A new addition


Today is day 12 of a cold I cannot kick. I have fondly renamed it the Smoketown Crud. When one staff member gets it, it seems to go around until the majority are affected.

Today is day 12 of a cold I cannot kick. I have fondly renamed it the Smoketown Crud. When one staff member gets it, it seems to go around until the majority are affected.

My boss swears that if I were to eat more veggies, I probably wouldn't have this cold. Of course, he says that as he pops an Airborne.

Fueling my cold is a lack of sleep. Two weeks ago, my husband, Mark, and I became puppy parents. It all started because my boss examined nine Labrador puppies. I was minding my own appointments, working out of the exam rooms down the hall from his. He walked out cradling a yellow Labrador puppy on his back.

I do not think he intended to convince me that I should have a puppy, but the eyes, paws, face and, of course, puppy breath, won me. My original plan was to buy a house, get a dog and have a baby. The house is on hold.

My justification for adding a puppy to our family now is that although we do not have a fenced-in yard, we have a huge park that is our backyard. On the other side of it, our friends Terri and Andy own a house with a large yard and two fenced-in pastures for their alpacas. Where the alpacas are not grazing, their five boisterous Golden Retrievers play. Before I even called my husband, I imagined those Goldens playing with our Labrador.

The phone call to my husband was brief. I asked him to come to work and "look at something."

"Is it a kitten?" Mark asked. We have a crew of felines.

"No," I replied.

"Is it a puppy?" he asked.

"Maybe," I replied. I spilled the rest of the details but emphasized that if he did not want to come to the office to look at the pup, I would forget the idea. I would not beg or plead with him to change his mind. Marriage is all about joint decisions. I was prepared for a "no", but he said he would come to the office. I couldn't imagine that he could refuse those eyes, those paws, that face and puppy breath. The women in the office would certainly encourage him. I agreed not to even think of a name until I knew for sure that this would be our new family member.

After surgery, the clock counted down to the noon hour. My husband sent a text that read "OMW." I figured it meant "on my way" after staring at it for a minute or two. When he arrived, the puppy was sleeping under a reception desk. At about 12 pounds and roughly 7 weeks old, he could still get into small spaces. Of course, with the size of his paws, I knew that would not be the case for long.

I walked my husband back and eased the sleepy puppy out from under the desk. A yawn, a stretch and his eyes closed again.

Mark held the pup in his arms, and I saw tears in his eyes. With that, I knew my answer. Mark sat at my desk in the office holding the puppy, and we had a short discussion. It was almost as if we were deciding to have a child. He wanted to know if we could do this, if it would fit into our schedule and if we could provide a happy, loving home for another pet. With my assurance, he gave the OK.

We went to lunch to celebrate our new addition, and to discuss names. We both agreed on Ridley.

The breeder came back to pick our puppy up later that afternoon. We needed some time to puppy proof our house and gather supplies.

When Saturday arrived, my husband came to the hospital after my morning shift. He chose a blue collar and leash with white bones and red hearts. We drove to the breeder's home, where Ridley was asleep on a blanket. His little (or not so little) paws twitched as he dreamed.

It was very exciting for me and Mark, although that was the day this dreaded cold started to settle in and getting up several times at night did nothing to shorten its duration. Still, it's definitely worth it.

Mark and I split the middle-of-the-night leash walks at first. But we discovered that I can fall back asleep easier than him, so I've now grown accustomed to waking to my cell phone alarm during the night, running downstairs and making quick work of the task. Ridley comes right back inside, curls up in his kennel and puts his head on his stuffed rabbit. We were blessed to have him nearly housetrained by the breeder. He's just too young to sleep through the night.

Ridley is teaching us more than we ever thought he would, even as he learns from us. We're enjoying the ride.

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