About a Dog (Or a couple of them, rather)

Way back before COVID was in our lives (the beginning of last year, or 5 lifetimes ago…I’m not even sure anymore) our family made a plan to visit the US in the summer. We had this great idea to buy ourselves another dog, and then bring him back home with us to Ukraine when we returned in the fall. 

Our dog, Bluebell, is an English Shepherd and the best dog on the planet. We felt like she needed a companion, and was also the perfect age to teach a new pup how to behave. Our friend Paige, breeds English Shepherds and gifted us our Bluebell 5 years ago. She had a new litter of pups that would be the perfect age to travel to Ukraine at the end of the summer. Paige even had a sweet, sable pup that she thought would be a perfect addition to our family and he hadn’t been claimed yet. The stars were aligned- it was time to get ourselves a puppy! 

Bluebell

We purchased our puppy, Auggie, and Paige graciously agreed to keep him until we arrived in Oregon in June. 

Then COVID. (How many times have I written that sentence in my storytelling over the past few months??) 

The borders closed and flights were cancelled. It quickly became apparent that we were not going to be heading to the US for the summer. But what about our Auggie?  Well, a wonderful family that are also English Shepherd owners stepped in and agreed to care for Auggie till we could come to the US this winter. Problem solved! We were bummed to miss out on puppy time, but knew he was being well-cared for, and that the time would fly by quickly.  

Then came time to buy our tickets for our winter visit. And…surprise, surprise…COVID! 

Come to find out, many airlines have suspended pet travel during the pandemic, so our options for getting Auggie back to Ukraine dwindled and dwindled till we realized the only way to get him home would be by paying a pet shipping company like $1500. Needless to say, our “pet budget” doesn’t extend that far. Yikes. We were so sad to finally admit to ourselves that Auggie wasn’t going to be coming to Ukraine.

In the meantime, another pup had entered the picture. Our Seth, the saver of all strays, brought a puppy home off the street. This wasn’t the first time Seth has tried to adopt a stray, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. His soft heart can’t bear seeing an animal all alone. We told Seth that we didn’t need another dog because Auggie would soon be coming home (we were still fighting that battle). We tried to turn the pup out, but he wouldn’t go away. He stuck around, sleeping on our porch and even barking at strangers who would pass by! I guess he felt he had found his home. Pretty soon we started feeding him, giving him soft blankets to sleep on, and…it all kind of snowballed from there. At one point I told Jed “If we’re feeding this puppy we need to decide if he’s ours.” There are too many stray dogs around our village to start randomly feeding them all!

We were still tossing around the idea of keeping the puppy when we came to the conclusion that it was literally impossible for us to get Auggie to Ukraine this winter. I asked Auggie’s foster family if they wanted to keep him and they were more than happy to comply! They love Auggie and had become quite attached to him. Our hearts were at peace. Auggie was with a loving family, and “the puppy” was an orphan. He needed us. The whole situation seemed pretty “on brand” for our fam. Hehe. 😉

That’s the story of how Wendell joined our family. Life in the times of COVID- you just never know which strange turns it will take. Am I right? Our little Wendell will always be a reminder of our strangest year yet.

PS: When we were choosing a name for Auggie, Jed was really pushing the name “Wendell”. No one in the family agreed with him. None of us were fans. Then when the pup started hanging around our porch he started covertly calling him Wendell. I guess Jed came out as the winner on this one.

Bluebell and her new buddy

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Puppy Love 

Have you met our newest addition?  

Meet Bluebell!

  

Oh you know, our life is pretty boring.  We have so much spare time on our hands…so we decided we needed a puppy. 

HA! 

I know, I know, most everyone thinks we’re crazy to have a puppy right now, but there’s a method to our madness. I promise. 🙂

You see, Vladik LOVES dogs.  He has no fear of dogs (in fact, the dogs would be wise to fear Vladik a bit) and loves to wrestle them, run with them- and just be with them.  Around Christmas time we started thinking that it would be really good for Vladik to have a dog, especially with all of his upcoming surgeries.  Also, Vladik has loads of energy.  The kid doesn’t stop.  We started thinking it would be great to have a dog, someone for him to spend some of that excess energy on.  

   
 

I put a feeler post out there into Facebook land, something along the lines of “We’re thinking of getting a dog to be a companion for Vladik. Thoughts?” And the rest was history!

Our friend Paige responded that her English Shepherd had just delivered a litter of 10 puppies and that English Shepherds are a great breed for companion and therapy dogs.  We researched the breed and we were sold.  We began planning how we could swing getting an English Shepherd for Vladik.  Not long after that, Paige told us that she and her husband had talked, and they wanted to gift us one of the puppies for Vladik!  AMAZING!

Shortly after the new year we went to visit the puppies and decide which one would come home to us.  Paige had prayed and asked the Lord for it to be made really clear, the right pup for Vladik.  The kids and I sat in a circle on Paige’s kitchen floor and she put all the available puppies, with different colored collars, in the middle of our little circle.  One puppy, the one with the blue collar, went up to Vladik immediately.  She chewed on his shoe, laid on his lap, walked circles around him and then just sat at attention right beside him.  And that was that!  Blue collar puppy had made her choice.  Paige was so happy, because that was the exact puppy that she had originally that would be best for us!  Blue Collar Girl became Bluebell, and a few weeks later she came home with us. 

   
   

Having a puppy is a ton of work, of course, and I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments when I’ve thought “We’re truly gluttons for punishment”, but we already love our Bluebell so much!  Really.  She.is.awesome. She’s smart as all get out and so stinkin’ soft.  She feels like a stuffed animal! Yes, she chews and chews and chews, but she is learning! Bluebell is just the perfect dog for our family and we are so blessed to have her.  We plan to take her back to Ukraine with us and I’m pretty sure she’ll love her life once we have our group homes on our little farm.  Think of how much joy she’ll bring to all our boys!  I can’t wait to see it! 

So, there you have it.  That’s why we have a puppy at a time when it seems like probably the worst idea ever 🙂  Call us crazy, but we’re already in love.  No turning back now!