My husband has wanted out loud to get second dog at least 20 times in the past two years.
He's always rooting for his favorite breeds: small, with flat faces and lots of wrinkles.
My stance has never wavered. We are not getting another dog.
I always had all the sensible answers to cool off his new-dog longings.
But the truth was no secret with that giant "closed for business" sign on the front door since losing Nemo.
I didn't understand what the big difference was this time when my husband brought up the dog subject, again.
It took the whole process playing out for me to realize what happened. It was like a whirlwind.
In hindsight I know now that this last dog conversation wasn't about what my husband wanted. It was about what he knew was good for me. It was about him knowing that I'm not quite complete without a big dog, and recognizing that this was never going to happen unless someone lovingly started pushing me through the layers of hurt that were holding me back.
When I heard "great dane" and "mastiff" come out of his face, I knew this was some serious stuff.
My husband was not working alone, either. God's peaceful driving moved me to places (and breeder searches) I would not have sought being the stubborn girl who had already made a life decision about this big dog thing.
Apparently, the great dane and bullmastiff that I dreamed of were not the dogs for me. We can find breeders of just about any dog where we are located, and there was not a one reputable, safe-looking find that I could rest in within 150 miles for either breed.
How exactly we started looking for Boxers, I don't remember. We've both always loved them. I guess I just assumed because of their looks that they were somehow dangerous.
Once we looked into them though, all my uneducated assumptions crumbled.
A people dog
Devoted to family
Awesome with kids
Fearless and courageous
Good guard dogs
We were able to find multiple breeders in our area.
We did our credibility research, and once we were confident about our selection we were making a call and scheduling a visit!!! My husband was being very lovingly pushy by that point.
I was shaking my head, hitting my knees, warning my husband that I may pull the chord at any second if I felt like we needed to backpedal...
and through the immediate rushing waves of fear, the memories of past, the guilt of betrayal to my Nemo, the worry that I wasn't ready to love this dog the way I wanted to love my next dog... there was such a peace and a "yes" that moved my fingers and my mouth and my feet outside of my own will.
On the way to the breeder's I slowed the reeling of my flesh and fearfully turned to God. This is one of those things between us... you know those things you don't really want to look Him in the eye over?
I sought His face, and in mid-prayer received a beautiful confirmation.
When we walked into the kennel, I knew her at first sight.
Greg had explained to Zeek that we were getting a dog for our family, but it was going to be Mommy's dog for the choosing. They stood back and honored that promise as I picked her up and lost myself.
The breeder mama described her as the most submissive of the bunch, and the largest of her litter, born double in size to her brothers and sisters. She also told me how sweet and loving she is, and how she was the one she wanted to keep for herself.
She shared with us our puppy's Mom and Dad.
Duke Rebel Hooch:
the brown one
Sugar Diamond Christie:
I made sure my new baby said good-bye to her Mommy.
We paid and signed the AKC registration, received her medical records, took one last look at her adorable family, and walked with our dog to our Jeep.
I could hardly stand.
I held her and cried the first 10 minutes of our 40 minute ride home.
Most of the following 24 hours with my dog were spent on a roller coaster of emotion. I knew she'd unlocked the "dog love" door, I just was not ready for what it was going to feel like, walking in.
I'm going to doubt anyone in my life thought more of it than I was cuddling, dancing with, singing to and all around getting aquatinted with my new puppy.
But the way she reminds me... the bittersweet way the love crashes into the longing and the awe and joy collide with the pain of his memory.
The puppy's constant snuggling in, with sweet loyal attachment soothes my aching through God's healing, and the soft puppy kisses cushion the tenderness of my hurts.
And I notice how only God could have made this happen this way.
How He knew all along what I had no suspicion of.
What a blessed surprise!