“Whoever declared that love at first sight doesn’t exist has never witnessed the purity of a puppy or looked deep into a puppy’s eyes. If they did, their lives would change considerably.”
― Elizabeth Parker,
For me finding, Poppy, our rescue dog was a case of love at first sight.
Her image popped up on the Sterling Animal Shelters‘ “dogs looking for a good home” page. This was 5 years ago now, but still I remember seeing that image like it was yesterday. I had become obsessed with the idea of a rescue for our little family. John was 4 and Conor had just turned 1. Perhaps, I was broody, but I knew in my heart that we needed another baby in the house. I’d become obsessed, scouring the internet for our dog. I’d look at sites and photos. Most places didn’t want to adopt out to a family with such young children, which I couldn’t understand.
Anyway, it was January and the snow was softly falling out our window and I exclaimed to Luke, “We NEED to go meet this dog.” Her name was Kim, at the time. We all have to go and meet this puppy. She’s going to be available on January 5th and we all have to go!
As many of you know, my husband is a very patient man. He’s pretty flexible, and while, the dog was my idea, he also grew up with dogs. He has fond memories of his dog, Pip. I have the best memories of my childhood dog, Honey Bee, who was a white toy poodle.
We wanted our boys to grow up with these same experiences.
We all piled into the car to visit the shelter on the morning of January 5th, which is quite a long drive. In the car we discussed names and the idea of welcoming a dog into our home. I also wanted to be careful not to get the boys’ hopes too high.
We were the first to arrive at Sterling Animal Shelter and Poppy was the first dog we met. We spent a lot of time with her. It was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT for all of us. I know this sounds so strange but she kind of gave us hugs with her head.
She was so little then – I think 17 pounds.
Her first days at home were so special.
She’s grown some since and so have our boys. Actually, the three of them have grown up together.
Running on the beach.
Sitting in the shade.
Going on adventures.
She loves spending time down the by She Shed where she rolls on the gravel, and sun bathes.
She’s also claimed the guest room as her own (sigh)…
Now that the boys are at school full time, Poppy’s become my constant companion. We go for long walks on the beach, to the lighthouse or on the cliffs. She loves the wind in her hair. She has feathery fur like Farrah Fawcett. The strangest thing is I get stopped most days by complete strangers; they all want to say hi to her. Or they want to know what breed she is. One weekend, a woman stopped her car and got out to pet Poppy, she knew all about Flat Coats, calling her a “Flatty”, and had three, her last one had just passed away.
Poppy is a mixed breed. She’s lab mixed with flat-coated retriever. Her coat is so soft. I thought it was just puppy hair but she never ever outgrew it. Her temperament is as soft as her coat. She can feel when children are worried about her, and she’ll either sit or lay down. She isn’t a great retriever which is surprising and she doesn’t like going in the water at all, another strange thing for a retriever. She DOES love treats, long walks, belly rubs, chicken and cheese.
Oh, and she also loves going into work with Luke. She goes in about once a week. There’s another dog in Luke’s work named Pippa. Poppy and Pippa play all day together. Our Poppy is exhausted when she gets home. On those days, I miss her presence so much but know she’s having a great time in the big city.
I’d always dreamed of having a little girl and I was blessed with two amazing sons who I love so very much. Well, I was blessed with this dark haired beauty (from another mother) and I’m so grateful.
When I thought about adding to our family, for our boys, I didn’t think of how much she’d touch my own heart. I underestimate the love of a dog and how one can’t help but fall in love right back. I enjoy her company and her gentleness so much. Being with her is the best kind of therapy.
Her unconditional love, her gentle soul and loving eyes. Her fur feels like soft, black velvet and we all love chasing her around the yard. We’re one lucky family!
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
― Karen Davison
That is how my dog saved my life and we saved hers.
I will always, always be grateful for her.