Here we go, again

Maverick - Up close and personalIf I had a category for it, I’d file this post under ‘What was I thinking.’ We did it. Last November, we brought home a puppy.

It’s possible both Lisa and I may not have been thinking straight. We had just driven back from Las Vegas that evening and were feeling pretty out of it. I could also pin this on Abbey. She’s been persistent about wanting us to get another dog. When she gets to the point of really wanting something, she’s relentless and wears you down. So maybe that was it.

No matter the case, nearly a year after the loss of Blake, our one and only, the original family dog, we’ve added another one to the mix. Maverick has become a permanent addition in our house.

Truth be told, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for me to get another dog. I like dogs and enjoy the companionship. I just had a couple of boxes that needed to be checked before getting another one, and Maverick met all the requirements.

Maverick at 10 weeks

Maverick is a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Queensland Heeler. It wasn’t a planned breeding, so the owner just wanted to make sure the pups were placed in good homes (translation: the price was right – not free, but close enough). The first few weeks were a challenge, There were the sleepless nights during kennel training, the accidents while house training, the relentless energy, which he still has, and the terrorizing of our backyard until he had all his shots and we could take him out for walks. That aside, he’s been a really good dog. Nothing of significance has been damaged, and he already has a plethora of entertaining mannerisms and a ton of character. All in all, he’s going to be another great family dog.

Raising a puppy the second time around is also a lot easier. I had been around puppies growing up, but now everyone in the house knows what to expect. Everyone is enjoying the dog a lot more, even Lisa. Even though she says she is not a dog lover, I see her enjoying her time with Maverick at this stage a lot more. She also enjoys spoiling him, such as putting a few extra treats in his bowl around feeding time. Of course, that’s nothing next to the way I spoil him on those nights when I fire up the grill, but I digress.

Dogs as a reminder of important life lessons

Maverick at 3 months
Maverick at 3 months – the one constant with puppies is that they grow, quickly!

Dogs, and especially puppies, are a lot of work. They are also a significant responsibility. It makes it a little more challenging to pick up and go whenever you want. On the other hand, dogs are also a source of companionship and joy. It reminds you that as with anything in life, and especially your relationships, that you get back what you invest. In the case of a dog, you get back your investment plus a lot more. When treated properly, a dog will be a loyal companion to everyone in the family and a friend for life. They stick with you through the good times and the bad. They have the uncanny ability to know when to celebrate with you when things are going great and know when to comfort you what things aren’t going so well.

It’s also important to always remember that dogs are only with us for a short time. So, to get the most out of your relationship with one, it’s important to enjoy each and every day you have with your dog. They are a reminder to us that we must enjoy the moment. And when the end comes, which it inevitably will, it will help us to know that we both enjoyed a life well lived. Somewhere in there are valuable lessons that we can all take to heart.

The ‘glue factor’

During her Christmas break from school, Courtney made a friend for life.

From my experience, I’ve found that dogs also serve another valuable purpose for a family – they bring us closer together. Having and raising a dog develops a common bond and shared experience among everyone. There’s all the stories, the entertaining things they do, and their mannerisms that we will all remember. There’s the shared experiences, whether it’s a day at the beach, a hike, or the regular walking and exercise we like to do with our dogs. Done right, dogs can provide the glue, the cohesion, that helps to bring and hold a family together.

So Maverick, welcome to the family. We’re all looking forward to enjoying our time together with you and the many,many good times ahead!

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