Monday, April 2, 2012

The day we added fur to the family

WOW. That's kind of how I sum up the previous week. Or maybe 10 days. WOW.

Last Friday night, the kids went to bed and could hardly contain themselves. Finally, our paper chain that had started with 53 links was down to 1. In the morning, we'd tear it off. It helped that we went to some friends' that night for a barbecue. Did I mention that Colorado has been enjoying some amazing weather? For the past 2-3 weeks, it has been 60s and 70s (80s over the weekend; 40s today; back to 60s and 70s on Wednesday) so we took advantage for some eating and playing outside. 

As Saturday dawned, there was a heightened level of excitement. Joel took Donovan to football practice while I did some last minute cleaning. I called the airlines because when the breeder had checked in, the computers were down and everything had to be done "manually" and somehow they kind of lost the dog. I mean, not really lost him, just didn't really know where he was. No pressure. As the kids came in for lunch and we talked about how I'd be leaving at 1pm to drive to the airport with the girls (Donovan had a soccer game), my contact at the Denver cargo facility called back. I couldn't tell if her tone was one of excitement or apology, but when she said, "Uh, Sarah? Your dog just came in. He's here!"

If she said anything after that, I couldn't tell you what it was because Ainsleigh, Donovan and Gemma began jumping and clapping and SCREAMING. So I just said, "We'll get there as fast as we can!" and hung up. I made a quick phone call to my friend Amy who had agreed to come along. I figured since I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, I'd need an extra adult. Amy has a dog and on our ride out to the airport, I learned that her first job ever was cleaning dogs to be ready for adoption at a shelter. PERFECT! Especially since he totally dropped a deuce in his crate. 

Every time Gemma saw one of those airport signs indicating we were headed in that direction, she squealed and clapped and screamed, "We're getting my puppy!" And then when we walked to the desk to  pick him up, the woman behind the desk drawled, "Well you must be Sarah." What, aren't all people who come to the cargo facility giggling and clapping and hyperventilating? As I signed the paperwork, Amy picked Gemma up so she and Ainsleigh could peer through the security door at the kennel beyond. More screaming. The small hallway seemed to amplify Gemma's declarations of, "That's my puppy! THAT'S MYYYYYY PUPPYYYYYY!!!!" 

And then seconds later the partially-amused desk lady brought out the crate. I had the brief thought, "What do I do? Can I let him out? Oh wait...I'm in charge. I can do whatever I want!" (this is often the same train of thought I follow with my own children) So I knelt down and opened the door and our family changed forever. Out came this tail-wagging exuberant ball of fluff. The next few minutes were a blur as we laughed and cleaned him up and got a collar on him and laughed some more and let him outside. Amy was amazing and wonderful and took pictures and declared him the cutest puppy ever. He's definitely the cutest puppy I've ever owned. Also, he's the first. But still. Only the best for me.

He stood on Ainsleigh's lap for 20 minutes on the way home, and then slept on her lap for the other 25. We arrived home to a bouncing Donovan and the next hour or two contained more giggles and squeals than our previous 3 Christmases combined. It was funny to watch the puppy instantly gravitate to Joel, as if to say, "I'm surrounded by amateurs, but I sense you know what's what around here."

We still hadn't decided on a name. We were split, 2-2, so we agreed to let Joel pick. He said he needed to be around him for a day before he could tell, and promised Sunday morning he'd make "a proclamation." We anticipated that the puppy would cry for the first night, and sure enough, he did! For the first 15 minutes or so, Joel and I just giggled. It sounded so...weird. So un-animal. I slept with ear plugs and Joel slept with a pillow over his head and we both got up in the night to let him out. 

In the morning, Joel came downstairs and, with hand held high, prophetically announced, "I hereby proclaim his name shall be Albus Percival Dumbledore." So there you have it: Albus.

The second night, he only cried about a quarter of the night. The third night, about 15 minutes. Since then, he's maybe whimpered a little when we put him in the kennel, but he sleeps until 6:30am and come barreling out ready for a full day of fun. The breeder kind of laughed at me when I asked how far he could walk as a puppy. "Initially it will be an accomplishment just to et to the end of the driveway." Oh. But each day he walks a little farther on the leash. We're up to a mile or so at a time. He tries to run a bit of it. And as we round the corner to our house, he picks up the pace as if giving that last push to "git 'er done."

I'm also amazed at just how many people have dogs. I used to joke that we were among the last people to get a dog, but since having Albus, I hear people talking about their dogs and I'm responding, "Wait, you have a dog? And YOU have a dog?!" I'm one of those people now. I'm in a new club. All these dog owners talk to me the way we all talk to new mothers. It's kind of awesome. And when people say he's a good-looking dog, I feel like that's some sort of reflection on me. As if I had something to do with it.

That first night after getting Albus, as I tucked Donovan into bed, he marveled, "You did so good at picking out the best dog, Mom. Today is the greatest day of my life." It was a pretty fantastic day. And we've had a fabulous spring break enjoying our newest family member. It's amazing how much he's grown in just one week. His face and ears will eventually go entirely ginger (obviously a pre-requisite for being in our family), with his body retaining the black/white with a touch of ginger. I like the white tip on his tail.

Thank you, Amy and Dustin, for holding my hand through this whole process. Thank you for giving us exactly what we've been looking for. Welcome to the family, Albus.


NancyO said...

Really cute! The Hill family is now complete!

laura said...

Albuuuuuus! Can't wait to meet the little dude.

The Johnson Family of Colorado said...

Paul and I looked at these pictures and we both crumbled. He is darling...seriously picture worthy! Good job my friend. If you are going to choose your newest family member may he be WFT. :) (and no that is not profanity) ;)

dlt said...

This is one cute dog. I smiled through your whole post because I know how much fun you're having with him.