Dear Baby Z,
It struck me last night that I’ve been horribly remiss on this blog by neglecting to introduce you to a very important member of your future family – our dog, Henry. Although I’ve mentioned Henry before on a few posts, he plays such a major role in our lives that he deserves a special post of his own. After all, we’re hoping that the two of you will become the very bestest of friends!
The story of our dog starts two years ago, when your Dad and I were vacationing in Chesapeake Bay over Memorial Day weekend; it’s our little annual family tradition to take a road trip each Memorial Day weekend to wherever the wind blows us – and that year, the wind was blowing your Mom towards all-you-can-eat Maryland blue crabs. We were staying in the quiet, quaint little town of Oxford, Maryland (where reportedly, there are more benches in the town than there are people to sit in them); we had just finished dinner and were strolling down the street towards our bed and breakfast when we saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench (where else?) with the cutest, fluffiest dog that we’ve ever seen. He was a Coton de Tuléar, a breed that your Dad and I had never heard of at that point, and he took a sudden interest in licking every inch of your Dad’s face.
Afterwards, I slyly looked over at your Dad, who was still dreamy-eyed from his unexpected face bath, and asked him, “Do you want to get one?”
Your Dad never stood a chance.
When we got back to the city, your Mom was on a one-woman mission to find the perfect apartment dog. First, our future hound had to be no more than 30 pounds (our building restricts dogs to under 35 pounds). Second, we wanted a dog that did not shed, or shed very minimally, because we weren’t sure if your Dad was allergic to dogs since he’s never owned any growing up. We figured the less doggy dander, the better. And lastly, he can’t be too much of a yapper or a guard dog because we lived in an apartment building and we didn’t want our neighbors to complain of barking. With these restrictions, we ruled out adopting a shelter puppy, which was what we originally wanted to do, because it was more difficult to determine a shelter puppy’s eventual size and temperament.
After weeks and weeks of research, I finally found the perfect breed for us – a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle – or more commonly known as, a cockapoo. According to several breed websites, cockapoo are smart (like their poodle ancestors), small to medium-sized, affectionate, loving, playful and score low on both the barking and shedding scale. And best of all, they are HOLY FLUFFY AND ADORABLE.
I won’t bore you with the crazy details of my subsequent search for a reputable cockapoo breeder, but fast forward two months and, on August 22, 2010, Henry the cockapoo puppy joined our family!
Your Dad flew out to Indiana to personally pick our then 9 week old puppy up from the breeder. This was the two of them at the airport:
In the meantime, your Mom prepared our apartment for our newest arrival. I laid out blankets in Henry’s crate, hid all our cords and wires from view, elevated anything small and/or breakable to higher shelves, and carefully laid out food and water bowls in the kitchen area.
Come to think of it, this is not unlike what Mommy and Daddy will be doing for you in six months time.
I will never forget the way Henry bounced into our home for the first time. As soon as your Dad put him on the ground, Henry made a beeline for me down the hallway and jumped all over me as though he’s known me his entire life…and promptly peed all over me.
But it was love at first pee.
Baby Z, it’s only fair to warn you now that our dog is not the best-behaved dog in the history of the land. Despite the many, many doggy obedience books Mommy has read and puppy training classes he has attended, Henry still pulls on the leash, jumps on strangers, and can’t catch a ball in his mouth to save his life. He’s also incredibly lazy, a terrible swimmer, a slow runner, and a picky eater. He gets startled easily for no reason, growls at invisible objects, and hates getting groomed with a deep and abiding passion.
Daddy and I love him dearly.
It’s now hard to imagine our lives without Henry in it. My favorite part of every day is when your Dad comes home from work, and both he and our dog greet each other as though they haven’t seen each other in years. Henry does a silly paw and tail wagging dance – and your Dad does a human version of basically the same. Even Mommy doesn’t get that kind of welcome (from Henry or from your father). Geez.
A few people have asked us “what we’re going to do about Henry” when you arrive in this world, and to be honest, your Dad and I are always a little confused when asked this question. To us, Henry is a part of this family now and always, just like you will be. When we made the decision to get him, we made an unwavering commitment to his lifetime care.
That said, we really, really hope that you will love our dog just as much as we do. And of course, Mom and Dad will make sure that you will have lots of time to adjust to each other. But we’re not worried. Just look at this face – this is a face that’s super eager to do a paw and tail wagging welcome dance for you, just like we are!
We can’t wait for the two of you to meet for the first time in six months. Be prepared to pose for a lot, a lot, a lot of photos – your Dad has been preparing his camera for this moment for years.