Her name is Piper. She has breathed new life into our household. Piddling on the rug- chewing leather flip flops-mauling the ferns-pooping in the kitchen-new life into our home. My daughters are infused with perpetual excitement. They're excited to greet Piper each morning, thrilled to take her out into the yard, every outing is new with Piper as part of our family.
After three years of living on the beach, even the simple act of walking on the sand has taken on a new level of enjoyment since Piper arrived.
Here is her story:
She is a rescue puppy out of Bakersfield. She is the product of a yellow Labrador and a golden retriever who gave birth to an accidental litter on January 14th and whose owner had the good sense to donate all 4 puppies to a rescue center for adoption. I found her through http://www.petmatchmaker.com/, a site I was at first skeptical and at last, in complete awe of and full of appreciation.
These amazing VOLUNTEERS collect, care for and foster hundreds of dogs from all over the greater Kern County. I had the pleasure of meeting Shelly, the foster parent to Piper and Piper's siblings, last week when I arrived to see this dream dog face-to-face. Shelly was quick to rattle off a long list of puppy care tips, what they eat, when to feed, how to potty train, what to avoid, recommended toys, where to sleep her, etc. etc. all before I had even agreed to take Piper home.
I had already put in a full day by the time I arrived at this afternoon meeting in Bakersfield, the prospect of deciding on a puppy that was right for my entire family was a daunting task but everyone made it easy, especially Piper. And before I was completely decided that this puppy was right for my family, the volunteers were packing up my paperwork, stuffing food samples into care bags along with chew toys and rawhide bones, there was the staggering exchange of cash (mine handed over to them, which is a tax donation, at least), and then the reality of living with this puppy for the rest of her hopefully long life hovering somewhere over my head...I nearly caused a three car accident just pulling out of the parking lot! My heart was thundering, palms sweaty, eyes blurred, OUCH! puppy chewing on my fingers as I made my way back to the freeway with a yellow fur ball twirling around in the laundry basket on my front seat. Dear God, what have I done?!
Pea stains and midnight wake ups, chewed shoes and shrieking children. I knitted my brow the first hour home. And again asked, Dear God, what have I done? Then I glanced up at the clouds and had a quiet conversation with Kiley, my first Labrador, my first dog who passed away last November. Is this the right dog? Is this the right time? Is it okay to love another dog? I felt as though I had gotten her approval, and I looked over at Piper and my soul was ready to love this baby dog. I spent the next few hours grinning at a snoring little puff beside me, who eventually found her way into my lap the last few miles of our drive.
I was excited for Piper to meet our family. By the time we approached our neighborhood I was feeling rather proud of myself for finding the right dog. The girls and I had had many conversations about the delicate act of pairing the right dog with the right family. They were prepared for me to return from this meeting with Piper dogless if she wasn't quite right for our family. I was anxious to see their faces when I pulled up!
I rounded the turn onto our street in time to see a silhouette of my family heading into the sunset towards the beach, clad in swimsuits and armed with sand toys. They all turned at once and yelled, "Mommy!" Their gallop back toward my car allowed me a few seconds to gather Piper in my arms so she could greet them at the car door.
The look on their faces said it all. Even John melted just a little bit at the sight of her.
This week alone she's been to the beach four times, on countless walks, to a birthday party, grandma's house, two playdates with endless little girls, to preschool with Ana, and kinder with Shelby, and to work with daddy.
This is a well traveled, well loved dog already. I think this picture says it all: