I can't say I was totally blindsided. I told you a few months ago that this might, might, might occur. But now it is real. It has happened. We are once again, now and forevermore, dog people.
When we left that cat shelter this past summer, our thoughts of adopting an older cat dashed, Barb had plenty of time to ruminate on the long drive home. By the time we had pulled into our driveway, it was a fait accompli. We were going to be getting a dog, a dog with a clean mental slate (unlike Milo,) a dog we could train (unlike Murphy,) a dog who would have it in him or her to become a therapy dog (unlike Max.)
The research began. This consisted of talking to every dog owner in the neighborhood, social-distance apart, on our ritual walks through the neighborhood. And since we live in a very dog heavy neighborhood, those walks seemed to last for hours. But eventually, we decided on a breed and a breeder, there was a litter chosen, and a date for puppy pick-up determined.
But...there was a bump in the road. Dog Trainer B, who we also found via a neighborhood recommendation, was not particularly encouraging about breeder A's dogs, suggesting we investigate Breeders C, D, or E. Of course, we did, though anticipating that with social isolation dog demands at a peak, no other pup would be available until the spring.
Miracle of miracles! A pooch belonging to Breeder D, down I-90 out near Rockford, had just delivered a litter of ELEVEN puppies. And two were still available. Faster than you can say "Woof" Barb had her credit card out and a deposit was made. Dog days were dawning.
Ten days ago we had the opportunity to choose our newest family member in a video call--and after a bit of confusion about the gender of the two options available to us, we had our boy.
This Saturday we hit the road, arriving outside a barn precisely at 11 a.m. Two other families joined us and a pick-up truck pulled in with three chocolate-colored Labradoodles. They were practically identical-- except for one with a curly, white-tipped tail and a white blaze on his chest.
And that, dear friends, is Cooper. He has a loving personality, seems to adore kids, and has evoked curiosity in the kitten. He goes to Breeder Boot Camp in December for basic training (heel and sit, not drop and give me twenty basic training.) The rest is up to us.
Will we have the first Raff therapy dog? Or just another lovable ball of fur? I promise to let you know. And let me know about your doggie success stories. We are there for each other.
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