Sitting around my parents’ dining room table on Thanksgiving of 2018, my first Thanksgiving married to my husband, I shared what I was thankful for with my family: “Well, I would be more thankful for my husband if he would get me a puppy.” Long before that day and long before we were married, I dreamed out loud about what it would be like for us to have our own dog. My husband and I both grew up with multiple dogs, but what I couldn’t understand at the time, something my husband always used to push my idea away, was that as much joy as dog can bring into your life, the end of a dog’s life is heartbreaking. He knew that as the man in our house, he would be responsible for putting any future pets down if/when that day would come, and unfortunately, he had already experienced that with one of his beloved childhood dogs. I truly love my husband’s tender heart.
My reasons for wanting a dog were simple and hard to argue (in my opinion): the dog would help relieve my stress and I’d have to walk it, so it would encourage me to exercise too. Obviously it would be cute and cuddly, so in my eyes, there were no downsides to adopting.
Thanksgiving was a day I was particularly pushy about my desire to adopt a puppy because a local pet rescue was running a Black Friday sale, and the later in the evening you went, the cheaper the adoption fee was. In fact, from midnight to two in the morning, the adoption fee was being waved entirely. How could someone say no to a free puppy?!
We left my parents, and I continued to pout as we settled down for the evening. Finally, around 11:00 PM, my husband grew tired of my whining and gave into it or decided to stop suppressing his own desire, I’ll never know which for sure, and he nonchalantly told me to get ready and grab a few blankets for the car. We were going to get our puppy!
The whole way there, I tried to convince him that we wouldn’t adopt just any dog and there was a chance we would come home empty handed, but he is much more rational than I am; he knew there was no way we were coming home without a dog. When we arrived at the rescue, the place was PACKED, which is so neat because that meant that so many dogs and cats would be adopted that night and more places in the shelter would open up.
We waited for at least an hour, maybe more, watching other happy families fall in love with new furry friends. The puppies were all adopted earlier in the evening, but we told the volunteers that we were looking for a younger medium sized dog who is good with other dogs. We lived in a loft at the time, and our parents already had dogs, so we needed a dog who would fit in with our lifestyle.
The first dog they brought into our room was a black Pit Bull mix, and while she was really sweet, we were told she wasn’t always friendly with other dogs. The next dog they brought in…
She was ours the moment she walked into the room and jumped on my husband’s lap.
This sweet baby was a year and a half old and barely 40 pounds at the time, and she was and still is a lap dog. The rescue had named her Chandelle, and we learned she had been in and out of the shelter all her life. We are actually her fourth (and forever) home; the previous owners threw her out of a moving vehicle recently, and a Good Samaritan saw and picked her up (and called her Coco). She wasn’t hurt at all, and to this day, car rides are one of her favorite things. If that’s not God, I don’t know what is.
We didn’t love the name Chandelle for a dog, and it didn’t take us long to figure out she was Sadie, our Sadie girl. She instantly passed out in the car, and when we got her home, I gave her a bath, something she loves as well. As we snuggled into bed with her at our feet, I’m ashamed to admit that after all of the begging I did to get her there with us, I was freaking out thinking we had made a mistake!!! I hardly slept fearing the worst: mostly just that we weren’t ready for such a big commitment. And my husband? He was in love.
My fear was gone in the morning, and I’ve been loving my Sadie Brown hard ever since that day. She’s a special needs dog: she doesn’t see well out of her right eye and she has a dangerously fast heartbeat that inhibits vets from being able to put her under anesthesia when she rips her Dew Claw once or twice a year (we have pet insurance on her for this reason… she’s an expensive girl!). Though we were told she was “aggressive”, her only tendencies are towards me occasionally because I’ve thought I could cut her nails in the past, and in my opinion, that’s fair enough.
She loves other dogs, and when we lived in the loft, we took her to the dog park often. We would talk about getting a second dog, but we knew that just like Sadie, that dog had to find us. Little did we know…
On Friday the 13th of December 2019, one of my yearbook students showed me this picture and told me she and her mom had found this puppy on the street without a collar before school that morning. Because of the markings on her face, my student said she was reminded of Sadie, which is why she knew she had to tell me about the dog. She put the dog in her aunt’s backyard for the day, which had a questionable fence, but knew there was no way she’d be allowed to keep her, though she’d already named her Daisy. Because we’re the yearbook staff, the whole class latched onto this story, and after school we took an unofficial field trip to the student’s neighborhood, which also just so happened to be my parents’ neighborhood.
Shocker: the dog was gone.
We drove around the neighborhood and knocked on doors, getting a few leads about a little black dog running past the bus stop that morning — this dog didn’t make it an hour in the backyard! No one knew where she was for sure, just that someone had taken her in, and eventually my students gave up, but my husband didn’t. He continued driving around the neighborhood, and I finally got smart and decided to get on his Facebook (I wasn’t on social media at the time) to search for lost pets in the area.
That was the first post on the page. While Daisy was found, she wasn’t really our dog and she really wasn’t my student’s dog either… but we messaged the Good Samaritan anyway. She asked for a picture of our friend – my student – with the dog, so yes, we sent her that terrible picture from above and by the grace of God, that was good enough. We made plans to meet with the woman’s friend who had been watching the dog all day, and we went home to prepare a second kennel and to tell Sadie the good news: she was getting a baby sister.
At this time, we were committed to doing what we could to find Daisy’s owners, including taking her to our vet to find out whether or not she was microchipped. I knew, though, that she would be ours; my dad even warned us that there was no way we could go save this dog and not keep her. Deep down, we knew that too.
When we met up with Daisy’s saviors, my husband was pleasantly surprised to find that they were old friends of his from college. Once again, the whole situation can’t be explained any other way besides God’s plan. We brought Daisy to meet Sadie, and while nothing bad happened, Daisy was definitely intimidated by Sadie’s excitement; again, this girl really loves other dogs. She was much smaller than we had expected, just 11 pounds, and immediately we were in love because she was the sweetest thing in the world with her little heart shaped nose and big eyes.
I called a local shelter the next day and left a message, and I took Daisy to the vet only to find she wasn’t chipped and perfectly healthy aside from having worms. A couple of my other yearbook students also offered to take her if she and Sadie didn’t get along, but we were blessed with a couple of snow days to extend the weekend. Had my student not found Daisy, that winter storm would have, and this story would have a much different ending… The odds of two rescue dogs having the same patterning and getting along as if they were sisters are probably next to none, but that is our girls’ story. It was just meant to be.
I’m still close with this former student today, and I always joke that by “getting” me this dog, she was actually giving me a parting gift so I would never forget her. I could write a whole post on this student, but let’s just say that she and Daisy are very similar… Daisy might look cute, but she’s always getting into trouble and always has something to say in squeaks, whines, barks, and growls. You can’t help but love her, though, and yes, she is a perfect reminder of a student who has forever changed my life in some of the best ways.
Sadie and Daisy are my whole world. I can’t sleep without them next to me, and more often than I’d like to admit, I’m brought to tears thinking about how we might have rescued them, but really, it’s the other way around. They’ve brought my husband and me so much joy, and even when they’ve had accidents or made a mess in the house, we can’t help but love them unconditionally because that’s the way they love us. Sadie loves dancing with us to our wedding songs, and Daisy loves the simplicity of eating ice cubes when we fill up at the fridge or playing with our hands instead of the toys we buy her. We’ll never know for sure what their life was before us, but for all the rest of the days of their lives, we plan to do nothing but give them the best.
Happy National Dog Day, sweet puppy girls.