Welcoming a new addition to the family- June 2016
Susan and I knew it was time. Lucky, our dog of 12+ years, couldn’t even stand without my assistance. His back legs and hips were shot. Although he didn’t appear to be in a lot of pain, you could see the deterioration of Lucky’s ability to walk in the last six months of his life. I literally had to pick him up from under his back legs and carry him out to the yard, just so he could go to the bathroom. It was no way to live and we held off as long as possible, but on December 22nd 2013 it was time to say goodbye to our companion, our friend, and our family member.
The night before, the kids made a little video of Lucky and gave him lots of LOVE. I made him his favorite meal, steak with green beans. Although we knew that it was time, probably beyond time, It was still hard. I’m tearing up just writing about this today.
Susan and I had been dating for about two years when we both kind of knew that we were going to end up together. The logical next step is a dog, right? We had talked about it for a while before we started to do some research. I wanted a Labrador as this was the kind of dog I had growing up. Susan’s parents had a Sheltie, Christa, who was still alive and was a great dog but we decided on a Lab. We found a lady that was selling lab pups near Libertytown so we called her up around the end of October to go see the puppies. We found this little pup that was kind of timid amongst the other puppies. After looking at a lot of the puppies we decided on the one, who eventually became Lucky. Lucky was not yet eight weeks old yet as he was born on September 12th 2001, (yes the day after 9/11), so we had to wait a couple more weeks until we could get him.
Susan and I still laugh about the first day with Lucky. We got him home to our house on 3rd Street and we started to play with him until we noticed he had fleas. Not just one or two, the poor guy was COVERED in them. I went out to get treatment in order to give Lucky a bath that would kill the fleas. Susan, always the smart one in our relationship, said there was NO way we were giving Lucky a bath in the sink. So we ended up giving Lucky a flea bath in my beer cooler – that we immediately disposed of after we gave Lucky a few baths and had rid him of fleas.
In our early 20s having a puppy meant a new level of responsibility as we had to come home immediately after work to let Lucky out. It was definitely a good primer for eventually having kids.
Lucky was an extremely “Lucky” dog.
Three days a week I would drive Lucky in the morning before work out to my Dad’s house. My Dad as you know, owns a horse farm and gets to work outside every day. My Dad also had a dog, Van. He is a black Lab/Rot mix. So three days a week the dogs would go to work with my Dad on the farm. They loved it. They were best friends and it was great companionship for my Dad as he worked on the farm.
When I would go get Lucky after work, he was dead tired. He and Van would run, play and work all day.
Lucky and Van loved going to work. All you had to do is say to them, “Do you want to go to work?” and they would run to the door and then jump in the truck.
Lucky and Van would help my dad round up the horses.
If my Dad was taking horses from the barn to the field, the dogs would stay right behind the horse to make sure they were moving in the right direction and keeping pace. They knew their job and they loved it.
During this time Susan and I had sold our house on 3rd Street and bought another home in West Winds which is in New Market. Lucky still got to go to work 3 days a week… It was during this time, around 2005 that we decided we wanted to build our own house so we sold our West Winds house, rented a house back on 3rd Street from Bill and Laura Haraway, while we built our home. We finally moved in our home on April 24, 2006, our fourth home in about a four year period. Lucky was with us for every move and quickly adapted to each home we lived in. Our final home was and is close to my parents. They are our closest neighbor so Lucky loved this time. All he had to do is run through the woods to see Van and my Dad. My Dad would go outside and yell through the woods, “Time to go to Work” and Lucky would take off.
Lucky lived a long and healthy life up until those final months.
We have so many memories of Lucky that I could write a book.
A few stick out. Lucky was in the car with me during one icy winter day, when my black Toyota Celica that I bought as a senior in high school ran into the guardrail. There was a time that Lucky was at my parents’ house and ate pantyhose and they had to take him to the Vet to make him throw up. Another time Lucky ate an entire container of Anthony’s Baby Formula and we were worried about him and had to take him to Betty’s again.
Then there was a time that my Dad and my cousin Justin were watching football one weekend at our house on 3rd Street. My Dad and Justin aren’t the most responsible. They had let Lucky out back and forgot about him. About an hour later they went out to get him and they couldn’t find him. They were running all around looking for him out in the back. About 15 minutes of searching they found him on the front porch of our home. We still have no idea how he got out of the backyard.
When he passed away Dec 22nd 2013, Susan and I decided to take some time before getting another dog. We knew that we eventually would get another dog. The boys wanted one immediately but Susan and I didn’t want it to feel like we were just replacing Lucky. We felt that we couldn’t just replace one with another, we wanted some time in between.
About a year ago, we became serious about getting a new dog. About four months ago, we started researching dogs and decided it was another Lab that we wanted to get. From that we decided to get a rescue dog.
We were nervous. We were excited. We know the commitment it takes for a puppy. There were a hundred emotions. Is it the right time, etc.?
Getting a new puppy is not all that different than buying a new home, if you think about it. Buying a home is exciting, nerve-racking, a huge responsibility, and you are never sure when it is the right time. It is during this time when you have to take the proper steps in home buying that the reality really sets in. You have to apply for a mortgage and meet with a Realtor. We had to apply to get a puppy and we had to get approved for a puppy. The correlation is not a 100% match but you get my point.
There is NEVER the perfect time to buy a home. The stars are never aligned perfectly but you have to be in a mental state to buy a home. Just as Susan and I weren’t 100% sure it was the right time for a puppy, we were in the mindset that now is as good as time as ever.
So we were ready to take the next step in getting a Puppy.
We put in for a couple of pups but they were both gone by the time we submitted our application. The first one, the boys were crushed that we did not get.
Then about 3 weeks ago, there was a 14-week old Lab that we found through the rescue site in Alabama. We made a call to a friend that we knew that is affiliated with the rescue program to tell her who we were putting in for. (It’s not what you know in life… it is WHO you know) and we got the confirmation within 24 hours of putting in our request/application that we were awarded ‘Tank.’
With these rescue dogs, they are transported every few weeks to the area from their foster home. Well, a few Saturdays ago was OUR DAY. We were scheduled to meet the ladies that transported the dogs to their new homes in Hagerstown at 4am Saturday morning.
The dogs had 3 stops along the way. Each meeting their new owners at three different stops. The ones that had not been ‘claimed’ yet had an event at PetSmart that weekend. Their first stop was in Virginia for a walk, stretch and eat from 8 pm to midnight. Then their next stop was in Hagerstown at 4 am. And their final stop was in Pennsylvania at 7 am.
Alex wanted to go. Since this is probably the only time we ever get a puppy while he is a kid, I said ok. The alarm went off at 3:06 am and I made my coffee and carried Alex to the car to get our new puppy.
Alex was so excited that he stayed awake the entire 50 minute ride to Hagerstown.
When we arrived at our destination there was this big white Van and a line of 4-5 people waiting outside to meet their new addition. There were three ladies that were the transport team. One appeared to be in charge while the others were a mother and daughter combo.
When we got to the transport lady, She said, “Awww you are getting Tank. He is just a DUDE. He is one of the coolest dogs we have ever seen. We’ve seen 50-60 dogs a month, but he is just a really cool dog.”
So, I wanted to name him ‘DUDE.’ But I was overruled on that one J
We’ve had him for a few days now… ‘LAZER’ (the name we gave him) is one of the chillest puppies I have ever seen.
I introduce the newest member of the Verdi Family… Lazer.