Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finn's Story

I tell a lot of stories.  I've told our home story.  I've told our van story.  I've told our love story.  I've  told three birth stories.  I just wasn't sure anyone wanted to hear our dog story, too, but when I shared pictures on Facebook last week, several friends jumped in saying they'd love to hear how Finn came to be part of our family. 

I guess the story really began about three years ago when Maddie began begging for a pet.  Since we lived in a townhouse, no furry pets were allowed so we bought three fish.  The fish were a disaster and it seemed that I was always the one to find one dead after the kids had gone to bed and I had to sleep all night knowing that I had to share the bad news in the morning.  It has scarred me for life and I can't even look at the fish in the Walmart tanks without getting a sick feeling in my stomach.  {Really.} 
Repeatedly, Maddie asked for a pet and we held her off by saying, "We can't, but when we move to our own house someday, we'll think about it then."  Last May, we moved to our own house.  I mentioned getting a cat, but Maddie kept saying she'd like a dog.  I wasn't ready for how much work a dog involves so we  stalled. 

The week after Christmas, I was looking through the newspaper's classified ads and saw a listing for free black lab puppies.  Brian and I discussed it, and he decided to call the owner.  She only had one puppy left and there was another interested family, but she promised to call if that fell through.  We never heard anything and Maddie was none the wiser. 

At the end of January, Brian's boss came by to drop off some paperwork.  He mentioned that he had been to a local animal shelter and seen three black lab puppies up for adoption.  The shelter required that our whole family come visit before adopting so we tentatively told the kids that we were thinking about getting a dog.  Maddie was elated and the boys were warming to the idea, too.  (Until recently, Owen had been afraid of dogs and Gavin was more of a cat lover.)  We put in an application on one of the puppies, but again, another family was ahead of us and all three puppies were adopted. 

Since we were not in a hurry (well, Maddie was, but we were not), we decided to take our time and not rush things, but I continued to check the animal shelter website.  Most of the dogs that came through were older dogs, and we wanted a puppy that could grow up with our family and be trained to follow our house rules. 

In mid-February, another black lab puppy named Gideon came up for adoption.  This time, our application was first in line so we anxiously awaited its approval.  We waited an entire day and heard nothing, but we assumed the puppy was ours since there was no reason to think otherwise. Finally, there was a phone call two days after we applied.  The lady on the other end of the line was friendly.  "I have a few questions," she said.  "Are you planning for this dog to live outside?"  
"Yes," I answered. 

"Oh, well, we're going to have to stop this application right here.  We only let our dogs go to homes where they will be kept indoors." 

Brian wasn't home so I had to break the news to Maddie alone.  She held it together at first, but then she broke into sobs.  We talked about how we had prayed that we would only get  this puppy  if it was His will and that the Lord must have other plans for us.  If anything, that made her cry harder.

That same day, an ad on Craigslist caught my eye.  This time, a mother dog at a private residence had given birth to eleven black and white lab puppies and the owner was looking for new homes.  I corresponded with the lady via e-mail and phone and we set up to visit the puppies on a Monday morning.  This time we had the option of keeping it a secret.  I wanted to protect Maddie's heart from another disappointment, so we arranged for Brian's mom to come stay with the kids while we ran this special errand.

As soon as we met the puppies, we knew that we had come to the right place.  There were four left, two males and two females, two black and two white.  We chose a black male, snuggled him in the truck on a blanket, and began our drive home. 

Since this was to be a family dog, we wanted the whole family to have a part in naming him. During our puppy search, the kids had been name brainstorming and had compiled a list of about thirty names.  As we neared home, Brian and I started getting silly and calling out names we saw on signs and billboards. 

When we got home, I walked into the house and said hello to the kids.  They were busy coloring at the table, but glanced up a me briefly.  Brian walked in behind me holding the puppy.  Maddie looked up at him and said, "Hi, Daddy," then went back to coloring.  Then she stopped and looked again, before jumping up from the table.  Gavin said, "Is he our puppy?" 

That afternoon, we sat down to have an official naming meeting.  Brian and I had narrowed the list down to three names and we did a silent family vote.  The choices were Barker, Finn, or Cole, and Finn won the vote 4-2. (Alaine didn't vote!)   It's appropriate since now every one of our first names ends with a "n" sound-- Brian, Kristin, Gavin, Madelyn, Owen, Benjamin, Alaine, and Finn!

Winter seems to have passed us by this year so Maddie has spent every spare minute of these mild February days outside.  She rubs Finn to sleep and hold him while he naps. She brushes him and feeds him and trains him.  She plays and runs with him.  Her dream has come true.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story. Finn is too cute! We have played around with the idea of getting a dog for years now but we just honestly can't afford the added expense. Dog food is pricey! The cats would probably be scarred for life anyway lol.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...