The decision to get a dog came as a surprise to some folks. Not so much to others. Poor Goofy Girl has been hearing the Doggie Debate for a good 7 years now.
In 2002 I bought a house and immediately started the Doggie Debate. The following year, X and I got married and continued the debate by adding in his favorite breed (Labradors. Not really a breed for me.) In short, this decision did not come lightly or quickly. But now? We are in a good place in life to have a dog - our kids are more independent and not a danger to the dog. They are learning to not keep their frockin' toys all over the place (seriously, the floor has not been this clean in years.) And with X and I both working from home these days, it is helping with the whole housebreaking thing (we are using the crate-training method.)
In the end, I wanted one of the breeds with which I lived the longest, breeds that I knew the best and with which I was most comfortable - a Cairn terrier or a husky. My two childhood dogs that I bonded with the most were this Cairn and the husky. End of story. And for our lifestyle, a terrier really fit the bill (although, I did not want one of those yappy, snippy, types of terriers who have "small-dog syndrome", something I will be working to avoid at all costs.) And while I did not get my first choice, a Cairn Terrier, getting a West Highland Terrier was good enough since Westies are essentially a white Cairn terrier (FYI Flash: A Cairn terrier is a "Toto dog", the same dog in the Wizard of Oz movie, although NOT the books.)
And Lucy is everything we wanted - spunky, hardy, scrappy, and very snuggly. She loves the kids and in fact, gets restless when they are asleep and she needs to play, dammit.
I was going to write a long, defensive post about why we chose not get a rescue dog (check out this irreverent take on Slate regarding the rescue movement. It's entertaining enough. "Canine-11 (Why Americans are obsessed with "resucing" dogs)" ) Then, I decided to go the Eh, Whatever routes. Seriously. That is lovely that other folks do the rescue dog thing. But it did not work out for us. And I knew exactly what sort of dog I wanted, which significantly narrowed the Rescue Dog Playing Field. Growing up, my family had all sorts of dogs - purebreed, half-breeds, plain old mutts. Terriers, shepherds, a poolie, samoyeds, huskies, and even pitt-bulls. We got them in all sorts of manners - shelters, breeders, friends, side of the road and even at an Easter egg hunt.
I did visit our animal shelter here a few times and simply did not see a dog that I wanted. I knew what I wanted and when we saw Lucy, I knew she was the right fit for our family. And while, yes, we did pay for her, we did not pay a much more than if we had gotten a dog from a shelter. No, she is not some fancy show dog and we love her unapologetically.
She was worth every penny.