I didn’t write in December. Not because I didn’t want to, or because there wasn’t anything to say, but because I was decompressing– learning myself a little more, figuring things out and trying my best to prioritize the way things would best suit where I am, where we are, right now. It wasn’t always an easy thing and it required making some difficult decisions and some incredible decisions, but I think– I feel– that they were the right ones.
One thing that I’ve felt the pressure of over the last year was for a puppy. The idea of one, the planning of one, the overwhelming prospect of bringing another dog into our lives. In some ways it felt like a betrayal to Bolt who, in so many ways, has been my dream of a dog. Who I feel a constant need to do better by, to do better for. He’s in the prime of his agility career, current shoulder rehab notwithstanding. How could I bring in a puppy that would require so much time, energy, and love? At the same time, this competing feeling of a non-existent biological clock was in the back of my head (enter Mona Lisa Vito, please) counting down the time of Bolt’s career and the time to raise and train a puppy and this deep, consistent yearning for one.
For a long time, I thought the only solution to this fear was to take a puppy from Bolt. It became an ultimate goal that I started chasing long ago.
When we returned from AWC in the fall I had another plan in place to breed. It would be his third of the year, with the last two not taking (I could list a dozen reasons why we think that was the case, but to what end?). Each time I held my breath for the three weeks in between breedings, clutching a phone tightly, waiting to hear that there were puppies and that yes, there was one for me. But that call never came. Instead it was typically in the form of a sad-faced emoji-filled text mourning the loss of all that potential. But this third one, it was the one I had put more faith in than the others. I was well-researched, well-timed, and all medical signs pointed to a positive outcome. But yet, three weeks passed, and no puppies.
A friend told me a long time ago that breeding is not for the faint of heart. I didn’t entirely understand that point then– even growing up with a breeder in the family it seemed pretty straight forward. Blood drawn, numbers read, puppies born. How silly, how naive– I have an even greater respect for those who take on this immense responsibility living through just a fraction of the emotions they endure.
Before all this though, months prior, I had reached out across the sea on a whim with the encouragement from a good friend. It was a long-shot, an informational, an introduction. There were no expectations other than conversation and hopefully a new connection. That connection was made and I was optimistic for the future, of a someday maybe some years down the line.
Time passed and a surprising message came. Things had fallen into place– quickly– and suddenly an opportunity was on the horizon. A puppy from a breeding I was admiring from over 3,000 miles away. A puppy whose photo I had saved on my phone long before I knew there was a chance he could be mine. I’m not sure what it was, but I was drawn to him even then, even so young. His eyes were bright, smart, and maybe just a bit naughty.
And like that, plans were made, flights were booked, and names were debated. In three long weeks I’ll be able to hold him for the first time as we make our first cross-sea travels home from the Netherlands.
So welcome to you, little love, my little “Hero”: Puck x Avi– Evicarda’s You Can Beat the World. A registered name bestowed by his breeder which at first, felt big for a little puppy, but now is one that feels fitting.
We should never dream small and a part of me feels that this new path is one that I needed to take. It feels brave to open myself back up to another dog and to trust this process, as strange as that may sound. I have a feeling this bold, bouncy, lovable boy will find his place quickly in our lives. Some have asked how Bolt will adjust (Nike, less so– he is so simply happy in his old age) with a new puppy. The truth is, we must trust our dogs more with an ability to adapt. Bolt has always adored puppies and I know he will enjoy a new, younger companion. I’m so grateful that Hero will grow up beside my two boys who have much to teach him. Like with Bolt and Nike, I will always strive to do my best for him, as I know he will for me. A new adventure awaits us all, as daunting and exciting and wonderful as it is.