Those who know our family well are very aware of our fierce love for our animals. Growing up, I was raised in a home with shelties (and a few birds throughout the years), but none as special as Lucky. I was a second grader when we chose him... or rather, he chose me. Six weeks old and climbing into my winter coat the minute he spotted me for the first time. We had gone to the breeder one week night just to scope things out -- my dad hadn't even brought along his checkbook that night -- and we came home with the most special of puppies. A line down the middle of his face with one tipped ear and one pointed. An all black tail with a white tip at the end. He was our best buddy, a wonderful companion to grow up with, and a hard one to say goodbye to in the end. He was with us until two weeks after our wedding, having lived a long life and giving us lots of joy over the years. I love the pictures I have of him lying next to a newborn Jaden on the floor, the picture of him in my elementary school bed waiting for me to wake up in the mornings, the memories of him running around our in-ground pool in the spring time - trying to chase the ducks that always used to use our pool as their own private lake. Whenever my dad would leave for work in the morning, Lucky stood at the front window to watch him drive away. And his instincts always told him when it was that time of day for my dad to be coming home, as he would sit waiting by the garage door from 4:30 in the afternoon until my dad walked through the door a half an hour later.
When Lucky passed away almost six years ago, my parents decided they needed a break - maybe a permanent one - from what had been a lifetime of caring for dogs. They wanted the freedom to take vacations without worrying about a pet, and my dad especially didn't want to have to endure another goodbye quite like that one. But truth be told, their house has never felt quite right without a dog in it, and I can honestly say that after all this time, I still sometimes have found myself looking at their front window when pulling out of the driveway... half expecting to see Lucky staring back at me. Old habits die hard.
All of this is why I about fell out of my seat in the McLeod Center before a basketball game last November when my mom whispered in my ear that she wanted to get my dad a dog for Christmas. He had been casually looking for breeders again but hadn't gotten serious about it because my mom had been against it. With his retirement last summer, my mom felt it was the right time again. My dad should have a buddy to take his long walks with in the mornings, and their fenced in yard is the perfect spot to watch their grandsons play fetch with a puppy again. On Christmas morning, my dad opened a card from my mom with a picture of a random puppy on it and a little hand written note. My dad's reaction was literally priceless -- something I will never forget -- and since that morning we have been waiting to bring little Dasher into their home. My dad immediately began a serious search for the right breeder, found a wonderful lady three hours away, waited until late January for the litter to be born, and then took the drive a month ago to pick out which puppy would be theirs. And just as Lucky chose me that February night all those years ago, Dasher chose my dad by climbing right into his lap the moment they arrived. When my dad was holding him and asked him, "Would you like to come home with me?" little puppy Dasher responded immediately by licking him on the face.
And his markings are just like Lucky's were. A line down the middle of his nose. Four white paws. A white collar. We are so excited.
Meet Dasher. The loveable Christmas puppy that LOVES to play and is cute as can be. Our boys are on cloud 9. My dad is acting as though he just brought a new baby home for the first time. And I envision a happy spring and summer full of Frisbee play in the backyard and dog walks to the nearby park. There is nothing like watching kids and puppies play together.
The boys and I were waiting at my parents' house last night to meet him when they got home. They got him out of the car and after letting him go potty, I called out his name and he immediately ran to me, let me pick him up, and tried giving me lots of kisses. We warned the kids that he might be nervous his first night and to not overwhelm him, but he jumped right into the mix of our family from the first minute he arrived, as if he was hand picked for us after all.
Serious picture overload... like bringing a new baby home. ;)
He is a quiet little guy. And so it was so very funny when at one point I had to sternly put Brandon in a timeout and when I came back to the kitchen, Dasher stood at my feet and just started barking at me in the smallest of puppy parks! It was as if he was mad at me for being mad at Brandon and he was letting me know it. Already protective of his boys. ;)
Trying to learn how to navigate the stairs...
The crazy thing is he's even cuter and smaller in person.
There's a good weekend ahead... a new puppy to play with and gorgeous weather to do it in.