So about a year ago I was browsing the online classifieds and I came across this ad.
It was a “Puppies For Sale” ad.
Usually I blow past those as quickly as possible but for some reason, this ad, on this day, made me pause.
Or maybe it was this face.
I really didn’t think I’d be getting a dog. I’ve always been more of an evil-cat person. I have loved dogs too, but they require a lot more care than evil-cats. I had enough issues of my own without taking on the incredible responsibility of a dog.
But. That. Face.
The lady who had the puppies was this wonderful woman from Sand Lake Kennels. These puppies were “Aussiedoodles.” Half Australian Shepherd and half Standard Poodle.
All of the puppies were cute, but some of them had the Aussie coloring with the spots, and the blue eyes. Others, like the one above, were plain. Black. Brown eyes.
I hemmed and hawed. I didn’t really WANT a puppy, but I couldn’t tear myself away from those little faces. I decided to email the breeder. What could it hurt to ask questions, right?
I told the breeder, Nancy, that I was interested in a dog who would be eager to please, who would want to be by my side, and who would be good with little kids (nieces and nephews). She responded that any of her puppies would match that description, but the little black boy with the white chest, chin, and white toes would probably be the best fit for what I was looking for. She said that she noticed something special about him right off the bat. When she would enter a room, the other puppies would keep playing, but this little black boy would always stop what he was doing and run straight to her. She thought he had a lot of love to give.
That’s all I needed to hear. The little black boy with the white patches was going home with me.
I waited anxiously for over a week until I could go get him. I ran through different names in my head. I thought something with military sound to it might be great. I thought maybe Tank. Or Major.
When I met Nancy in Jamestown a week later, she handed me my little guy. He immediately snuggled right into me and licked my cheek as I was looking at him. I told her, “Oh he’s such a little LoveBug.” I knew right there that I’d named him. He was not a Tank or a Major. He was as sweet and cute as a Bug.
So Bug and I headed home. We hadn’t made it very far down the road when I decided I needed a potty break. So I left my little guy on the floor of my vehicle while I went inside a rest stop. When I came back I found a little “surprise” waiting for me on the floor of my car and a little Bug covered in that surprise.
That was my crash course in puppy parenting 101. 😂
Bug was a little handful. I started him off sleeping next to my bed in his kennel, but it wasn’t very long and he’d wiggled his little way onto the bed next to me. I mean, really, who could resist this face?
After years of sitting home doing nothing, I had someone to take exploring with me. I think I took Bug on our first hike out in the badlands within a few weeks of getting him. I’m not sure who loved it more–him or me! And we had many more over the course of the spring and summer.
Bug has also gotten me off the couch after work in the evenings.
As a puppy, with a Shepherd background, he has been a bundle of energy. I quickly learned that even an hour-long walk wasn’t enough to tire him out. So we went to Plan B, and Bug learned how fun bike rides could be.
He wasn’t too sure about these the first time we tried this. A lady at the park stopped me and said there was no way I’d be able to teach my dog to run beside me on the bike. She said she has always been a dog owner and could never manage it with her dogs. I politely thanked her and then promptly ignored her. She didn’t know MY dog. She didn’t know Bug and how much he lives to make me happy. On our second time trying the bike riding, it was like he had been doing it forever. Any fear or reluctance he’d had was gone. And now he can’t get enough!
I know God meant for me to find Bug that day I was looking over the classifieds. He has enhanced my life beyond measure and been such a blessing to me. I might have thought that a dog was the last thing I needed, but like so many other things in my life, I was wrong. And this time, I’m so glad I was!
I believe everyone needs a support system when trying to become better. Some of us have spouses. Some of us have families, parents, siblings, friends. But maybe there are people out there who don’t have that. Or maybe they do, but need something extra.
One of my favorite Facebook groups is this group called “Hiking With Dogs.” It consists of a bunch of people who love to hike and take their pooches along with them. Not only do the dogs motivate and inspire us to get out, explore nature, and exercise, but the joy our dogs get from these simple trips remind me, at least, that this isn’t a chore. This isn’t drudgery. Taking care of my body, enjoying the fresh air, quiet sounds, and beautiful scenery is a priceless privilege. Bug knows this instinctively.
And he’s always there to remind me when I’m tempted to forget.