Today’s post has nothing to do with decorating or DIY-ing and everything to do with making a house (or an apartment) feel like home. In honor of Gwyneth’s 3rd birthday today, we’re sharing the story of how we found each other and our early days together – days when my little dumpster diver looked like this:
Like most of our good ideas, this one came from my Mom. And like most of our very best ideas, without the world of possibility she lives in, I would have filed it in the “maybe one day I can do that” folder. Because getting a puppy wasn’t part of the plan back in February of 2010. But when I mentioned that a friend had gotten a new pet, Mom immediately suggested that I do the same. “A Yorkie,” she said. Before I could interrupt and remind her that I worked at an ad agency with an hour-long commute, many late nights and lots of production travel, she made the impossible a possibility. “And when you’re at work or on the road, she can come to grandma’s house.”
Encouragement from Gwyneth’s Grandmother, put “find puppy” on my to-do list. Action from Gwyneth’s Godmother is what got it crossed off. Meet Bailey, the receptionist at the office.
A dog lover herself, Bailey spent her lunch breaks helping me search the classifieds. She narrowed down the top candidates and emailed me an Excel spreadsheet. (I’m serious – the woman’s a professional!) The first listing was for a family in Greenville, NC, so that weekend I drove down, met the breeder and tried to pick the cutest of the eight balls of fur jumping all over me.
Pointing at one puppy, the breeder said, “Purple is unusually tall for the breed. I’ll knock $50.00 off the price if you pick her.” He could have saved his $50.00, because he had this 6-foot momma-to-be at “tall.” In a few weeks, the puppy with the purple collar would be coming home with me. Just enough time to puppy-proof my apartment and my parents’ house and pick up a pink collar. And on March 19th, 2010, Gwyneth came home.
The best advice I could give to someone getting a puppy is to take a week’s vacation for the first week they are home. That way you can start to get your pup on a schedule and you can spend a week taking a picture of “the cutest thing you’ve ever seen,” which will be replaced with another picture of “the cutest thing you’ve ever seen” five minutes later. Writing this post, I pulled over 50 photos of our first week together. I narrowed them down to four. You’re welcome.
When maternity leave was over, my parents’ house became “Camp Gwyneth.” I went back to work, and Gwyneth spent her days in the courtyard with her Grandma and running errands with her Grandpa.
drove crazy made friends with Samantha, my parents’ 13 year-old Golden Retriever. A standard baby gate couldn’t keep these two from stealing each others’ toys and eating each others’ food, so Mom used reinforcements to keep the peace. Gwyneth never left poor Samantha alone, but Sam was a good sport in sharing her space. (We miss you, Samantha xo)
Gwyneth loved to keep an eye on what Samantha was doing in the back yard. I think this was training for the supervision she gives me when I’m working on a project!
The year we spent in Raleigh before moving to NYC wasn’t all play, though. Gwyneth learned to swim at the lake and learned all kinds of tricks at PetSmart’s puppy school. In case you’re wondering, yes, Gwyneth is wearing a corsage and a cap at her PetSmart 8:00 Saturday morning graduation ceremony. And as my Mom reminded me (she was in attendance taking photos of the ceremony), I am wearing the silk J. Crew dress that I wore to my sister’s high school graduation. It was a celebratory day – we had to show some respect!
We were in the process of packing to move to NYC, but on January 7th 2011, we had a party to celebrate Gwyneth’s first birthday. It was snowing outside, but all her friends showed up at the dog park. We hope the puppy cake and favors made it worth it!
You know all about the next two years, so we’ll just say that The New Yorkie and I loved making NYC feel like home.
And now that we’re back, we’re making North Carolina feel like home. Even the rooms we’re not supposed to be in.
To the girl that knows to celebrate every day, Happy Birthday Gwyneth!
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Life In A Break Down