Twenty-four hours after we got back from our honeymoon, Robin Hood and I hopped into his truck and drove to a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
When we drove back, not much had changed except the contents of the truck’s back seat: namely, one squirmy, copper-colored, frankly apprehensive redbone coonhound puppy.
Ann, a.k.a. Little Ann (from Where the Red Fern Grows), a.k.a. Annie Oakley, a.k.a. Anna Banana, a.k.a. Ann Trason, a.k.a. Annette Coonicello, came into our lives in May. We had known that we wanted to get a dog in the near future, and we wanted a puppy. We had discussed various breeds, writing off Chesapeake Bay Retrievers for being too hard to come by in Albuquerque, and Labradoodles for being too expensive.
We were considering Poodles when two things happened: Robin Hood and I both finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows for the first time in decades (I went through a “classics of young adult literature” phase this spring); and then he stumbled upon a website, www.puppyfind.com.
What did he find on that website? A breeder of redbone coonhounds – the breed from the book. And where was the breeder? IN ALBUQUERQUE. And yep, there was a litter of puppies just about ready for adoption.
It all seems too perfect, right? Like the cards weren’t just falling into place but avalanching into place?
I thought so.
This was a month and a half out from the wedding. A new puppy and wedding planning do not mix well. Robin Hood conceded that this was true. But when he talked to the breeder, he found out this was the last litter they were going to have.
What to do?
We did what any couple who’s considering getting a puppy, who’s interested in getting a puppy but doesn’t want to do anything rash, who wants to weigh the information carefully, would do:
We visited the puppies!
I know. Stop laughing.
Naturally, once we visited those puppies, we had to have one. But the fact remained: we couldn’t.
Thankfully, when we explained our situation to the breeder, she graciously offered to keep the puppy for us until we were ready to bring her home. So that’s how it happened. We picked out a puppy, paid a deposit, promised to visit, and continued on with the business of getting married.
Fast forward to…now!
Life has gotten very surreal. Actually, that’s not accurate, because this entire year has felt surreal. Maybe what’s happening is that the surreal is [gulp. deep breath.] turning into the real.
I now have a puppy in my life, and it’s been a learning experience from day one. I can’t believe how much I love her already. I can’t believe how exhausting she is. I can’t believe how cute she looks when she sits in anticipation of a treat. I can’t believe I’m now A Pet Photo Person [with most of those photos capturing nothing more than a blurred furball].
Who knows what she’ll be like when she’s older? With luck and a little more training, she’ll be a hunting buddy for Robin Hood, a running buddy for me, and all-around cool dog.
For now, she’s got a healthy appetite, she rocks her pink camouflage collar, and she fetches really well sometimes!