Years ago Elle wrote a masterful essay in sixth grade about how our family was in dire need of a dog.  (I posted it back HERE.)

She had several clear, thought-out points for discussion, and her essay was sound.
But, we are not dog people.  Never have been.
Dave and I both come from families with nine children.
We both grew up with dogs.  And although I’m pretty sure all of us loved those pets from our childhoods, not one of those eighteen children has a dog.
Fluke?  Destiny?  Common-sense? ha!  I don’t know.
Poor Elle’s essay didn’t move us much.  Plant a seed?  Yes.  But again, not dog people.  Not dog-hair people.  Not stationary people (we like to be on the move).  Not patient people (have I mentioned the door slamming?? ha!).
But each year I have had a little bit more of a nudge that Elle did indeed have some pretty great points way back when.

And the past two years that nudge has become more of a push.

Most especially for our youngest girl who is doing exceptionally well with the issues she faces but often-times we feel the desperate need for a loyal companion for her.

Don’t get me wrong, she is the luckiest girl ever to have a group of the sweetest and most loyal friends.  But their interests are starting to branch off a little bit so we want to be proactive.

And it’s not just Lucy.  Every one of our girls have had stars in their eyes about dogs from the get-go.  I’m pretty sure it’s what they have wished for when they blow out their birthday candles every single year.  And they get that familiar look in their eyes that I have when I have IWAN every time they see a dog.

So, after much research and discussion between me and Dave, and finally coming to a decision we both felt good about, this was what we surprised them with on Christmas morning:

Ahhhh, our girls are dramatic.

But I’ll admit I was tearing up behind my camera.

And after a little while of baffled and teary amazement Elle announced that she didn’t know why she was crying since she doesn’t even live here 😉

But she was.  And everyone oooo’d and ahhhh’d over the pictures of the litter of puppies we were going to be able to choose from the next day in Utah.

I loved this face Elle captured of Lucy thinking about picking out our own little puppy when we were on our way up in Utah:

After much research and investigation, thinking through a bunch of different scenarios with rescue dogs and all kinds of other options, we chose to get a medium-sized golden-doodle puppy.  They are smart, easily trainable, hypo-allergenic, can be very great therapy dogs…they fit pretty much all our criteria.

And through the brother of a friend we found this sweet littler of pups up in Utah.

Tell me if that’s not the toughest decision ever!

They were all so incredibly sweet we could hardly bear to choose just one of them!

Here’s a little snippet of our time with the puppies:

After much deliberation and voting, we finally all made a unanimous decision to choose “Pylon.” (they named all the puppies “P” names to keep track of them all before they were “adopted” by their families).

The name that Dave has chosen and has one by one cajoled us all into falling in love with is Bo Jangles.  Ha!  Yes, it’s a female puppy.  But with all these girls around we all figure Dave has to have some say somewhere!  We’ll call her Bo.  And we love her already.

Here she is:

…along with some pretty delighted girls!

It was hard to say goodbye!  She still needed a few more weeks with her mama before we could take her home.

We have been missing her ever since, but TODAY marks the day that she arrives.

Oh boy.

Lots of emotions rolling around here as we’ve waited for this day.  When we broke the news to Max (on Christmas when we talked to him) he looked at us with a smile and replied, “I hate dogs!”  Ha!  I guess there are all kinds of crazy strays where he lives right now and he has learned to shy away from them.  But little Bo is going to capture his heart when he gets home I’m sure:)  The girls are all just positively oozing with delight.  Elle keeps asking for updates from over in Hawaii, Grace keeps counting down the days, Claire keeps telling me all the things she’s going to do with that little puppy, and how she imagines her greeting her each day when she gets home from school, and Lucy is pretty much just worried about the safety of her Legos for now.  Ha!

Dave and I are excited, but we are not naive enough to think that this is going to be easy.  We know that although these girls claim they will take care of every single thing, and that despite what we teach and what charts we have, etc., there will be a lot of work on our hands.  Despite the training we are going to be doing, we know there will be chewing and whining and accidents and probably even tears.  What in heavens’ name are we thinking?!  Starting tonight I’m sure we are going to be up a bunch with our new “baby.”

But every time I start to get worried I have this peaceful feeling surround me telling me we’re on the right track.  It may not be easy, but it’s right for us right now.  So I’m gearing myself up for an extra family member around here who strangely I already love.
Can’t wait.


  1. I am not a dog person either, but a few years ago agreed to get a dog. We have a mini labradoodle. It was the best decision ever. We all love her;she's a great dog. Even now though, I'm still not a dog person, but love what she has meant to our family and one child in particular. I always think of the quote, "I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it." Good luck!

  2. Love this! Having been a no-dog person my whole life, and resisting my entire family's desire to get one for …18 years – I finally caved 10 years ago. And boy, was that the best decision I have ever made! With 4 teens in the house, at last I had someone who was always happy to see me walk in to the house. 😉 Jokes aside… Our then 17 year old daughter was actually quite upset. – You waited until I was about to move out before you got a dog??? I've wanted one forever! Ha. They are still best friends. I have a question though – will you be training her as a service dog from the get-go? THAT is a lot of work..! Congratulations though – this will be so wonderful for your family – and especially Lucy!

