathing problems are much exaggerated, I think.

That said, they are so wonderful and delightful to live with and so without behavioral problems, I for one think they are worth it.

Another favorite breed, but 20 times worse in health and major care issues is Great Dane. They are wonderful.

SuZir what is your latest thinking about the choice?


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We have not been calling to breeders yet. I have decided a day, in September, when I will have a decision made. I either give an academia a try (of course those positions I'm looking for are very competitive so far from guaranteed success), or will continue in current job at least for some. I'm still undecided what I really want.

Great Danes are charming characters too. But too short average lifespan, too sick and also too big. Not that Rottweiler or ridgeback would be small, but great danes are huge. And we keep our dogs with us a lot. And we already have our malamute. Car trips, cabin, certainly not our boats are made for two really big dogs.


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Rotties can be wonderful dogs. A friend of mine had one, but sadly he got aggressive and, being so large and strong and she had young girls, they gave him to someone to train as a guard dog. He was of a champion bloodline and they'd actually planned on breeding him but had him neutered hoping that would calm his temper. It was really sad. He was a great dog. She also had an English mastiff. He was a great guy too.

One of my favorites is a lab. They're such good family dogs.

I'm so sorry for your loss. It hurts so much to lose your furry family members.