Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Picking a Daisy

As soon as Hoover was diagnosed with cancer, the three boys in my life started talking about getting a puppy. My heart and head screamed "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" to this suggestion, both because my heart was breaking and because it's been 13 years since I had a puppy but I remember how much work it was and ohmygosh give me a break.

Then, when George took my Furry Golden Sunshine to the vet for the last time, my heart well and truly broke, and all I could do for days on end was cry. In the nadir of my own grief, I noticed how mopey George was, how he kept surfing the Internet for Burnese Mountain Dog and Great Pyrenees breeders in our area.


George has always wanted a huge dog. I believe this is a direct result of testosterone and I have vigorously fought his big-dog yearnings for years. I do not want a dog that weighs more than I do. I do not want to clean up horse-size piles of poo from my yard (or carpet). I do not want to buy the mega-size bags of Iams, or pay more expensive kennel and vet rates, either. But most of all, I don't want to have a dog whose life expectancy is shorter than the average dog.

Dogs don't live long enough as it is.

Fortunately, George pulled out all the golden-retriever-themed books we own and reread them in the week after Hoover left us, and having him in this vulnerable state, I decided to compromise. We could get a golden puppy after Ironman in September. Yeah, that would work.

But George kept moping. The boys kept talking about puppies. And George's training for Ironman, which had already taken on a level of enthusiasm usually reserved for root canals and April 15, started petering out. His heart just isn't in the race this year.

Then it dawned on George that if we didn't go to Madison this year, we could get a puppy NOW. His enthusiasm for the race became more or less nonexistent at that point. His enthusiasm for making a list of contacts for golden breeders, however, blossomed like the giant hybiscus in our neighbor's yard. It was beyond human power to contain.

To exercise some damage control, I said okay, we can get a puppy under two conditions. First it's got to be a girl. I wanted to rub a dog belly again (males have that furry penile sheath thingie that gets in the way of a good belly rub...ewwww). Plus, because females are in greater demand than males, I figured it would take a while to find a female at the right age to leave her mother, so I'd have a little time.

My second condition was that we name her Daisy. At that point, George's puppy lust was such that he would have agreed to naming her Doo-Doo Face if it got him what he wanted. George agreed to Daisy and sprang into action.

This is when Hoover exercised his influence with the angels, who, I am sure, would agree to anything the Furry Golden Sunshine wanted if he would just stop jumping up and licking their noses and knocking their halos askew.

The very first breeder George called, from a town 30 minutes north of ours, had one puppy left in a litter she co-owns in Michigan. A girl. Nine weeks old. Bred from a Westminster champion named Stormy. The breeder, who is married to a veterinarian, only breeds when she wants a new dog for conformation or agility shows. All the other pups are sold as pets with spay/neuter contracts to families with fenced yards who want a dog to live in the house with them as a member of the family.

Um. HELLO!?! Does that sound like a family you know?

I couldn't believe it. Three weeks and a day after Hoover left us, we're picking a Daisy.

The Michigan breeder sent us a picture of our Daisy yesterday. One look at her sweet puppy face and I was lost.

A goner.


Hopelessly yearning to smell frito paws and puppy breath.

And crying anew over the loss of my Hoover.

It's all very complicated and sad and joyous at the same time. We're picking Daisy up tonight, and the madness of puppydom begins. But one thing is certain. We are a very lucky family to have the Furry Golden Sunshine watching out for us.


  1. What a great post. I smiled, laughed out loud, and yes, I cried! And....sorry, Susan, I yearned for a puppy!!! Even though my little furball is quite enough to handle, seeing that sweet little gal on my screen made me want puppydom too! Enjoy this little sweetie! We will look forward to many more pictures of Daisy! Hugs...

  2. Wonderful news, she is absolutely gorgeous :)

  3. I'm so happy for you and your family, Susan! And a little jealous, but a puppy does not fit into our life now. We travel too much, and it wouldn't be fair to a furry friend. We got to dogsit our daughter's black lab last week, and it was so much fun. We hated to see her go home. She reminded us of our black lab whom we lost about four years ago. Enjoy and post lots of pictures!

  4. So happy for you! Love this post - love the puppy. Much happiness to you all

  5. Only a cold heart could resist that cute little face. :) Have fun.

  6. OMG! No one could resist that face! Is she cute or what??? I'm excited for you and can't wait to hear the puppy stories!

  7. You've got to keep writing! This was such a wonderful post --- Congrats on two years of blogging and on you're newest addition to the family. Can't wait to read all about it!

  8. OMG, what a cutie pie! Congrats!

    Here are two of my favorite puppy quotes:
    "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." --Ben Williams

    "Happiness is a warm puppy."
    --Charles Schulz

  9. Congratulations! I'm sure it's meant to be. Daisy has come into your life and it will be fabulous. Now I'm going to have to read this blog (as well as your Simplicity one) so that I can hear all the puppy stories. My two English Cockers are six so the puppy years are well behind me for now. Post lots of photos!

  10. Oh, she's beautiful! I'm so happy for all of you that she came into your lives.

  11. AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! omg she is the sweetest EVER! I totally did smile and cry at this! She's such a sweetheart; I can't wait to see more pictures!