  3. We weren't dog people either and finally caved. The BEST thing we did was bell train. EVERY time we took her outside we had her ring a little bell that we hung by our back door on a string, then when she would go potty we basically freaked and gave her a treat. Well after about 4 weeks of helping her ring the bell she did it herself! Now 3 plus years later she walks to the door, swats the bell and we let her out. It's seriously the best!!!!

  4. She is adorable! Puppies are like newborns at first but with good early training are so fun! I highly recommend crate training from the go. It helps with potty training an it also will be a lifesaver when you are gone running errands as she can stay in the crate and not free to roam and chew!

  5. Oh she is just adorable!! I love dogs, we have 2 and they give a love you can't get from humans, but they are a lot of work. Good luck and congratulations.

  6. Omg. I am SO jealous of you and your girls right now! I am like your girls with their puppy version of IWAN. Always wanted a dog and still don't have one as a 35 year old b/c of my NYC co-ops rules. Anyway, those pups are SO cute. My in-laws have a labradoodle, and he is pretty much a genius and an incredible dog!!!

  7. Golden doodles are the sweetest! So exciting for you guys. We have some SERIOUS dog-lovers in my kids but, unfortunately, they also have some serious allergies and can't be around one without eyes puffing out an inch, itching like crazy, and watering. I have one that cries almost weekly about the injustice of it! So, enjoy that sweet puppy and I can't wait to "watch" it grow up.

  8. Dogs are a lot of work but I really think every kid needs a dog. I have to admit when we moved several states and all my kids were in school our dog was a lifesaver for me so I wasn't overly lonely until I made some friends. I had a reason to get out of my house and walk the neighborhood and it helped me so much. So happy for your family.

  9. I have 5 kids, three of whom have special needs. I have always said no to a dog because I had enough on my hands! But 2 years ago, after much pondering I felt we needed a dog to help with some of the issues we were having with the needs of our children. Our dear Seamus, black lab/border collie mix, has been a blessing to our daughter with many unique issues. They have bonded and he is helping her in ways that I just couldn't. Good luck with your new adventure. Our dog has been an answer to much searching and prayer.

  10. We have a 4 yo mini labradoodle. They are the best dogs! So sweet, smart and just the right amount of naughty! There are times when my teenage son has a rough day, and we can tell that his dog is the only creature on earth that makes him feel better. Something about focusing on this being, who loves you with all their heart and completely unconditionally, makes the world seem like a kinder and gentler place. Congratulations! And the bonus is that it might cure your IWAN as you have a few weeks of sleepless nights as you all adjust. 😉

  11. Our oldest is also on a mission but in Korea. And we also got a puppy for Christmas. When we told our missionary he asked/said, "You replaced me with a dog?!" But this house training business…ugh!? I can't wait to learn your advice.

  12. Congrats!!! I was wary and cautious for all the same reasons but best decision ever – we got a mini goldendoodle who is now 7 months! Great breed and sweetest thing ever!

  13. Awesome! The kids and I are trying to convince my husband we "need" a second dog. A small one. Ours is a pretty big half german shepherd half lab. 🙂

  14. We have a Mini Golden Doodle and she is the best and sweetest dog (Gracie). People always think she's older than she is because she's so well behaved. She just turned one and was so easy to train. We used the bells and the first day she had an accident inside and then rang the bells but by the second day she had the order figured out to ring the bells and then potty outside. Socialize and take her to the pet store AND get lots of safe chew bones. Our girl is a chewer! I'm certain you'll quickly be dog people.

  15. So much fun! I was against the whole dog thing for years! But giving in was one of the greatest things Ive ever done! We love her so much and cant even imagine life without her! She is part of the family now! She is the gift that keeps on giving!

  16. We have a mini golden doodle, "Harry" – brother to our son – "William" – and no, I'm not Diana. Anyhoo – we used bells on the door to potty train him – he learned within three days! They're SUPER smart and just so cuddly! Enjoy Bo!

  17. This is lovely.

    Pylon is so cute & I know will be loved by everyone in your family.

    The videos made me cry, especially how Claire reacts & says, "You're kidding, right?."

    I bet yesterday was a very exciting day in your house:)

  18. The video of the girls at Christmas is precious and had me tearing up. Good luck with your new member of the family. Get ready for some unconditional love from Bo! ❤

  19. As a life long dog owner and mom to 5 kids, I can definitely attest to the fact that it is the parents who shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the family pet. I never quite understand the logic when people say they will get a pet on the condition that their child care for it. Children need modeling in order to know how to take care of a living, breathing animal. Besides that, dogs are smart and realize who the leaders are in the family and they will naturally gravitate towards the adults for that reason. So I think you are headed into this with eyes wide open and you have realistic expectations and it will be a bumpy ride at times, but awesome.

