I am a dog person. I have a firm belief that dogs make people happy. In fact, during my hospital confinement I was even prescribed canine therapy. (This may or may not have had anything to do with my emotional meltdown during my first in-patient stint, in which I demanded canine companionship and threatened to escape so I could see my puppies at home.)
Throughout my childhood, my brother and I campaigned for a dog. After 12 years of wearing her down, my mother acquiesced with what she likely thought was a fool proof plan. If both of her children could turn in a year’s worth of straight A report cards, we’d complete our perfect American dream family – Father, Mother, 2.5 kids and Rover. Academic bribery was a swimming success; we became Lab people. Our first dog was Stryder, a yellow lab.
A year after I graduated college I was lucky enough to purchase my first home – a condo with a view. My first act of responsible home ownership was to sign up for a Labrador Retriever rescue group so I could be matched with the perfect puppy. Bailey was a neurotic seven-year-old chocolate lab. He was our first child and absolutely terrified of packing materials.
Several months after our wedding, Jon told me he was going to breakfast with his dad. That was a big fat lie. Two hours later, he returned home with Cooper the yellow lab. Cooper is an independent soul. He insists on inspecting everything before settling anywhere and his sole purpose in life is to get one of his people to throw a tennis ball for him. We had to adjust our lifestyle a bit once Cooper joined our family. He has an unfortunate tendency to rapidly dart through a doorway to go about exploring the great outdoors – resulting in me flying after him like a crazy person while he explores the great wide world.
Shortly after we bought our house, we decided to get a friend for Cooper. Our family expanded to four after we adopted Scout the black lab. Scout is a big boy – he loves everyone and every thing, which is good because he wasn’t entirely blessed in the brains department. (His relationship with his brother Cooper can often be likened to the cartoon Pinky and the Brain.)
When the muppets joined us, I was so blessed to have five amazing boys to share my life with. To make sure we would all live happily ever after together Jon and I brought blankets home from the hospital with the muppets scent. We took our four-legged sons on walks with an empty stroller. And once our twins came home, we introduced all the boys – inviting them all to sniff each other.
As it turns out, Search and Destroy are dog people too. Both boys are utterly fascinated by them. Search laughs hysterically at their every move and reaches out to pet them. A dog sauntering through the living room is guaranteed to elicit grins from both my guys. Our pups aren’t quite sure about them just yet. When we first brought the boys home, Cooper was pretty certain they were duds. “C’mon Mom, these new puppies can’t even throw balls…” Scout loves them; they’re his new best friend! But sometimes he worries the new puppies will take his place with his people.
But they’re slowly starting to become better friends. Cooper and Scout tolerate Search and Destroy a little bit more every day. When the muppets start toddling the fun will really begin! Like I said – dogs make people happy.