What is it about dogs that we think anything they do is adorable? When my husband and I first started dating I swore I would never have a smelly, hairy, dirty dog. Guess what? Her name is Summer and she's been part of our family for 12 years now. She was my first baby and is still my best option for a cuddle when my daughter refuses. (If you follow my tweets you'll know that happens frequently.)
It didn't take much, in fact, to convince me to get a dog. Choosing one, on the other hand, was epic. It went far beyond a debate over big versus small. We had a million criteria... good with children (in case we someday had one); cute but not prissy; smart; friendly; not a digger; no high pitched bark... the list went on and on. Eventually we landed on the breed of Brittany. We met a breeder (and her dogs) in souther Oregon and got on the waitlist. It was just a matter of a few months. We even picked out the name, Summer. How cute, we thought, to be able to yell.... Come on Summer; Hurry up... in the middle of a cold, wet Oregon winter.
Then we got an opportunity to move to England and our plans for a dog went on hold. Two years later, having returned to the US we put ourselves back on the waitlist and had the eight week old puppy flown from Oregon out to the East coast where we were then living.
I'll never forget driving down to Newark airport to pick up Summer. It was pre-9/11 and we were allowed to go all the way to the gate to see her unloaded off the luggage section of the plane. There was the container with a tiny little puppy inside. She was obviously barking her head off. I fell in love. I couldn't wait to smell her puppy breath and pet her soft fur.
90 million walks, 1,000's of dollars in vet bills and half a life of getting up in the middle of the night to clean up her barf after eating something bad and I am still in love. Her breath.... not so sweet anymore. Thankfully she gets a few walks a week now, instead of two a day. She still can't understand why this new human came into the house and took over her position of top dog. Still... as I think about the many things I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, I can't help but give an extra special thanks for the blessing of my dog.
That said.... I know she's terribly cute; but unless you want to come over and clean up her barf..... pelase don't let her eat the Turkey.... or the napkin.