  12. Even though I have a little cat,I'd love a puppy. Can't wait to hear all about the fun you're going to have with little Daisy. Such a sweet name and such a sweet looking puppy :)

  13. Susan,
    I think George, the boys and Hoover set you up. Daisy has been waiting for you all along!!!
    love patti moffett

  14. Yep! Cried. Smiled. OOo'd and ahh'd. Cried again. What a beautiful little girl. If we ever get one it's exactly what I would want. So happy for you.

  15. OMG, Daisy is SO cute. I kept reading and reading thinking this has to have a happy puppy ending and then I saw Daisy's photo and my heart just melted.

    Please keep us posted on all the "adventures" you will be having. I love puppy (and dog) stories.


  16. What a wonderful story! Sounds like Daisy was meant to be. She is such a cutie and surely will bring lots and lots more of that unconditional love that is so powerful. Congrats to you and your boys!

  17. Congrats! Seems like Daisy is heaven-sent!

  18. Daisy is truly adorable. Congratulations to the whole family!

  19. I'm so torn! My heart aches for you and the loss of Hoover, but the picture of Daisy made me melt! What an adorable puppy. I loved the image you gave of Hoover knocking off halos... too cute!

  20. First of all: PUPPY BREATH!!!! The best smell in the whole wide world!!!!!

    I know exactly what you're going through...we got Addison about 3 weeks after we lost our first corgi. My DH even called my dad to ask if we should get a dog that soon. My dad said when he was a kid, one of his dogs died and the next week someone had found a puppy and gave it to him. He didn't want another puppy, he wanted his other dog back. But then, it *was* pretty cute. And friendly. And well-behaved. And, well, I'm sure you can figure out the ending.

    Daisy won't fill the portion of your heart where Hoover resided, but she will make your heart grow to fit her, and when is it ever bad to have your heart grow?

    Especially if it comes in as cute a package as that.

    And with puppy breath.

  21. Oh Susan - my heart breaks so much for you on the loss of your wonderful Hoover but it also jumps for joy that you have opened your heart enough to let another golden angel into it. Hoover - you've done good buddy! I believe Hoover has truly lead you to Daisy and he will be there to guide her and you thesemany years to come.

    Puppy breath - ahhhh. I SO love puppy breath, and wiggly butts,puppy bellies, lap cuddles, and puppy kisses ::sigh::

    I can't WAIT to hear all your stories about Daisy.

    And Susan - I just KNOW that Hoover and my golden Mojo are playing and running free at the Rainbow Bridge, as they wait for us to join them.

  22. OHMYGOSH, she is ADORABLE, and she sounds perfect for you and your family. May you have may years of love together!

  23. Susan, I was sad, then laughed then literally teared up...yes, in this exact order! while reading your post. I'm soooooooo happy for you and your family. OMG...Daisy is the sweetest thing eva! Even if you have to name her DooDoo Face, she's still sooooo CUTE!

  24. adorable dog. best of luck with Daisy!

  25. Oh, she's so cute! What an emotional post.

  26. Susan, do you write professionally because you have a way with words that really connects with your reader! Your post was so amazing and it did make me cry but when I saw Daisy, my heart swelled and smiled. You and your family will be so happy with her and Daisy is so lucky to have you adopt her!

  27. Oh, Susan, my heart just ached looking at little Daisy's photo! It made me weep to see how beautiful she is, and how she will remind you of Hoover but aase the pain of losing him. She looks so intelligent, as if she knows her purpose in your life (with help from Furry Golden Sunshine, of course) Enjoy these days, I'm so happy for you and your family!

  28. Susan, I delight in your blogs. The stories of your family and Hoover are written as if by a friend to friends, and I thank you for that!

    I believe with all my heart that we best honor those we've loved and lost [human or animal - can it really make a difference??] by continuing to share that precious gift of love that even death can never negate.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Hoover pulled every Heavenly string known to beast to make sure all the love the Raihala's have to give would keep flowing and sent Daisy so you would know he doesn't want you to live any other way. In welcoming Daisy into your family, you honor all that Hoover gave to you, meant to you, and always, always will.

    Isn't love Universe changing amazing? Indeed!

    "Death, be not proud! You have won no victory here!" Amen! ~ pk

  29. She is very sweet, and although nothing can replace Hoover, I'm sure she will bring your family much happiness.

  30. She is gorgeous!!! I think puppies are like babies---they are just so blasted cute that you jump in fast, ignoring the logic of one side of the brain that knows the difficult days ahead.
    I know she'll not replace your dear Hoover, but she will certainly shed some light in the dark hole in your heart. Best wishes with your new Daisy!

  31. My parents love Poms and have out lived several, but Taz (as in the Tazmanian Devil- she was) passed last year and left a gaping hole in their hearts. This winter, my sister and I drove to pick up 'new puppy' gift from Dad to Mom and at first glance, I had her name set: Miss Daisy Buttercup. Of course, my folks call her Kiwi (often Taz) but as I was the first to bond with her, she not only knows me well, but the name I gave her!
    The world needs more Daisies :)
    Enjoy the new bundle - at least in this weather you can train her to pee outside - hee ;)


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