Puppy New Year!
A new year brings a lot of new things. It brings future broken resolutions; it brings hopes for a better year; it brings colder temps and longer days. In my case, it brought Charlie.
Charlie is an English Springer Spaniel. He is the third dog our family has “adopted.” Our first two attempts at adopting young dogs from the Frederick County Animal Control Center were unsuccessful.
When my wife and I finally decided to bring another dog into the home, we knew we could only do it by getting to know the puppy by “meeting the parents.”
Both of our two previous attempts ended poorly. Years ago we adopted a German Shepherd/Husky mix. His name was Detrick. Named after the military base where he was born. His mother was a stray that roamed Fort Detrick, finally captured when giving birth to Detrick and the rest of the litter. Detrick was a well-behaved dog but he grew increasingly aggressive until at about age one we feared for the safety of any visitors. We, regrettably, were forced to return him to his foster mother who said that another pup from his same litter had exhibited the same traits and that she knew of a family that would be able to handle and train him appropriately.
Our second attempt was even worse than the first. Freckles, who was likely a Beagle/Cocker Spaniel mix, made it approximately four weeks before she opened up puncture wounds above and below my son’s left eye thinking that he might take her rawhide toy.
Our cat Kylie was probably the happiest member of the house to see these two go.
The kids knew the significance of both dogs’ actions and were somewhat prepared for them to leave, but it left a large void in our dog-lover lives.
It had been a few years since Freckles left us, and with our busy lives, it never felt like the right time to try again. Besides it is very hard to pour your heart out time and again never knowing when you’re going to have to say goodbye.
After constant prodding by my wife and our children, the decision came down to whether I would be willing to do it all again. I was always willing but never thought the time was right.
My wife convinced me that since our children are in high school and middle school time was quickly running out on the opportunity to bring home a companion that our offspring would live with and love before they move on after high school.
Now the time was right.
Shortly after Thanksgiving I started receiving emails with links to websites of adorable pups. I finally started my own search and in our relative backyard found a breeder of English Springer Spaniels. We went to the breeder, not knowing much about Springer’s. We were quickly won over as we saw a brother from the previous litter as well as Charlie’s mother. The way they interacted with us and their demeanor was exactly what we looking for after Detrick and Freckles.
Charlie is a black tri-color with a white belly, a white blaze and liver-colored eyebrows and muzzle. When we picked him up the Friday before Christmas he left his four remaining brothers to join our family of six. He was born at the end of September, so he was just shy of three months old when we brought him home.
Early on Friday morning before Christmas, Lori pretended to go shopping for that last minute gift and I pretended to go into work early. But we both showed up an hour and a half later at the doorstep while three of the four children slept.
When we pulled into the driveway our one son peeked out the window of his sister’s room as he tried to wake her. He excitedly screamed for the other three to get up. As the three of them came pouring down the stairs, my one daughter yelled “Puppy!” and soon the fourth quickly arrived. We were barely in the front door as all gathered to greet Charlie.
So now, two weeks later, things are going well and the children are pitching in.
As far as the new year bringing new carpet…let’s just say we won’t be replacing that anytime soon.