Dogs have a funny place in my heart, and in January of 2006, we had to make the gut wrenching decision to put our beloved chocolate lab Cesar to rest. He was the dog that set the bar for all the other pets we would own.
The initial sadness of putting a pet to sleep takes you down a very sad slippery slope. I remember getting home and Carl saying “let’s wait to get a new dog.”
I waited about 5 minutes before I threw open the paper to look for Labrador puppies. As the weekend approached I convinced Adyn to go with me to Floresville to look at the last of little black Labrador puppies. We drove out and as we approached the home where the puppy was, we saw a huge black lab in the front yard. We parked and got out, the owner came out and said “hello, this is the male lab -father of the puppy litter.” Adyn and I looked at each other, then saw a puppy hiding under a chair. In the backyard, I could see another black lab relentlessly jumping up and down.
The owner pointed and said “she is the mama this is not easy for her. But, if you want the puppy I will come down on the price.”
SOLD! We drove home with the puppy shaking in Adyn’s arms. As we drove in, Carl was out front and we let the puppy out. Carl starts to nod his head and immediately shuts down. He wants nothing to do with this puppy. We get her (female) set up and slowly Carl starts to play with her. After a few days she is named Indianapolis or Indy for short after the Indianapolis 500, since she runs in circles as fast as she can. She quickly became Nathan’s dog as he came home to take her back to college with him so he could work on training her. There were more than a few times Nathan would call in full frustration about Indy. I am pretty sure she actually jumped on top of one of Nathan’s girlfriends and peed on her at one point. When Nathan called to tell me I think my response was, “oh Indy is deciding who you should date now? Huh?”
As Nathan’s semester came to an end he brought Indy home for the summer. She was a small lanky puppy but was going to puppy camp for training. The summer flew by and when Indy came home she was the most perfect dog. While we still missed Cesar, this new puppy was finding her way into our hearts.
Then the other shoe dropped. Carl came home from Boerne with a male black Labrador puppy. I was at the office when Adyn called me to say her dad had come home with a new puppy and Indy was going nuts. I had answered my phone at the office and listened to what she had to say, and then said, “I am so sorry you must have the wrong phone number.” And I hung up the phone. Adyn called back, “Mom!!! Come home!”
I arrived home and Indy was running circles around the couch as the new puppy cowered underneath it. The torture had begun, and it was complete chaos in the house. Carl had a smile from ear to ear saying, “he was the last one and Indy needed a friend.” And in my head I thought, this is going to be bananas. At one point I think I wanted to just give them both away. They were so mischievous.
And so the partnership had begun. As we moved through the years, they became my evening company when Carl worked late or traveled. They became the best fur ball friends ever. When Carl made his last trip back to San Antonio, Indy gave him a huge hug and Oliver gave him a quick snug. They somehow knew Carl was not feeling well.
And when I got home to my Dad’s house after Carl had passed away, I was greeted with lots of puppy kisses. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t our house, they were there to greet me nonetheless. They have been with me every step of the way as I grieved and are still my loving partners. I couldn’t have even imagined the sense of security they would bring me after losing Carl, and given the addition of Walter, these dogs never leave my side. They did more than save me, they have become my first response team through my journey without Carl.