    1. I totally agree. If you are getting a pet it's an adult who can commit and an adult who should be responsible. You don't have a baby and then assign your 12 year old to feed and change it, unless maybe you are a Duggar. An animal is a living thing. Let the kids take out trash and get a part time job when they are old enough.

  20. I LOVE this post SO MUCH!!! We have Daisy, a Golden doodle, as well. I can't say enough about the breed. Five years later, I can honestly say BEST family decision ever. I am thrilled for your entire family, but goodness….so happy for sweet Lucy.

  21. I'm reading this with our 3-year-old goldendoodle, Rhubarb, curled up next to me on the couch. She is an incredible and adored member of our family, and beyond worth every bit of work, training and mud puddle rolling. Her love and joy for life is palpable. Enjoy those early days!

  22. Congrats on the new puppy! So exciting for your family! Our family can't wait to get our own dog (as soon as we get a fence up). p.s. My son's name is Bowen, and one of his nicknames is Bo Jangles. lol!

  23. Your kids reactions were priceless! I have 3 dogs. If you want to deter chewing on anything or the potential of ruined furniture, provide rawhide pieces/twists early on for the little puppy to chew on. It also helps with any kind of boredom when you're away/out for the day. Enjoy Bo!

  24. I have a service dog (we are Deaf) that we trained ourselves from puppy. I suggest you write down some things you expect from the dog in terms of how it will help Lucy. For example, our dog has been trained to nudge (not bark) us when certain sounds happen. When walking on the road/sidewalk, our dog has been trained to push us further away on the sidewalk when a car comes up from behind us. When we got pregnant, we trained her with baby crying sounds to nudge us. We wrote down things we hoped to train our dog with and took it to a professional dog trainer for some tips (in SLC, Utah) and they taught us some basics to training a dog in doing specific tasks (free program too). We learned that dogs just don't naturally learn to do things. We have to train them specifically along with loving the dog. The dog doesn't have to be professional dog ("do not touch while working) kind of dog. Ours isn't. We take her everywhere like a regular dog! Congrats and good luck!

  25. As the owner of a min labradoodle- you just made one of the best decisions ever. There will be lots of inconveniences, but you won't regret getting her!

  26. Claires reaction was priceless. I'm not a dog person but my husband and kids are so I broke down and got them a toy poodle(for all the same reasons you got Bo)for Christmas four years ago. It has been the best thing in the world for my kids. Every kid should have a dog. I have a daughter with anxiety and the dog calms her right down. It was rough at first- I'm pretty sure I cried every day because it is a lot like having a baby those first few months. I did tons of research and watched every single Ceasar Milan video and even hired a professional dog trainer to come to my house and the one thing that made the biggest impact on how my dog behaves is how consistent we are. Never let the dog do anything you don't want it to keep doing(kinda like kids:) Dogs are awesome because they love unconditionally. They are always happy to see you. I still don't love dogs- in fact some days are a struggle-but I don't regret getting one for a second. Congratulations!

  27. Oh we are there with the puppy training! We have had our dachsund for almost 3 weeks and I'm worn out! LOL!! But it is so very awesome!! I do the nighttime getting up, whining, laying beside the cage but my kids help feed and take care of her in the mornings and after school. It's so worth it!!! Congrats!!

  28. I can't believe it! I am not a dog person either, but finally caved in to our kids that have been begging for a dog. Be consistent, and the best thing we did was fork over the money for a trainer to come to our house for 3 one hour sessions – it taught us a lot since we have never had a dog. we crate trained ours and were super strict the first month or so with taking him out to go potty every 2-3 hours, and he only had one or two accidents in the house. Whoever is the one who spends the most time training it and being the strictest, will probably have the best relationship with it in the long run – but they will love your whole family and be so excited to see you. The first month is the hardest, Good luck!!!

  29. So happy for your family! You don't always get the dog you want, you get the dog you need! Hope it's not too late to add Bo to your family wall of quotes!
    Here is a great quote about dogs for your family you and Dave should use:
    Dogs are not the students, not the ones that need training. A dog is a teacher of life, who teaches us the principles of the most important moral values; honesty, integrity, loyalty, trust, respect and love. (Cesar Millan)
    You may not realize that now, but you will–especially for Lucy!

  30. Congrats on being number 1 in the family with a dog, followed closely by Saydi. but that one is a little different. She could use some advice on ideas for a dog who nips at the kids There's got to be a way to stop that guy! Loved seeing those girls' excitement on video after seeing it for real on Christmas morning. They are all priceless, as is BO!

  31. This was so sweet & the Christmas morning video had me in tears. You are a wonderful family & I admire you. Enjoy your time with your new addition.

  32. Can I just say how incredibly sweet Elle was in this video? She got it immediately but waited, encouraging Lucy to figure it out. That was so touching to me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *