For several years the hubby and I have wanted a child... a four legged child that is! When we first started dating I had a cat, Hurley, and then shortly after, we got another kitten, O'Neil. This was when I lived in a 1 bedroom apartment! It was the perfect size for two people, but 2 rambunctious male cats? Not so much! When they were fully grown and extremely playful, we would wake up in the middle of the night to glass crashing, banging, and lots of other strange sounds! I'd walk into the living room and kitchen to find decorations, candle holders, plates, etc. broken on the ground. It eventually became too much! They were the most loving cats, but they were kept in an apartment far too small for their playful personalities! Eventually we took them to my mother's home (where in a future post about our wedding, you'll see why). She has lots of land and room for them to run, play, climb trees, and bring her presents (small furry rodents). They honestly live the life, and I am so glad we took them to my moms to live, even though I miss them everyday!
Since moving into our home, with a yard, and plenty of space, over 2.5 years ago, we really have wanted a dog. A yellow lab to be exact. For the longest time I was 100% on board to getting one, the husband, not so much. I'd like to think he was not totally sold on the idea because he'd have a bit more responsibility, but he'll never admit that ;) After we got engaged and I finally sold him on the idea of getting a dog, we decided it would be best to wait till after the wedding! We wanted to invest as much time in a new puppy as we possibly could, and felt that planning a wedding and becoming used to new home ownership would prohibit that a bit. Not to mention, it gave us plenty of time to research and look for the perfect pup for us!
Fast forward to August 2011, the hubby's aunt told us she knew someone selling yellow lab puppies! Turned out we knew the folks too so it seemed like it would be a good match. We knew the breeders, they were only 30 minutes away, and they knew both my family and the hubby's! I contacted the breeder, told him we were interested and arranged a time to check out the litter of adorable pups. A few weeks later we went and picked out our new son, Reef Curren Harrell.
Preparing for him was fun for me! I visited PetSmart almost daily, bought a book "Everything You Need to Know About Labrador Retrievers", did as much googling and research as I possibly could and puppy proofed our home. We were like kids on Christmas Eve the night before I was going to pick him up! We couldn't sleep and kept talking in bed about how we hoped he would be! To say we were excited to be puppy parents was an understatement!
I was picking Baby Reef up after work on a Friday and I seriously felt as though my day was going by as slow as molasses! To make matters worse, traffic was at an all time high and what would normally take 45 minutes to an hour to get to our baby, it took almost 2 hours! Once I picked him up, I got him in his crate, and sat him in the front seat of my Civic (tight squeeze!) where he proceeded to whine the whole 35 minute drive to see the hubby's softball team play. He ended up being a bit more relaxed on the way home from the ball fields! Once we got him home we introduced him to the house and his GiGi (my mother) came over to meet her first grandchild!
Gigi with her Grandbaby
Looking a little nervous
That weekend was honestly what I assume (and from what I hear) like having a newborn! We didn't get ANY sleep. He whined and cried in the most heart wrenching way that I ended up sleeping, barely, on the couch next to his crate. Between taking him out every two hours to potty and the crying we were pooped and red eyed! By Sunday night, he had stopped crying and we were able to catch some Zzz before Monday's work day!
I never thought leaving him baby gated in the kitchen would send me into an emotional mess on that Monday. I put his crate in the kitchen with his blankets and toys and I laid out puppy pads for him to use. I kissed him good bye and ran like hell. And then I started to cry and sobbed all the way to work and then cried some more when I got to work. I felt like the worst mother in the world, and could relate to those moms I would see crying when dropping their children off at the daycare I worked at one summer! I felt awful! Luckily the hubby was home by 1pm that afternoon so he wasn't home by himself for a full 8 hours! Leaving him got a little easier each day, but now Im back to square one. Why you ask? Well first I have to say that Baby Reef is extremely smart. After a month of being baby gated in the kitchen, he learned how to climb over the baby gates AND climb back over them to get back into the kitchen! Now, after buying a large crate and keeping him in that while we are gone, he has learned how to escape from that as well! However, the best part is, he does not mess with anything, he either sleeps on the couch or plays with his toys in the middle of the floor. He never ceases to amaze us with his Houdini skills! Tonight was the first night we left him without putting him in the crate and I was nervous as hell! However, it seems as though I have nothing to worry about. We pulled up into the drive way and he met us at the door all groggy eyed from sleeping on the couch! Still uneasy about leaving him Monday but I guess until he proves he needs to be in a crate, we will just leave him to his couch and toys!
The hubby mentions a lot how he is so glad we got Baby Reef and that he can't imagine having any other kind of dog! He completes our family and we love him just as if he was in fact a human child of ours! We take him with us to almost anywhere that allows dogs, he even has 2 "diaper bags", he goes to the vet regularly, eats the best of the best puppy food, and even eats apples, yogurt blueberries and carrots on the regular, he also sleeps with us and we wouldnt have it any other way. He was potty trained within 3 weeks of being with us, he does not bark (seriously, he can go a whole week or longer without barking!), and he doesn't tear up furniture, shoes, or other items that do not belong to him. I'd say the only "bad" things he does are suck on my fuzzy socks (which I have to hide because if they hit the floor, he has them) and he gets overly excited when people come over, however we are working with him on that and he has calmed down a lot!
I'm going to leave you with some photos of Baby Reef and once I figure out how, I will post a new video which I took today of his first experience in a pond! He has been to the beach once but that was when he was 2 months old and on a leash and didnt seem to know what to do with water! My how that has changed!
Hoping all of you Real Young Housewives get to experience the unconditional love of a furry child!! Till next time my gorgeous gals! xoxo!