Yep, we got a dog!
Tim and I have this really interesting habit of our lives being crazy and then we decide to make it even crazier.
We moved from Boise to northern Idaho when Presley was 3 months old.
We got pregnant with Sawyer when Presley was 8 months old.
We got an 8 week old puppy named Strauss when we had 2 under 2.
Then four weeks later we found out we were having twins.
We had twins when we could not handle having twins.
We adopted my brother which made us have 5 under 4.
We moved to California with 5 under 5 and drove the whole way from Washington to San Jose, only stopping for a short hotel sleep.
We got pregnant with Bowie right before we were suppose to move to Texas.
The universe changed the course and sent us to Colorado, while I was on bedrest.
The next bullet point is this: 2020 was the craziest year ever so we decided to get a german shepherd puppy.
How did we come to this decision?
Ahem - how did I come to this decision?
Tim was sort of along for the ride. But spoiler alert: he's completely obsessed with her.
Easton has always loved dogs. Always. Dogs are his kryptonite and always have been. He has loved his Pluto stuffed animal since the day we got him. He would watch Lady and The Tramp over and over and over. The sequel as well!
I've bought him different species of stuffed animals over the years and he never once played with them. He has always only wanted dogs. He's the one who always asks to feed our dog Strauss. He's the one who with throw sticks and balls for Strauss in the backyard. When we're out and about, he seeks out the face lick from strangers' pups. His world, from a very young age, has always revolved around dogs.
Recently, he's started to express more of a love of police and police dogs. Honestly maybe he's been loving them for a long time but I finally started to listen. He has always preferred the Paw Patrol Chase over any of the other Paw Patrols. It seemed like he started pointing out police cars more and asking more questions about what police pull people over for and how long a police goes to work and if police use their guns a lot and how loud the sirens on a police car can get.
Police, police, police. It was just this insane echo that wouldn't stop.
Then it started to be k-9's. I can't really remember when it changed to k-9's but he would point out German Shepherds constantly and say "there's a police dog! There's another one! Look that one is a police dog too!" He started playing with his stuffed animals as police k-9's and started asking for more police things.
The love of it just kept growing!
His birthday was coming up and as we were coming up with ideas for that, that's when it became very apparent that all he wanted was k-9 stuff. All he wanted was pictures of K-9's from police officers.
So I made a super simple post asking if anyone knew a k-9 officer that would be willing to send a card to him. I got quite a bit of feedback! One person even suggested that we send letters to different departments and see what types of things they could send to us. I mentioned the idea to Easton and he was so excited to write a letter, asking for pictures of more k-9's.
We received way more stuff than just pictures! I could not even believe the amount of things these departments sent and the generosity of them all. I had no idea they would do such an amazing job of making a little boy so happy!
That's really cool and stuff...but like...*why* get an actual dog?
-The easy answer? My dad would have gotten the dog.
At the end of the day, I really try to honor things I know his parents would have done.
My dad was always trying to make our random dreams come true. He flew my brother to New York to take modeling pictures when my brother showed interest. He drove me to Canada for acting auditions when I went through an "I want to be an actress" phase. He started the lacrosse program at our school when I wanted to play lacrosse. He was always trying to be the do-er and foster our interests as kids.
Easton's mom was also a huge animal lover. She was always surrounded by animals and she had this deep love of caring for them.
I know if Easton was showing this much interest in police dogs, they would have gone out and got him a German Shepherd puppy. My dad was never a big animal person but he would have sucked it up for his child. He did for me as a child with my own dog Levi. (That's how Strauss got his name!)
-The in depth answer? I think this will be a great outlet for Easton.
Our goal is to get them into training together and ultimately agility training. I really think Easton will excel at this. Easton LOVES to feel needed. He loves that feeling of someone counting on him to do something. What more perfect opportunity for fostering that, than a dog who will rely on him? The bonding time these types of training sessions will create for him too, is huge.
I cannot wait to see how this all unfolds!
Then I had a dream.
My father was in this dream and so was Easton. My father was holding an adorable german shepherd puppy and handed it to Easton. Easton stood up and hugged him and my father looked over at me and smiled. Then I woke up.
After that, it was a done deal for me. We had to get a dog.
So knowing all of this...where do you begin to look for the perfect k-9 for Easton?
I first started with local rescues. Strauss was adopted from a rescue so I knew the great things rescues do and stand for. I applied to 4 of them with puppies and received emails back stating we were denied because of two things: 1) The age and amount of children we have under 10 and 2) that we aren't homeowners. They don't adopt puppies to people who rent.
So then I decided to change course and look for an older dog, one that isn't a puppy. We didn't have to be homeowners for that through these agencies. But again, they denied us because of the age and amount of children we had under 10. They didn't feel comfortable with the ages because they didn't want to be responsible for something happening with the dog and kids. I didn't feel comfortable with lying.
