Friday, April 8, 2011

The Return of the JD

So about three days after JD passed, we realized that the house was too quiet. There was no head in my lap as I tried to do homework, there were no battles at dinner time, there was no leash wrapping around my legs when I took the dogs for walks...what was so wrong? Most people would think that two dogs is more than enough, but to tell you the truth, it was too easy.

Don't get me wrong, Max and Crimson are incredibly high maintenance and quite the handful, but for some reason Gary and I felt that the house had grown quiet; deafeningly quiet. So we began to look for a new addition to the family. Now, you may find this insensitive to the memory of our old pup, but our thoughts were that we were going to find the perfect puppy to uphold his memory. And we found him.

Meet JD Richter Stephens III (Richter was his name when we got him, so we just kept it as his middle name. Yes dogs need middle names). He is a lab-retriever mix just like JD II and he looks just like him. Through hours of research, Gary came across this little guy and his sister, Sunny, at a shelter in Sacramento. With no time to lose, Gary and I took advantage of his Alaska Airlines flight benefits and booked it to Sac-Town. Gary's trip down was flawless, mine not so much, but that's another story. Gary picked JD up, shaking and covered in pee at a PetSmart near Sacramento. He put him in a shopping card and spent two hours in the store buying him food, a kennel, wee wee pads, and a brand new collar. I met them later that evening and knew immediately that Gary and I had fallen in love with this puppy.

We brought him home in a little mesh bag that fit underneath the seat on the plane. You have no idea how much attention you get when you have a puppy with you. Honestly, I think he's the only reason we got on the plane with our standby status. He was perfectly behaved on the plane, sleeping almost the whole time and sticking his head out of the bag to see what was going on the rest of the time. He put his paws on snow for the first time that evening, and I have to say he liked it. That little Cali boy rolled around like he'd lived here forever.

A few weeks, a few pairs of underwear and socks, and a computer cord later, we are doing very well with chewing and potty training. Gary has taught him to sit and lay down and is now working on "stay." JD is already so much bigger than he was when we got him, but such a cuddly little baby. He has so much energy and brings out the best in Max and Crimson. I haven't seen Max play with dog toys until we brought JD III home. He wrestles with the old dogs, making them seem just as young as he is. I think that his presence will prolong their lives for sure. While we love JD III, we will never ever ever forget JD II, who has been enshrined on a bookshelf in our living room. Our new JD has lots of similar personality traits and looks so much like our old pup that it actually gets me choked up sometimes, especially when I stroke his puppy fur and remember how soft JD II was; still so puppy-like. I miss that old guy so much and all of the love that he brought to our home, but I am also so glad that we rescued this puppy from the shelter and brought him home with us. Our home feels whole again. It is busy and restless and warm and loving.

There are some people who think we are crazy for getting another dog. Three dogs? That's outrageous! But Gary and I are dog people and this just feels perfect to us. I couldn't imagine a bed with no dogs on it. I couldn't imagine a kitchen with no paws underfoot. I couldn't imagine a yard with no dog poo land mines. I love Max's seal belly on my feet at night and I love JD's little yips at dinner time and I love Crimson's wisdom as he takes the role of oldest. So maybe we're crazy for loving all this craziness, but I think that in this insanity is when we are at our best. This JD puppy saved us just as we saved him. He already has so much love for us and we have so much love for him. I don't know what it's like to give birth to my own child, but I feel like this love is just about equivalent. These boys are our babies and we live for them.

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