So, I’ve officially experienced both kinds of puppy love – my 14-year-old “wow, I will never break up with this wonderful boyfriend and if I do I’ll never get over it because we are meant to be 4 ever” love (spoiler – he was not that great & I did get over it) and now, REAL puppy love with our new dog Bear. I’m going to focus on the second kind for this post!
Warning: this post contains a LOT of absolutely adorable puppy pictures.
A lot of thought went into getting a dog. When my husband Zach & I first got married, we adopted a dog a week after our honeymoon. We were married and the next logical step in our heads was to start a “family”. He was a really cute 1-year-old german shorthaired pointer and we named him Moose (we realized after naming Bear that we apparently like to take an animal and name it after a different animal??). Moose was super sweet & friendly but we realized we made a big decision in a very short amount of time and after a few emotional conversations & long days, he ended up going to live with a family friend. As crazy as the world is, the family friend moved and last week my in-laws adopted him, so he is back in the family! However, Moose taught us that while we were grown ups, we were not ready for the responsibility of a dog, no matter how badly we wanted one.
Moose in 2013
When we moved to Chicago almost 3 years later, getting a dog felt further away than ever. We had no time & no space in our apartment, and we couldn’t come to an agreement on the size of dog we wanted. Though we both love big dogs, Zach wanted a smaller dog since we were in an apartment, and I was very stubborn in my ways of wanting a big, cuddly pup. So we were at a stand still, and that was okay.
A few weeks after I graduated nursing school, Zach randomly asked if I wanted to get a dog. We were going through a transition between school & work and I was going to be at home a lot studying for my NCLEX exam, and nursing has a pretty nice schedule where I’d be home quite a few days a week. We decided to sit down & research the price of different breeds, what resources were around us that we could utilize, and how it would change our day-to-day lives. Let me tell you – no amount of research will show you just how different your day-to-day life will be.
We went to many shelters and saw SO many adorable dogs, but never found “the one”. In addition, one of my dreams has always been to own a Bernese Mountain Dog, but they come with a very hefty price tag that we weren’t willing to pay. The search kind of died down, and though it was a bummer, we were at peace with the fact that nothing was working out at that point. However, one Friday afternoon in January, Zach sent me a listing for this sweet little 8 week Bernese Mountain Dog/Blue Heeler mix puppy and I could feel in my gut that he was meant to be ours. His owner had named him “Pippin” which was my nickname for my childhood dog that had unfortunately died a few years earlier, and I felt some kind of sign that he had picked this pup for us. I went to a friend’s house that night and showed her this little puppy and told her that I KNEW he was going to be ours.
We met him the next day & immediately fell in love and reserved him. He was one of 13 dogs in his litter and was the last to be selected (which we still have no reason why – we may be biased but he is LITERALLY THE BEST). We picked him up the day after I took my NCLEX but went to visit him multiple times because I was afraid he would forget who we were (I was already a crazy dog mom!).
Our first time meeting Bear! He was soooo little. ❤
Pictures from one of our times visiting him before we took him home.
He has been a LOT of work. He peed on the floor 4 times in the first 30 minutes we got him. I’m pretty sure Zach & I looked at each other with immense regret during those 30 minutes, but we have only looked at each other with immense gratitude since. He has brought SO much joy, laughter, and surprise into our lives. He is cuddly, adventurous, extremely stubborn, and full of personality – just how we like. However, he is also expensive – I am pretty sure dogs need as many vaccines as children and for some reason I can’t put him on my insurance plan 😉 – and very time consuming. He is young and learning so much and constantly needs to be touched or talked to or even looked at to feel comfortable.
Bear’s First Day Home!
Thankfully, a lot has changed since his first day at home. I am not ashamed to share that I have actually cried while reflecting on the last 9 weeks we’ve had him – he has doubled in weight but probably tripled in stature. He loves going to dog daycare & playing with others at the dog park. We are still working on the whole “don’t choke yourself while on the leash” part but have a harness now so that we don’t look like bad parents when he’s literally choking himself when he sees another dog on the street. I don’t know how it is with human babies, but I feel like he is growing up in front of me & I can’t get enough!
Some random pictures because why not? 🙂
I think it is important to pursue the things that make you happy, but don’t force anything. I am thankful for our experience with Moose because it taught us to wait and really critically think before putting ourselves in that situation again. He was definitely worth the wait & was without a doubt meant to be our dog. ❤