The kids have wanted a dog since our Sophie died, but Jim and I were not even close to ready. Then there was another baby and a few moves and it was not even an option. They kept asking and we kept saying when they were older and could really help with the dog. Now we are settled and the kids spend a fair amount of time with Koda and Khyah, my mom and step-dad's dogs, and they love helping with them.* They feed them and take them for walks and even help with backyard clean-up.
We decided to get a dog, but said we'd get one in the fall after I'd trained for and run my first marathon, which will include another road trip to MN. Then Jim and I got antsy and thought about it some more and decided that our schedules are a lot more flexible in the summer so we'd rather do it now. Plus, puppies are really cute and if you look at pictures you will need one.
*Now, we know the kids will not be fully responsible for Bear Bear. We'll be up with him at night and potty training and all of that fun stuff, but they can help with the feeding, watering, walking, and clean up.*
Audrey and Elliot have been the most vocal proponents for getting a puppy so we decided to surprise them for their June birthdays. Jim and I started looking at our local puppy adoption center's website and found two pups from a litter that we wanted to meet. We filled out the application for two little girl puppies. Our requirements were puppy, female, medium sized, meaning 30-50 pounds. We know a puppy is more work, but we'd rather start with a clean slate than get an older dog with unknown issues, especially since I have four kids home all day with the pup.
We waited to hear back from someone about the dogs, but didn't hear anything. I called again and left another message, then they left a message with me, and on and on.
Then our next door neighbor came over to introduce herself on Wednesday. She apologized for how long it took her to come over to say hi, but said she'd been fostering some puppies since Mother's Day. I pointed right into her face and squealed/shouted, "Are you Spice and Splash's mom?" She said she was and I told her that we'd been trying to meet those puppies because we wanted to adopt one of them. The kids looked really confused and I realized that cat (dog?) was out of the bag. I had to quickly tell them that we were surprising them with a puppy in June instead of October so. . . . "SURPRISE!"
Then it got really noisy as they jumped and screamed and hugged. We put our shoes on and walked next door to meet the pups. Oh, the cuteness! We learned that Spice was already going to another home, but Splash was still available. Splash looks so much like our Sophie girl and has a very sweet demeanor.
But then there was Bear. Brown and fuzzy and calm as can be, falling asleep in Jim's arm almost the moment he held him close. The foster mom said she almost named him PJ because he slept so much when she first got him. He is more playful now, but still very sweet and relaxed. We tried to want Splash more and almost decided to go with her because she'll likely stay smaller and she's a girl. And she really was so, so sweet.
But there was Bear.
We went home and talked and cast our votes and talked some more. The boys were in camp Bear and Audrey didn't care because PUPPY! Jim and I said Splash, but really only because she is a she. We loved Bear. So Jim brought Elliot to baseball and we said we'd think about it some more, but I called him and told him that I thought it had to be Bear. He agreed wholeheartedly. Well, actually, he said maybe we should get both and I, for maybe the third time in my whole life, was the voice of reason and said there was no way we could handle more than one puppy. Aren't you proud of me? Voice of reason? So out of character. It was like we swapped personalities for a second there.
So, our next door neighbor had our pup all along. Can you even believe it? Which is weird enough on its own, but gets almost creepy when you consider his name. A few months ago we started talking about dog names and Elliot wanted to name our dog Bear. He loves the story of Lewis and Clark's giant, adventurous dog, Seaman, and his interactions with American Indians on their travels. He especially loves the story of when a group of American Indians saw him and said, "Bear?" because they'd never seen such a large dog. Lewis tried to explain that it was a dog so the story goes, "Bear?" "Dog." "Bear?" "Dog." "Bear-dog?"
We said that Bear was a boy's name and we were getting a girl dog, but if she looked a lot like a bear we might name her that. We picked our girl name for the someday moment we'd get a girl dog.
So, our next door neighbor had our pup all along and he had the name that Elliot wanted to name our dog. Now, really. Can you even believe it?
Bear will be ready to come to his forever home on Sunday. We are beside ourselves with excitement. The good news is that we get to visit him when he's outside playing with his siblings. He will go to lots of baseball and softball games, get lots of cuddles, and require the grown ups of the house to give him some space since the kids will want to be all Bear all the time. His mom is a mutt and his dad is unknown, so Bear is a mystery pup. Bear, his mom, and siblings were strays when they were picked up and sent to a shelter to be euthanized. The local animal shelter swooped in on Mother's Day and found a foster home, our wonderful neighbor, for all of them so they could be adopted out. Hooray! Making it all the more crazy is that this is the first time she has fostered puppies so, really, Bear was meant to be ours and we're meant to be his. He'll likely be much bigger than we wanted, but then again, so far we're batting about 0% in getting what we thought we wanted, but we at about 1000% for getting just what we need.
And that, my friends, is the story of Bear. Can you even believe it???