Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday, Tripp!
Happy 10th Birthday, sweet boy! In a few short weeks, you will have been with our family for FIVE years. Can you believe it? I remember that Saturday in November so vividly. Your dad and I were newly married and we set out looking for plates and silverware at Target. We never made it inside to look at kitchenware, because we saw you sitting outside the Petco next door. Your big beautiful head looked down as people passed by. I drew a bead on you and immediately fell hard for your Eeyore-like personality, and I was certain you would make our new family whole. As your dad walked you around the shopping mall, I filled out paperwork and tried my hardest to convince the adoption agency that we were in this for the long haul. They were hesitant to adopt you to a young military couple, but we won them over with my persistence and your dad's winning personality. Once they finally agreed to let us keep you, they handed over your birth certificate and I knew it was meant to be. I got chills when I realized that we shared the same birthday. Any part of me that questioned whether this was the right (impulsive) decision went away. The answer was right there in front of me. I looked into your eyes and saw a blank stare; all 75 pounds of you shook because you were scared. You carried on like this for a long time; we grew frustrated. While we were aware of your rough past, we honestly thought love, long walks, and throwing a tennis ball would be enough. Boy, were we wrong! You didn't like any of that stuff. We were bamboozled! I watched countless episodes of The Dog Whisperer and spent hours online researching ways to "fix" you. Thanks for teaching me a thing or two about patience!

After six months of failing miserably, we introduced Beesly to our family. You were less than keen on her, but we saw signs of a "real" dog come to life. We'd never envisioned there was an alpha side to you, but she learned quickly that you were the boss around the house and you still are! It made your dad smile; it made me kind of nervous. Did we do the right thing? Eventually, you allowed yourself to love her. You've grown dependent on one another. Today, you're inseparable and livelier than ever. A once painfully submissive Retriever now has a boisterous and loving side. You were clueless about the purpose of dog toys and you didn't bark. These days, you can't get enough of a Frisbee and whenever your dad comes home from work, you exercise your voice with barks of excitement. You hated any form of affection, but now you walk into a room and seek it out on your own. I smile when I think about how far we've come. You made me sob incessantly, and you make me laugh hysterically. You'll always be a little awkward and quirky, but that's just the tune our family sings. You're one of a kind, and I love that about you! 

Tripp, you have so much life in you. I'm only grateful that we get to be around to witness your second wind!
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