It’s Hunting Season in the Claussen household. No, we aren’t trekking through the forest and fields tracking deer, pheasant, or turkey.  And no, you won’t find us sitting patiently in our hunting blinds waiting for ducks. You may, however, find us scouring through dozens of ads and Humane Society posts and visiting countless shelters and rescue leagues… searching for the perfect family dog. We’ve continued on this hunt for almost a year now. I admit, I’m beginning to feel like “man’s best friend” will never be found! This process is exhausting.

taracat1In March of 2012, our family was blessed beyond measure with a beautiful cat, Sophie. She is a Seal Point Ragdoll with the most gorgeous, bright blue eyes. We adopted her from an old high school friend who had acquired an allergy to felines. Even better than her beauty though, is her extremely wonderful temperament. Let me tell you, she is THE BEST cat I have EVER owned!!! She is amazing with our 3 crazy kiddos. They pick her up and carry her around like a baby doll and she just goes along for the ride.  She has never, EVER shown any sign of aggression whatsoever.  (I’m not even sure she knows how to hiss or claw). She is also quite the lap-cat.

taracat3Sophie has only had one accident in the 15 months that she’s been a part of this family… she took a #2 right outside the front of her litter box, because apparently she didn’t approve of the new kind of litter my husband bought! (Overshare… sorry!) Anyways, if I had to make any complaint about this beautiful creature at all… it would be that maybe sometimes she is too loving. She really enjoys “kneading biscuits” on our bellies when we’re trying to lie down for bed. Alas, it is tolerable! =)

Here is our problem: since we have such an amazing kitty, my standards are quite high in our search for the perfect canine companion.  My husband and I are very fond of large breed dogs. It MUST be good with kids and cats, and can’t be extremely rambunctious. (We tried our hand at Pit-puppy ownership last year and it was just too high-strung and boisterous for our young family). We learned that we don’t mesh well with a pet that tends to be dominant or has any sort of temperament/aggression issues. We’d also like for him/her to be house-trained, which kind of eliminates puppies from our search. Am I being too picky? Maybe. But I also know that this animal will be a part of our lives for years and years to come. He/she will be our children’s best friend, my running buddy, our security on a dark night, my husband’s second companion, and most importantly, a member of our family (just like our beautiful Sophie)!

taracat4We’ve been so close, a handful of times, to bringing home a too-good-to-be-true dog, (foreshadowing at it’s finest) only to have the rug ripped out from under our feet. For instance, we were inches away from our approved adoption of a very handsome and kid-friendly Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, when at the last minute (an extremely bitter-sweet moment), his past owners came to rescue him from the shelter. The letdowns continued: we found 2 different loving Golden Retrievers around the area through sale ads. Unfortunately, neither panned out and our hearts were crushed a little more. We have found some wonderful pets online and in stores, but they are just too far out of our price range. (Don’t get me wrong, we’re willing to pay an adoption fee, re-homing fee, and other pet-fees, but $1,000 is too stiff for this small-town family. I grew up with free “mutts” and they were some of the most loving and loyal dogs in our neighborhood).

I do trust that someday, hopefully sooner-than-later, God will lead the perfect family dog straight to our font door (not literally, although that would be awesome!) Until then, we will continue on our hunt, speaking with many wonderful people who are willing to let go of their beloved companion, have play-dates with more beautiful doggies in our area, and enjoy the good company of our wonderful Sophie-cat to tide us over.

Now tell me, what has been the best canine mate for your family? Did you search ads for the perfect dog or did one jump out at you with those adorable sad puppy eyes at the shelter? What breeds do you recommend for a family with young children? How much were you willing to pay for your companion (if any money at all)? Do you have any suggestions as to where to find a large breed dog in the IC area?

And lastly, another sweet picture of our wonderful Sophie! Now please, help us find her a dog friend! taracat5

Stay-at-home-Momma to 3 rambunctious, but adorable kiddos, and wife to her talented husband, Gabriel, Tara spends most of her days in a hectically blessed world! Her two boys, Simeon (6) and Solomon (5), and sassy 3-year-old daughter, Surion, help keep her on her toes. She is proud to call Kalona her home and settled in quickly after moving from central Iowa a few years ago to launch a ministry in the IC area. Her family is an avid supporter of all the local “Hawks”… Go Black and Gold! She claims that exercise is not her strong suit, but continues to condition her body (mostly through running) in hopes that one day, it will come naturally to her. She enjoys being creative through crafting and DIY projects, and admits that her body is a canvas and artistic outlet with her many tattoos and piercings. Tara has a special place in her heart for “finding a good deal,” and can often be found scouring local thrift stores for all sorts of wonderful treasures! She is truly passionate about litter-removal and recycling and hopes her obsession will rub off on the munchkins so they can lead a “clean” life in their future. Lastly, and most importantly, Tara has a heart for the Lord and is thrilled to be involved with her community MOPs group. =)


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