Thursday, January 26, 2012

Leo's Story - Part 1

When our children were 4 and 7 my husband and I decided it was time for a family dog. We had survived babyhood, the kids had grown somewhat independent and that longing for a four legged 3rd child gnawed on both of us. Well, maybe just me but when I remember it I like to think it was him too. We began researching breeds and looking at listings for puppies on Craigslist. My husband was set on a boxer but considering that we travel 4 months out of the year and drive as well as fly across the country, there was no chance I was making that trip with a boxer on my lap much less carting one on an airplane. Looking for an alternative, much smaller dog, he fell in love with miniature schnauzers and schnoodles (schnauzer, poodle mix). We couldn't find either near us but that put me on the track of other poodle mixes. I discovered Yorkiepoos and was sold at first sight. We found our Phoebe girl, an all black Yokiepoo, right before Christmas that year. She stole all of our hearts right away, along with that of anyone else she came in contact with. She was gentle, sweet and tolerant of the kids' "affections". Over the next couple of years we became full fledged dog lovers. Phoebe went to obedience school and, though she was very smart and could do anything asked of her, she stayed true to being a Nina and was stubborn enough not to do what she didn't want to. We took her everywhere with us. She traveled all over the western US and while she loved the car she was intolerant of flying. She chewed through 3 travel carriers on a 2 leg flight from Montana to Sacramento. We learned quickly that Phoebe had tons of energy and was always up for playing. If we didn't oblige immediately she would sit on our laps, nose to nose and make it almost impossible not to engage with her. If further denied she would "talk" to us in her best Chewbaca voice until we couldn't ignore her any longer. We came to the realization that just as we had survived babyhood, we had survived puppy-hood as well and it might be time for a playmate for Phoebe. Someone to share her days with while we were at school and work and who could be her constant companion when we couldn't be with her.

Now at that time the idea of a second dog was merely a suggestion. A thought we had over dinner. It was nothing we were seriously considering in the immediate future. My husband came home one night and said he had seen an all white miniature schnauzer and I could tell instantly that he was smitten. We daydreamed about a tiny white puppy and talked about names. I mentioned Leonidas and his eyes lit up like kid on Christmas. So it was all set. We had a breed, knew we wanted a boy, to keep the peace with Phoebe, and a name. The puppy would come later.

A few weeks later as I was on drop off duty at school one of our long time families came through the line with a beautiful white schnauzer hanging out of the window. As they drove away I mentioned that I was going to take their dog home with me and found out that they had bred him and the puppies would be ready to be adopted in a week. It was like God opened a door and said "I am just waiting for you to walk through it". I immediately sent a text to my husband and had already adopted a puppy in my mind. I spoke to the owner several times over the next week and arranged for Elvin and the kids to go see the puppies. Elvin took a video of the puppies, 4 boys and 4 girls, all pure white, and we could tell right away which would be ours. The little boy with the red collar. All the puppies swarmed the kids but when the rest wandered off, "the red one" as he was dubbed, sat on Max's lap and didn't leave. A few days later I went to pick him up and take him home. Somehow in the space of just a few weeks our "daydream" of a second dog had turned into a reality and this puppy had just fallen into our laps. We were thrilled.

Leonidas fit into our family right away. He loved to snuggle which is important when the princess of the family thinks everything smaller than her exists for her to baby. He worshiped Phoebe and, though she was gentle, she made sure he knew she was the Alpha dog and he was okay with that. He made himself at home in our bed, just as Phoebe does. We were one big happy family. For a while.

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