We all know that every dog story ends the same way. Last December, I had to say goodbye to my dear Roxie and our house has not felt the same without a dog in it since.
This weekend that absence went away as Nadia joined our family.
Last week I began getting the itch. The snow was melting and the days were getting warmer. The urge to be outside was getting stronger and with it came the urge to adopt another dog.
We will always adopt our pets. With so many cats and dogs being abandoned every day, the idea of not rescuing a pet is completely foreign to our family.
Looking around Petfinder, I saw her. The cool markings and the the lab mix we were looking for.
We talked about it as a family and surfed around looking at other available puppies. While I wanted another black lab mix, I also didn't want one that would remind me of Roxie so I was very open.
We kept coming back to Nadia, so I filed the adoption application along with another one to New England Lab Rescue since they had two puppies we liked as well.
Tuesday night as I was picking up Emily from dance the call came. Cenla Alliance for Animals was calling to interview me about our application. It had been a very thorough application, so we had plenty to talk about.
It was a fun chat and that was when I found out Nadia was in Louisiana. The woman on the phone was using Google Maps to look at our house and yard and we had a great conversation that ended with the question of "Nadia would love to become part of your family if you'll have her?"
If you've ever seen a child on Christmas morning, you've seen what the smile on my face looked like.
Turns out the shelter uses Rescue Road Trips to transport their dogs to the north and they were doing a pick up the next night or we could wait two weeks until the next run. It wasn't much of a choice :)
We went from a house without a dog, to embracing the plans to adopt another dog, to we are getting a dog in less than 72 hours!
The minute I saw this photo of her being put on the transport, I was smitten. I texted the photo to the rest of the family and everyone fell in love as well. It was finally real that she was on her way to us.
Saturday, we drove to Connecticut to meet our little girl.
We arrived early and the little parking lot was full of other cars filled with anxious families just like us. When Greg and his Rescue Road Trips truck pulled up everyone emptied out and you could feel the excitement.
It was fun to watch as Greg walked over to the littlest of kids to ask them which dog they were there to adopt. It wasn't hard to tell since everyone is encouraged to make welcome home signs and every family had one.
After he had a name, he'd go into the truck, find the dog and then bring them out held aloft with a Lion King vibe and announce the name to everyone. There would be cheers, he'd hand the dog directly to the new owner and then take a photo of the happy family.
He posts these photos as updates from the road to his Facebook page so that other families still waiting would know where he was. Plus, talk about content that rules! :)
Thankfully Nadia rode home perfectly. Even though the kids weren't happy with it, Laura held her for the ride home and she curled right up and fell asleep.
I'll never forget the look on her face when she jumped out of the car and ran directly on to a pile of snow. Being a southern belle, she was completely confused by it and instantly showed us that she isn't a fan of it yet.
She did what any adopted dog will do in a new house. She sniffed every corner of it, wondered what the cats were and why they wouldn't play with her and tried to figure out what was going on.
We were ready for a skittish weekend, but she took right to her bed, toys and loving family. We were happy that she was comfortable almost immediately.
She does have a bit of kennel cough and it seems worse when she wakes up. It'll pass quickly enough and we've got her first vet appointment this week to get her all checked out.
All of us were shocked at how small she was. At only twelve pounds, she is the same size as our smallest cat and we were expecting her to be around ten pounds heavier. We also found out from her paperwork that she is a few weeks older than we thought. For those who are curious we've been told her parents were a yellow lab and a Siberian husky. It is going to be interesting to see what she looks like as she grows up.
In no time she'll be huge so we are going to enjoy the extra small puppy time while we have it.
Easter is not a big holiday for us, so Sunday was a quiet day around the house. We gave Nadia her first bath (in the sink, which I don't think will ever happen again), took her for a walk around the neighborhood and played a bunch.
Some friends swung by to meet our new family member. We were happy to see that when one brought over their dog that Nadia instantly started playing with him and is eager to have playmates. The neighbors dog who is still under a year was a bit confused about having someone more playful than her in the yard. I can already tell they are going to have many fun play sessions together this summer.
The biggest surprise is that she has slept through both nights here. Last night she wined a bit when we put her in her crate, but as soon as the lights were off that stopped. It was funny to hear her make noise since she has been almost totally silent.
Today starts the work week and I'm hoping she does well. We put a little bed and a few toys in my office so that she gets use to spending time with me where I can keep my eye on her.
I'll also begin training today. I'm hoping I can get her to understand the basics without any classes and then we'll see what we have to do from there.
Her temperament is very chilled and playful which is great. With any sort of lab you never know how hyper they are going to be and she isn't at all.
I've been thinking a lot about Roxie these past few days. It made me smile to think about how she might have reacted if she had met Nadia. I know she'd approve of us adopting a new dog.
If you are thinking of bringing a dog into your family, I highly encourage you to consider rescuing a dog over buying one. There are so many dogs out there needing loving families to adopt them and I promise you'll love them just as much.
The Nadia Chapman story is just beginning and I can't wait to see where it takes us.