Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Birthday Dog

My dog turned 5 yrs old yesterday. Gracie was the first dog I have ever personally acquired on my own; the only other dog we ever had before was our black Lab who was found in a clothes basket on a street corner and rescued. After Sophie passed at the age of 12, hub and I said “No more dogs and especially no indoor dogs!” Yeah, well.
I’ve had quite a few cats in my life and considered myself a cat-person. My favorite cat of all was named Norman. When he died I was devastated, to be honest. That left us with one cat, Clarke who seemed very lonely.

I told my daughter about the dogs my cousin had, a breed called Shih Tzu’s. How these dogs were bred just for companionship, to be lap dogs, and tried to describe how they looked. “Here” I said, “let me show you what they look like” as I Googled “shih tzu image” on the computer. Well, this brought up pictures of adults……..and puppies. Oh no. After seeing several heart-melting ADORABLE images of pups, she agreed they were cute and left for her summer job. I sat there, surfing the web for 2 hours, unaware of the time, mesmerized. Then something came over me. I couldn’t, right? I couldn’t just sit down and order up a puppy without talking to my family, could I? Would I? I hesitantly emailed the breeder and inquired about the pups. They were located in Evening Shade, Arkansas. I mapped that- Lord it was quite a ways from Tulsa and no easy, direct way to get there, either. Then the breeder emailed me back. This little girl puppy was available- was I interested?

My heart was pounding and I took a deep breath and impulsively emailed back YES.
I had no idea how I was going to, you know – GET this puppy home, but I had several weeks to worry about it as they were only 3 weeks old and not ready to leave yet. My daughters face, the expression on her face, when I showed her the dog on the screen and then said, “I’m getting her!” was priceless. She was as overjoyed as I was! We did a little Happy Dance, and then she stopped and asked the dreaded question, “What about Dad?” Hubby had proclaimed his views on dogs very clearly and he had always stated, from the day I met him (well, almost) that growing up in the country, dogs were to stay outside. Period. End of story. So, I hit him in his Achilles heel- our daughter, whom he could never refuse anything. I told him that night at dinner. I told him I was getting a puppy, and as he rolled his eyes and began to protest, I said, “It’s for HER. SHE wants one!” at which time daughter smiled her sweet smile and nodded (just like we practiced).
It was amazing how his protest stopped mid-sentence and changed to questions like: how? when? where? which I joyfully answered. We had named her Gracie by the next day and I emailed the breeder and asked her to begin calling her that. She said she would and began sending us photos that made us fall in love even more with her.

Daughter and I went on a planned mission in early August. We drove to Nashville, visited my aunt, uncle and cousin and went to a Dave Matthews concert that I had tickets for. On the way back to Oklahoma we swung up to the north in Arkansas and picked up our new, adorable puppy. The ride home wasn’t so great. Poor little Gracie had a rough time of it. But we made it home and surprise surprise…… guess where I found our little puppy within an hour? Curled up on the bed with hub. Mr. No-Dogs-In-The-House-Ever was now smitten and has evolved into a huge dog lover. Ah, puppy love. It is magical!

And, in case you didn’t see the picture over on the right, we now have THREE of them. Puppy love is magical....... and makes you insane.
Happy Birthday Gracie Mae!

p.s. Yes, I know she is wearing a Hello Kitty hat in the top photo, just don't tell her.


  1. I love this story! How precious! And what a darling dog. Shih Tzu puppies are so adorable. (Then again, I have yet to see a puppy that isn't!) Dads are pretty big softies when it comes to daughters, aren't they? I'm already seeing this with Jeff, and Harper's not even three months old yet! I keep telling him to just wait until she's three YEARS old; then he's in big trouble.

    Jeff was brought up that way, too: Dogs stay outside. I remember being a little nervous about how in the world he was going to accept my indoor bulldog, Bitterman, when things started getting serious. We'd always had indoor dogs in my family, and at the time, Bitterman was more like my child than my dog (and was up until Harper was born!). I remember feeling slightly relieved when Jeff admitted that he had always wanted a "big, fat, wrinkly dog," but still, Jeff's mindset was that dogs stay outside, so I wasn't sure how it was going to go over when I put my foot down. Little did I know I had nothing to worry about... Bitterman was instantly so crazy about Jeff that it kinda forced Jeff to love him. (After all, it's pretty hard NOT to love something that worships the ground you walk on!)

    Eventually Jeff came to absolutely adore him; after we got engaged, he became not just "my" dog, but "our" dog. We had to buy a bigger bed so the "three" of us could fit comfortably, and every year Jeff grills Bitterman his own steak on his birthday. Mr. Bitt has cost us thousands--literally, THOUSANDS--in vet bills due to his allergies, and no one in our house can wear black for very long unless they want to be covered in white bulldog hair. But he has been our only child for 6 years now--mine for 7!--and hilariously, these days it is Jeff who keeps asking, "When do you think we can get another bulldog?" LOL. What a big marshmallow he is underneath!

  2. Oh Gracie Mae ... look what you started! Happy belated Boofday, little one.

  3. I told him that night at dinner. I told him I was getting a puppy, and as he rolled his eyes and began to protest, I said, “It’s for HER. SHE wants one!” at which time daughter smiled her sweet smile and nodded (just like we practiced).

    I laughed my buns off....that is a hoot Nancy!


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