Thursday, May 8, 2008


The ad read, simply: Lab/Dalmation Puppies for Sale. It seems the litter was the result of letting their beloved 12 year old, Chocolate Lab-Dalmation mix have a little fling with their two year old female Yellow Lab.
Being relatively familiar with the mellow disposition, dim-bulb intellect, and easy charm of the Labrador Retriever, I read up on Dalmations, having heard that they're incredibly hyperactive energetic, smart and prone to kidney stones and deafness. I weighed the pros and cons of each breed and came to the conclusion that this particular blend of breeds could be a great mix: Athletic, smart, good natured, loyal and easy to train. (Stay tuned later for a cautionary tail about the pitfalls of amateur genetic engineering.) I think it was at that point, possibly swayed by my somewhat optimistic portrayal of the perfect mutt, (or maybe just exhausted by the strain of trying to hold off the inevitable) Dave realized he had unwittingly become a passenger on the express train to the puppy farm. He agreed that there was no harm in just taking a look.

Their names were Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead, and last, but not least: Ethel. A pile of cute, glossy, sleek and squirmy puppy love. Six fat, shiny little black olives climbing all over us and each other for attention. Needless to say, we were instantly smitten.

Even Dave, firmly uncommitted to the idea of a new puppy, melted when Archie (soon to be rechristened Cooper) climbed into his lap for a snuggle.
After checking out all the puppies, and getting to know them and their parents a bit, we agreed that Archie was the one for us. And then the unthinkable happened.
To be continued...  

How It All Began

I've heard there's a name for the sort of condition I had. I think it's called "Empty Nest Syndrome", or something along those lines. Whatever it's called, I was apparently driving my two grown children nuts. In early 2004 they were both living away from home, which we were adjusting to quite nicely, thank you (or so I thought)...and then the whole charade came crashing down.
Within a three month period, I lost my job, Dave lost his, and Rosie, our sweet but paralyzed eleven year old Australian Shepherd mix passed away. In short, I lost my marbles for a bit. Don't get me wrong-it was thrilling to be without all that responsibility for the first time in over twenty years, but you can't just hang up those motherhood urges at the drop of a hat. Not that I didn't give it a shot. We took a long road trip by ourselves and enjoyed the freedom of not making plans or reservations, and pretty much wallowed in being childless and carefree again. It was when we got home that I began to notice how quiet it was, just Dave and I and the two cats. He was enjoying this newly found quiet, this relative lack of responsibilities. I missed the kids. Missed the dog. Missed the chaos.
So, after a few too many long, drawn-out phone conversations with my kids about their future, they started lobbying Dave to let Mom get a puppy, for God's sake! It took awhile. I said I would just look. We went to the Humane Society a couple of times, and debated the merits of girl dogs vs boy dogs. We've had two girl dogs, and Dave thought it was time to try for a boy. I agreed, just needing a motherhood fix. And then I started looking on craigslist.