When I was younger, I remember flipping through the L.L. Bean catalog and stopping at the pages with the dog beds, because L.L. Bean frequently filled them with golden retriever puppies for their photo shoots. That was a smart business move, because golden retriever puppies are pretty much the world's cutest living creatures. Those photos made me come close to buying a dog bed from L.L. Bean even when I didn't own a dog. So golden retriever puppies have always evoked a "squeeeeee!!!" response in me.
The drumbeat to get a dog got louder over the last year or so. The kids started tampering with my grocery lists:
At first, David and I just told the kids flat out that we loved them dearly but simply could not handle another needy living being in our house. Then, as the kids got a little older and things started to feel a little easier, we told them that we couldn't get a dog as long as Caroline was still deathly afraid of dogs. Then Caroline conquered that fear, so we told them that we couldn't get a dog until they started to show a little more responsibility around the house. Then we realized that if we waited for that to happen, we'd never get a dog - haha! Just kidding. Sort of.
In any event, somehow things progressed and the dog negotiations between David and I got more serious. He wanted a young dog, but not a puppy. I wanted a puppy. I promised that I would clean up after my puppy and get up with it in the middle of the night and take it outside before I did my homework. Once I
wore him down persuaded him that we should get a puppy, the talk turned to the kind of puppy. We have friends with golden retrievers, and we've heard that they are a wonderful family dog -- sweet tempered, playful but not hyper, mellow, great with kids. Plus, as I knew from the L.L. Bean catalog, the puppies are just mind-blowingly adorable. Then one day, I was out for a walk with my friend Rita and her 3 year old Golden, Ally. I was telling her that we felt like we were getting closer to being ready for a dog, and she told me that the lady from whom they got Ally just had a litter. So at that point, things got rolling in a hurry, and the next thing we knew, we were driving to coastal Mississippi to get Lacy.
We first saw her in the middle of a little pen set up in the middle of the breeder's backyard. She stood up and wagged her tail and bounced around when she saw us, but she did not bark. In fact, despite the presence of 5 or 6 adult dogs and a litter of 10 puppies, we didn't hear any barking on the property. She told us that her dogs are pretty quiet by nature, but if barking starts in any of her dogs, she nips that in the bud. So far, Lacy has been the quietest little dog. Which is a good thing, because on the rare occasions that she does bark, I have no earthly idea how to get her to stop.
Here are the kids when we first met Lacy:
They really love her so much. The kids (especially the girls) don't seem to realize that she is not going to be a lap dog. Or maybe they realize it, so they're treating her as a lap dog while they can.
So far she's been the sweetest, funniest little dog. We're trying to take the whole "don't let your 8 pound dog do anything you don't want your 70 pound dog to do" thing seriously (except for picking her up all the time and placing her on our laps) and priority #1 is stopping the play biting. She is REALLY crazy and nippy when she first wakes up in the morning. I'm usually the one who gets up with her, so I'm trying to work on my Stern, Scary Voice. The kids say that I have the least authoritative voice in the world and I sound like I'm telling her how much I love her when I'm really trying to discipline her (e.g. in high pitched, sing-song-y voice: "Lacyboo we do not bite! That hurts mommy! Aw, you want a belly rub??") So, I'm trying to work on that (and also work on improving my voice of authority with my human children while I'm at it).
She does insanely adorable things like sleep on her back sometimes:
And play catch:
And tolerate romps on the playground equipment:
I feel like I can actually see her growing -- she is noticeably larger than she was just under two weeks ago. I know she won't be small for long and I'm really trying to savor every moment of this puppy stage. But we're also excited about the fun we'll have with Lacy as she gets bigger -- taking her on jogs, hikes, to the beach, etc. She is such a sweet dog. I'm really not sure how we lived without her.