Two Years with Ryder

by Kelli H. on September 11, 2013

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.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Alysia @ Slim Sanity September 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

Awwww! I love the 2011/2013 pics on the beach! How adorable! They grow up so fast, don’t they? πŸ™‚


Michelle O September 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

This is the best post ever. I actually got a little teary. I am the same way about the Honey Bear (or I was until I had Austin, that changed things even though I always promised it wouldnt) I will give Honey an extra kiss today though. So cute.


Made in Sonoma September 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I’m sure the same thing will happen to us when we have kids. Though, David does promise it won’t change things, but deep down I think he knows it will…haha


sonia the mexigarian September 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Awwwwww. They grow up so fast. I love the photos, especially of the one one the beach showing his growth. I never knew he was a ‘rescue’. how sweet! He seems like such a great pup! I was tearing up, thinking of our Lando.We’ve had him for two years too πŸ™‚ Extra hug and kiss to my furry boy. Happy Ryder anniversary! <3


Nanny September 11, 2013 at 6:15 pm

What a nice story and adorable pictures, I remember when you took him to Tahoe, he was so much fun to watch playing in the water and on the beach, and you are right dogs are the best companions, I love my Bogie.


Lisa September 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Oh my gosh! I’ve died and gone to puppy heaven! Those photos are adorable!


Tara September 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I’m not the biggest dog fan but I loved this post! I would be upset with your boyfriend if he brought a dog home without me knowing first but I’m so happy it worked out for you guys. πŸ™‚ Somethings were just meant to be.

It also doesn’t hurt that Ryder is absolutely adorable!


Katie @ Blonde Ambition September 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

This is so sweet! I love that first before and after picture too.


SchaafHouse September 12, 2013 at 1:05 am

I always love a reason to give my Pepper an extra huge and kiss.


Marin mama cooks September 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

OMG! That was such a sweet post and made me tear up. You all were meant to be together, I truly believe that. It’s so funny that you posted this because we’re in the market for a puppy and I’m so excited but yet nervous at the same time. I know it’s going to be tons of work, but my kids are older now and are going to take a huge part of the responsibility. We have dog sat a number of times and they have really stepped it up, so I know they are ready.
Congrats on 2 amazing years with Ryder and it’s great to see how much you got over the things that scared you about getting a dog. It’s the same thing with having a child, it seems overwhelming but when you just do it, you just go with the flow and it all works out and you can’t imagine your life being any other way. You just want to keep adding to the family because family is what matters the most in life! Great post girl! xoxo, Jackie


Made in Sonoma September 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Your kids definitely seem old enough now to handle a dog and help out with the responsibility. That will be so exciting!


Sarah Cook September 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I got teary eyed reading this! The love you have for your dog is truly indescribable.
That’s awesome that you got him already potty trained. That’s the hardest part. And I love the picture of Ryder and your husband on the beach.

Coco was pretty fond of Truckee too when we took her there.We are thinking of adopting another dog soon since she lost her buddy of 10 yrs (my first dog) back in May. But I get nervous thinking about the problems that might ensue. We’ll see!


Made in Sonoma September 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Potty training is so difficult! I’m so happy we got out of it. πŸ™‚

I’m so sorry you lost your first dog recently. I’ve gone through that many times. Sometimes it’s hard to think about getting another one, but other times it helps you heal, too. Each dog is so different, and I love what I’ve learned from all my pets growing up. They teach and comfort us so much!


mOm September 13, 2013 at 2:33 am

If I didn’t already have a dog, this post would make me want to go out and adopt one! Where’s Lexi? I’m going to give her a big hug and a bone right now. Happy 2 years with Ryder and many many more!


janerunssf September 13, 2013 at 5:35 am

Ryder is one lucky pup! I can’t wait to have one of my own. I am hoping early next year!


Maren September 13, 2013 at 6:19 am

ryder is so cute! I remember thinking he looked so charming in those first photos you posted of him 2 years ago. I think ryder made your little family complete. He’s everything we hope Donner will one day be. We miss you guys lets hang out soon. Happy birthday ryder!!!


Made in Sonoma September 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

That’s so sweet! Donner’s still a big puppy! Yes, we def. want to get together asap.


~Aunt Shellie~ September 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Really cute pictures! You do capture such funny shots of him, especially in the fountain! haha
After reading this Hanna is getting homemade pumpkin bones today!
Love the three of you~


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