So then I started looking at places out of state...pounds, humane societies, etc. I found a cutie pie in California but they weren't versed on shipping puppies so they didn't really help me. I decided not to pursue it further.
I searched and searched and searched. I became obsessive about it.
I then turned my attention to breeders. I realized I should probably LEARN more about German Shepherds before I adopt one. So many were very kind and gracious about giving me more info about working lines vs show lines, diets, exercise, training, and more. I learned a lot about things I never even considered. I was so appreciative of them.
Time marched on and I was still scouring the internet for a puppy. My screen time on my phone exploded by like 60% because it's literally all I did. Search for puppies. Read about German Shepherds. Search for puppies. Read about German Shepherds. Round and round I went.
I really wanted to find a puppy that was going to be born on Easton's birthday. I really wanted them to have this special connection. So I talked with a lot of different people I knew would have puppies around November 13th and just waited as un-patiently as I could for this to happen.
Then ON Easton's birthday (Nov.13) a friend of mine in Spokane Washington contacted me about a litter of german shepherds she knew about. She sent me the Facebook post. There was one female left.
Easton was adopted in Spokane. It felt like of all places in the US I had looked at, Spokane? Really?
But the absolute kicker was that this little puppy was born on Easton's biological mother's birthday.
You know me...the signs were there. This was a done deal. The universe wrapped up this little present and had to deliver her to my eyes in an off-the-wall way. Here I was waiting for a puppy that would be born on his birthday...but all along it was born on his mom's birthday.
Truly gives me goosebumps knowing I knew the birthday of this puppy would be special but I just had the wrong person's birthdate in my mind.
This little fluffy nugget looked just like the puppy my dad handed to Easton in that dream. I emailed the owner immediately and asked her if she knew how to ship a puppy. I basically explained Easton's whole life story and why we needed this specific one. I only ever wanted boy dogs but for some reason Easton getting a girl made the most sense.
The woman had no idea how to ship a puppy but offered to meet us at the airport if we wanted to fly in to get her.
I was sitting in Red Robin with Tim and Easton, celebrating Easton's birthday with a nice dinner. It's a tradition we do with all of the kids. They get to choose where we go for dinner with just Tim and I. I showed Tim the pictures, the emails back and forth, and his opinion of it all. He was really skeptical of it all but said if I was being serious, I needed to figure out how to fly with a puppy. He was willing to fly to Spokane but he wanted me to figure out the details.
I told her we were serious about doing it but that I needed a little bit of time to figure out flights. I put a small deposit down to prove I wasn't kidding and then got to work scouring the internet for information. It is actually a lot easier to fly with a puppy in the cabin than I originally thought.
We Amazon Prime-d her a little dog carrier for the plane so she could make sure it would work well enough for the 2 hour flight. Side note: the dimensions airplanes require for carriers is so insane.
Tim was REAL excited about flying to get a dog. (Insert major sarcasm here) He thought I was insane for not waiting for a puppy closer to us. I know. I was insane. But I was driven by the heavens for this.
The nonstop flights in and out of Spokane are sparse due to Covid. The flight we found from Denver would land in Spokane at 9:05. That same plane would be returning to Denver at 9:57. So basically I would never be able to handle that. My anxiety would be at an all-time high and I would probably have a heart attack while on that first flight wondering if the woman would be there in time, if I could get back through security fast enough, if the carrier would fit, etc.
But my cool-as-a-cucumber husband can totally handle that pressure. So he was the one that got to perform it.
I was a nervous wreck all week leading up to it, wondering if flights would be cancelled due to Covid. I checked his flight day after day to make sure enough people would be on it to make the trip worthwhile for the airline. But not too many people because...germs.
Friday came and I dropped Tim off at the airport really early. I wanted to throw up I was so nervous for him! He also forgot to change his slippers when we left that morning so he had to walk through the airport and onto his plane in his Croc slippers. It made my total morning! It was hysterical!
But everything went so smoothly. He was able to find the woman easily at the airport and he got back through Spokane security and back to his flight without any hiccups.
His little black heart about adding this new family member was melted instantly.
He said she was a perfect little angel on the flight!
I brought Easton with me to the airport and had him close his eyes while Tim got in the car. When he opened his eyes, he was the happiest kid ever! He had tears in his eyes as he was realizing this baby was for him.
Easton had a doctor's appointment in Denver so it worked out perfectly, time wise. We were able to scoop up Tim at the airport, go to a Petsmart to pick out a new collar and name tag, and then head to his appointment.
When we first asked Easton what he wanted to name her, he said Rose. He named a stuffed german shepherd he's had for years now, Rose. It's a super pretty name. But it's not quite a police k-9 name. His other top 3 picks were Nevy, Keila, and Jovi.
We chatted about each of them and we ultimately ended up with Jovi Joy Schultz, so we could nickname her JoJo.
All of the other kids were just as excited about this new adventure!
Welcome to the family, Jovi! I cannot wait to watch you grow!!