...I posted this picture on Instagram the other day:
Clara and Gracie act completely like litter mates. They are about the same height. They run and chase each other. They nip at each other. They vie for their momma's attention. If Gracie could laugh, I bet she'd be laughing right along with Clara.
And they are impossible to get a picture of.
It's happening, you know, I am falling in love with her. Mostly because my kids already are.
...there is no such thing as privacy with a puppy.
She's like a newborn, except there's no bouncy seat you can strap her in while you take a two-minute shower. So she just comes in and licks your legs. Awesome.
Oh, and she doesn't wear diapers. And treats our liriope like it's an all-you-can-eat-buffet.
She is the first thing both kids ask for when they wake.
She is sweet. And learning. We all are.
Tonight, Charlie was looking at all the family photos next to our kitchen table when he pointed to the picture of Charmer and said, "She looks like Gracie. We need to take Gracie's picture and put her up there instead."
Broke my heart a little bit. I said, "Charlie, Charmer was your puppy when you were a baby. And we'll always love her. But we'll take a picture of Gracie and put it up there next to Charmer."
...Charmer Kurz broke our hearts three and a half years ago. Grace has huge paws to fill, but I hope she lives her life never knowing that. I do not know if I will ever love another dog as much as I loved Charmer, but I can tell you in the 36 hours that Grace has been home, a part of my heart that I worried might be closed opened up again.
So how did it all happen?
No, she is not one of Margarita's puppies, but Margarita and seeing my kids with her set something in motion. We decided to start casually looking for an "older" puppy or adolescent golden. With us, it will always be a golden. I started to contact breeders, seeing if they had any older dogs they were looking to sell. This is what happened with Charmer, a breeder had held her back for show and then an ear or a tooth or something was not just right so we got her at 10 months-old.
I posted on a few golden retriever message boards (some people are passionate about scrapbooking, some about golden retrievers) and someone sent me a link to a breeder in Virginia who was looking to place an older puppy. Named Grace.
This was the picture I found when I went to the breeder's website:
What's the line? "You had me at hello?"
I looked at that picture obsessively, e-mailing back and forth with the breeder. When we decided to start looking for another dog, I had told my friend
Laura I was so excited to know that our next dog was out there,
somewhere, and I was just waiting to open an email and see her. Two days later we drove down to meet Grace. This was a week ago.
She had a cowlick on her nose and big fluffy ears. She will be sandy in color, not as blonde as Charmer. They are two different dogs and that is good.
And yesterday, she came home.
She did not puke in the car, which endeared her to both of us immediately. To know Charmer was to love her, but to travel with her was not fun.
I got teary with some of my friend's references to Charmer. Especially this one:
She matches the hardwood floors exactly. Very camouflage:
And the kids? Oh the kids. I was a little worried about Charlie. New things can be hard for him. Clara just kind of rolls with it. But that little boy? He took to her immediately. "Race! Come here!" Because Charlie had just turned one when Charmer died, I had no idea how good it would feel to see your kids with a dog they knew was theirs. (I also think they both like having something to boss around).
Clara, attempting to read Grace a book. She didn't appreciate the literature.
The other great part is seeing Ken with her. There was one person in the world who loved Charmer more than I did, and that was Ken. He's a man who needs a dog. A golden.