Puppy love...

If you had told me ten years ago that a dog would be part of our family, I would have laughed... You obviously didn't know me very well!  Dogs jump on you, mess up your yard, and get hair everywhere!  Plus, they scared me.  I hadn't always felt that way, though.  I grew up loving dogs.  As a little girl, our dog, Georgie, would meet me halfway down the street after school every day.  She was so sweet.  I wanted to pet every dog I came across.  One day, though, when I was fifteen, I took the two little girls I was babysitting for a nice stroll around the block in Land Park.  Someone left their gate open, and all of sudden, this big labrador came barreling down the driveway towards us and bit the five-year-old right on the bottom!  I had a terrified little girl, and a screaming baby.  They both wanted to be held and I didn't know how I was going to get them home.  Luckily, a nice couple riding their bikes came along and helped us.  I had to call the parents home from their dinner, and listen to the poor girl cry hysterically as they disinfected her wound.  It was awful.  From that point on, I was afraid of dogs.  I would cross the street when I was out running and came across someone walking their dog, even if it was on a leash.  I always thought dogs could smell fear, and that made me more nervous.  I tried to be brave with friends' dogs, but I just couldn't get over my fear.

Then I had a daughter, and she basically wanted to BE a dog since the time she could walk.  Claire pretended to be a dog, hopping around with her tongue hanging out, yipping at us.  I stuck to my guns... I did not want a dog.  They made me nervous.  As the years passed, Claire's love of dogs grew stronger.  Our cousins gave her a book on dog breeds for her 4th birthday... And she studied it religiously, making us read it to her at bedtime over and over.  That book has gotten so much love over the years that its pages are falling out, and there are circles around all the dogs she liked (which is almost all of them).  I was able to stave her off for a while longer when her brother was born.  I told her maybe we'd get a dog when Sean was four, or when I was ready for another baby.  Claire collected dog stuffed animals like it was going out of style, read book after book with dogs as the main characters, played video games with puppies, and continued to bark.  I began to soften... We all started reading the dog breed book, figuring out which one would be the best fit for us.  We watched the dog competitions on TV.  After Sean turned four, I knew I couldn't put it off anymore.  Then it was a matter of what kind of dog to get.  Everyone had their own idea of the perfect dog.  Claire liked dalmations and poodles best, but she simply wanted a dog... any dog!  Once I got into the search, I found my favorite... beagles.  They're the right size, great with kids, healthy... and they have those adorable faces and ears!  It's good to be the mom... you get to sway the vote :)  But I still swore that any dog we got would be an outside dog.

We brought our puppy home when she was seven weeks old and about four and a half pounds.  She was named Sundae for the day we got her and because she had the colors of a hot fudge sundae (and Claire insisted we spell her name with an "ae" at the end).  It was definitely like having a new baby!  I wouldn't leave the house for more than an hour or so because I wanted to get back and make sure she was okay.  She had her little area in the kitchen, and I was afraid to let her in the backyard alone.  She ate bark that I worried she would choke on.  I thought it was the cutest thing when she tested our her baby howl.  I followed her around to see where her hound nose led her.  People laughed at me for being so over-protective.  I couldn't help it... she was my new baby.  And, sure enough, I love her like one.  She sleeps inside, and we tuck her in at night with her cozy blanket.  Mario is thoroughly amused that after all those years of disliking dogs, and my swearing up and down that the dog would not be in the house, Sundae is cuddled up on my lap every evening.

Sundae is two years old today.  She worked her way into my heart right from the beginning.   And, thanks to her, I got over my fear and learned to love dogs again :)

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