Harpua is the only dog that I have ever had for more than year. He is my dog, your Dad will attest to that. I wanted a dog my whole life. I had two dogs in my life before Harpua, Cinnamon and Sable. Cinnamon was a Lhasa Apso puppy that Grandma and Grandpa got when I was in kindergarten. She was an adorable little puppy but she did not last long your Aunt developed an allergy to her and I remember the day she left.
Then when I got older I BEGGED Grandma and Grandpa for a dog. Grandma said that if I got no grade below a C for an entire school year I could get a dog (I was an average student, plain and simple). So for my entire year in 6th grade I worked so hard. I remember the day I got a grade below a C, I was devastated… Grandma and Grandpa are very strict and I was sure this was a deal breaker, I had lost. Grandma said if I kept doing well and this was my only bad grade I could get a dog. Nose in the books I kept my grades up… and summer came. The last day of school was amazing, I was ready to go the pound/shelter and get a dog that day… not so fast. We went to the local shelter and they had a few dogs but there were no puppies and I had my heart set on a puppy. There was this older dog there who probably did not have many years left but I still remember him he was grey and skinny a mutt for sure but he had this sadness about him that still lingers with me. Grandma would not let me adopt him, she said he would die soon and I would be devastated.
Then we went to the North Shore Animal League and I found Sable an adorable Beagle/German Shepard mix (weird right). She was a fantastic puppy, she had worms when we got her and I had to feed her chicken and rice, that Grandma made me help her make. She was a wonderful dog, she had an amazing look, I have never seen a dog since that looked like her. Grandma and Grandpa reminded me that she was my dog, I fed her, walked her, even went with her to every vet visit. We did not go to obedience school…. I was just going into 7th grade what did I know and lets face it you know your grandparents by now, they are NOT dog people, they did not know what to do. Sadly one day they sat me down and told me that Grandma had bad allergies to the dog and Sable had to go. I have only sobbed as hard I did that day (and the actual day they took her from me… my eyes are tearing as I write this) a few times in my life. I often wondered what life might have been like if I had adopted the old dog, I would have been sad when he died but I would have given him a good life while he was with me.
So needless to say after my two experiences with dogs the next time I got a dog it was going to be on my terms and I would have that dog for their entire life. I knew as soon as your Dad and I got a house I wanted a dog as soon as possible. We dog sat Buddy, our friends dog, just a few days after we got our house and when we gave him back I begged your Dad “let’s get a dog.” I emailed him often with pictures of dogs from Petfinder. He would always find a reason for them to be the wrong dog for us. But then I sent him a picture of Harpua’s sister a chocolate lab puppy…. your Dad was sold. I left work early to go the shelter to get her, your Dad met me there.
When I got to the shelter there was one puppy left unclaimed a black male, not the chocolate girl I was sent there to get by your Dad (it is clear I would take anything). I picked him up and he cuddled into my arms and slept. As I waited for my turn to fill out paperwork and wait for your Dad to get there to approve him… I fell in love and hard… I knew I was not leaving without him. Your Dad showed up and looked at my face and said “so this is Harpua” (we already had the name picked out LONG before).
Harpua continued to sleep in my arms as I waited… as his last sibling was walking out the door with their new family he opened his eyes put his head up and let out a pathetic whimper and started to cry. It was so sad he knew that his family was gone, he had lost his Mom a few days earlier now his brothers and sisters had left him. I was his Mom now and I took the responsibility seriously. I promised him in our car ride home I would take care of him forever.
Lessons to learn
-Always get your dog at a shelter
-Take them to obedience school and get a trainer if you have to
-Commit to keep your dog for life no matter what, you deserve it and so do they
-I hope you love your dog as much as I do
All the pictures are mine. I had technical difficulties posting his Petfinder picture that we saved