Two years ago today, David brought home our puppy Ryder and my life was changed in an instant. It sounds funny to write that way about your dog, but that's how I feel. On September 11, 2011, David surprised me with a yellow lab puppy.
For practically a year before getting Ryder, David and I talked about and actively searched for a puppy or dog. We live in a condo with a small back yard, so while we wanted a dog, we weren't sure how we'd manage one. We even went and met other dogs. Specifically I remember a very large German Sheppard who was about 1 years old. Luckily, we passed on him. I can't even imagine if we had adopted that dog. Then a few months later, we looked at black lab mix puppies. While they were so cute, I was so scared about adopting a puppy. I was used to our quiet life at home, perfect hardwood floors, no dog hair, and doing whatever we wanted on a whim. David was getting restless and tired of me dragging him to see puppies/dogs and then changing my mind at the last minute. I guess I had commitment issues. Or we were just waiting for the right one. I was also obsessed with looking at lab rescue sites. I'm happy to report I no longer look.
David found Ryder on craigslist. He saw a posting on Saturday from a woman giving Ryder away for free. She lived in San Francisco with her husband and young daughter, but they couldn't keep him because the daughter was allergic to him. David said he e-mailed her inquiring and later that day the posting had been taken down. He said he figured they'd already found a home for him or it was fake. The lady e-mailed David back though and they talked on the phone. I guess he told her how much we wanted a dog, that we're active, my parents have a large backyard, and that we'd be the perfect couple for Ryder. He must have sold us to her well, because she said she'd picked David out of 4 other people who wanted him. Once she talked to David on the phone, she said if he'd come right now, he could take Ryder. This was all while I was at a 90 minute yoga class. He picked up Ryder, along with a crate, food, books, toys, and other miscellaneous items they'd bought for Ryder. They gave Ryder and all his stuff to David for FREE. They just wanted him to go to a good home.
I got home from yoga on Sunday afternoon and started baking some pepperoni pizza bread. David left a note on the kitchen table stating that he went to visit his mom and he'd be back later. When he walked in the door, I was in the kitchen, and he pushed the cutest, silliest, little yellow lab into the kitchen. My first words to David were, "I hate you". I know, pretty harsh, but since he'd taken the plunge at rescuing Ryder, I knew we had to keep him. I was scared of having a puppy.
I wasn't sure what we were going to do with Ryder during the week. He was too young to be left alone in the backyard, and we couldn't take him to work. We asked my brother's girlfriend, Alex if she'd come every other day to let him out of his crate and play with him during her classes. Luckily, she consented and so did David's brother, Justin. I have no idea what we would have done without those two. The first 3 months of having Ryder they helped us out so much.
Puppyhood with Ryder was pretty easy. We walked him two to three times a day, he slept great, and was already potty trained when we got him. He never ate one shoe and the most destruction he did to the inside of our was he accidentally took a key off my keyboard. Oh, I guess you could also say our hardwoods are pretty much filled with nail scratches everywhere but you get used to that.
Ryder gets along great with all dogs. He loves Lexi, but also loves playing with Koda, Maverick, and most recently, Donner. He's very gentle and we know one day he'll be a great big brother, but for right now, he's our baby.
Ryder goes on hikes, to the beach, swims, runs, plays ball, chases us on mountain bikes in Truckee or on ATV's. His favorite activity by far is swimming, but he also loves to be chased. He has the silliest waddle that my parents and I adore. Every time he does his little waddle we can't help but crack up. He's a great cuddle bear during the winter, but during the summer he'd much rather lay on the tile in the kitchen or on the hardwoods in corners. Anytime I chop a vegetable he's right there. His favorites are kale stems and bell peppers and he does not like swiss chard.
Luckily, during the week I now take him to work. My dad had a pen built for Ryder, Lexi, and Maverick to hang out together during the day. When it's hot we put a pool out there for them, but they usually play in the mornings, and sleep in the afternoons together. When I get home either David and I take him on a jog or walk. The weekends are always filled with either hiking, swimming, or playing with friends. His favorite place is Truckee and he loves to stick his head out the window when we're driving. He can do it for an hour before he likes to take a rest.
Ryder was there when we got engaged, and he's been in our engagement photos, and our wedding. We even decided on our wedding venue based on the fact that they'd allow Ryder to be in it. He was our ring bearer. He's just as much a part of our family as me or David. We're ridiculously in love with this boy. We're so lucky that the lady in SF decided David was a good fit for him. We truly believe that no one else would be as good of parent's to Ryder as we are. I know, it sounds pretty crazy to profess this kind of love to our dog, but he's our best friend and we pretty much think he's the best dog ever.
We love you, Ryder & we're so excited to spend the next two years with you, too!
If you have a dog, go give your pup an extra hug and kiss today.