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I have always been an animal lover.


From the time I was inside of my mother’s tummy, there were dogs and cats around. I remember the first three cats we had as I grew up, along with our dogs Bootsie and Bob. I always played with them, pushing them around in baby doll strollers, spending hours outside playing fetch, and laughing as we chased them when they ran away.


My husband and I have lived together for the majority of our seven years together. We have inhabited basements, futon couches, and finally with a house of our own. As soon as we moved the last box in, I knew that it was time to initiate the conversation of finally having a pet of our own. No fish. No lizards. No hamsters. I was ready for the responsibility of a real live, breathing, kicking, barking, pooping puppy!


Of course, telling my hubby that I was ready for our puppy was the easy part. I had been on him to start looking at puppies with me since we married in July ’08, but he was always a little apprehensive, saying that we needed to find the perfect dog for our family. Unlike my husband, I am impulsive and such an animal lover that every dog I passed was “the perfect dog for us.”


The weeks came and went and as we heard about numerous puppies that were being born and bred, I kept on thinking about the new addition to our family that I yearned for so badly. With little help from my husband, I ran ads on Craigslist, searched relentlessly on the Animal Protective League Web sites, and when the time came that I could finally drag him to the pound, we searched through the cages of homeless pets.


We found a beagle that we immediately loved. We were looking for a small dog, with no particular breed in mind and as soon as I saw its shy demeanor, I wanted to break him out of his shell. We played with him for at least an hour, toying with the idea of bringing him home, but it didn’t happen. We left with everyone that came and not one more.


We waited another few months. I was desperate. I was obsessed with finding our new family member and as every day went by, I grew less optimistic. One day in April we received a call from my sister in law, telling us that her brother in law had a pregnant Chow and asked if we wanted to look at them after they were born and see if we wanted to take one home with us. We immediately said yes and as time went on, it was always in the back of my mind, but I continued my search on the Internet, in the newspaper, and by word of mouth.


In May, we received a call that we were able to go out to see the pups. We were told they weren’t able to be weaned from the mother yet, but after six weeks, we could take one home if we decided. I was apprehensive. I would rather rescue a dog than pay for one. I was nervous. Are we really ready to take on this responsibility? I was scared. I wonder how we will pay for all the shots and food.


We made our fifteen minute trip to his farm to the see the pups and I immediately fell in love with the little poof balls. There were five in all and as I held them each and fell in love each time, I was torn as to which one would be ours. My husband is a very manly man, but as I saw his heart melt when he picked up the all white polar bear puppy, I knew it was a match made in heaven. I still have the first picture of that little white pup, eyes closed with tiny ears and the purest white I have ever seen.


Weeks went by until we heard from him again to tell us that our baby was ready to be brought home. We were unsure whether she was a male or female at that point, but I was completely convinced that she was a boy and her name would be Dewey (from Malcolm in the Middle, corny … I know). So instead of calling her anything, we called her pup and babe and little dog.


The first night was rough. It was worse than rough. It was like bringing home a newborn baby. She cried all night long. I spent every hour on the floor in the kitchen, wrapped up in my comforter and laying next to her on the floor. She refused to sleep in her cage (with deluxe brown faux fur blankie!) but snuggled close to me each time I came out. A week of this horrible torture made me want to throw her out! I was ready to pop her cute little white butt in a box wrapped in a big red bow and leave her on someone’s door step! I finally got a small glimpse at parenthood and I hated every second of it!


Maggie is now six months old. I never thought we could make it to the day that she would sleep through the night, let alone be able to stay out of her cage without chewing up a six pack of paper towels (every freaking roll!). I can’t imagine my life without her now. Those three a.m. snoozes on the cold kitchen floor with a crying puppy bonded us in a way she will never experience with her father. (I caps that because I wonder how men always get out of doing the hard work!) And now I try to think about what life was like without her and it is completely impossible. I thank God every day for such a small blessing that I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do.

So to all you dog owners out there, besides giving you the advice of watching Marley and Me to remind you of when your dog was a puppy, I have to say that I am one of you now. I am a proud mommy of a dog!

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