We live a full life: three kids, three jobs, and a dog. Many nights we collapse into bed and (what seems like seconds later) it’s morning. Even with the help of our parents, it’s crazy. I’ve often wished I had a way to stop time so I could get more accomplished in a day. It makes absolutely no sense for us to add to the chaos and responsibility in our lives. So, what did we do last weekend? We brought home a puppy.
We already have a 12-year-old Shetland sheepdog named Sophie. She’s the best dog we could ask for, and yet there have been times over the years (particularly when caring for newborns) that I could barely handle caring for her. For a few weeks after our third child was born, Sophie went to live with my in-laws because I just couldn’t manage it all. Now that the kids are older, I find myself spending more time playing with Sophie and I’ve begun to realize how much I’ll miss her when she’s gone. After all, she was our first “baby.”
Jim’s always wanted another dog and I’ve always been the one holding out. Much like baby fever, the desire for a dog came out of nowhere. I found myself scanning Facebook pages of local animal rescue organizations and checking the newspaper for litters. I looked at so many dogs, but none of them were right for our family. I wanted a member of the sheepdog family, but something bigger than a Sheltie. I had hoped to find one to rescue but I couldn’t find any sheepdogs in my searching. We don’t have the yard for a border collie and I don’t have the patience for the hair of a full-sized collie. When a friend of mine showed me some pictures of Australian shepherd pups available near her house, I know I had found our breed.
Deciding whether or not to add a dog to our already chaotic lives was a daunting task. There were two pups left in the litter, so Jim and I decided to mull it over for a week. If there was still a pup left by the following weekend, we’d go meet her. If they sold during the week, we would consider it a sign and wait for the next litter. By Friday afternoon, there was still one pup left. On Saturday morning, our practical sides did their best to keep us from adding to the chaos, but in our hearts we already knew we were going to bring home a puppy. After a very long discussion, we called the breeder and packed the kids into the car.
As soon as the pup ran out of the barn to meet us, she began circling the kids and chasing 5yo. They fell to the ground and playfully wrestled and I could see on Jim’s face that this dog was coming home with us. We paid for her and got in the car to take her home. As we drove away, we began mulling over names. The kids threw out some names that were quickly crossed off the list. I began reading suggestions from the internet on my phone. Halfway home, Jim pulled the car into a Unimart parking lot and jumped out of the car to head inside. A few minutes later, he came out and jumped in the car yelling, “Shandy!” Of course, being an avid beer brewer and drinker, he had gone inside to find beer names. It was perfect.
Shandy has been with us for a week now and it’s been an adjustment. Because she’s so young, she requires constant supervision. Sophie is slowly adjusting to not being the only dog. The kids are getting pretty good at cleaning up the messes as we try to house-train her. Despite all the work she requires, I don’t think any of us has regretted adding Shandy to our family. It’s almost like she was the last of the litter because she was waiting for us to make up our minds.
Here’s to puppies and families and adding a little more craziness to our lives!