Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Noodle!

New Year's Eve posts are probably supposed to be a little introspective, right? I mean, what I should be doing is writing this page on how many things have changed this year. They have, they've changed a lot...

Especially this one. :) (Beware! Long post, and photo heavy, haha!)

Many of you know what the story with Caleb was - and some of you likely don't. So for the short short version, I hadn't planned on getting a second Cardi to show. We'd gotten Simon the year before, and I was just getting back into the swing of dog showing when Gabriel passed away. I'm in contact with Simon's breeders regularly, and had written both of them to let them know what was going on. Simon was as crushed as I was; he hero-worshipped Gabe, where there was a Gabe, there was a Simon, tagging right along.

Well... on the close of one of our many emails back and forth, Sharon gently said, "You know, when you're ready, you should think about getting another puppy at one point."

I laughed, sending the email back, "I think the only way that I'm getting another puppy is if you have a nice flashy red brindle, haha! Matt likes brindles."

About ten minutes later I pick up my phone at work, with the message attached to this picture.

"Eat your heart out."

I couldn't help it. I just laughed for the first time in the two weeks since Gabe passed away. Melisa (my manager and good friend) was there in the office with me and I showed her the phone and shook my head. She eyes the picture, eyes me, and puts her hands on her hips and gives me 'the look.' Then she says, "You need that dog."

I say, "I don't want another dog. I really don't. I- I think I'm done with dogs for a while."

She says, "Oh no you're not. That's your dog. It's meant to be. Seriously. Ask her or I'm calling her and asking her for you."

I reply, "I think that's a show pup she's holding back..."

So I email back. Mind you, I had no idea that she even had this litter, much less a red-brindle. I will say that what she emailed me back with was one of the nicest things someone's ever done for me. I'm floored. I call Matt and email him the picture. Now... Matt didn't want any more dogs. The running joke between us is "Yeah, someday we're getting down to one dog and two cats."

The email back is, "Tell her yes."

I guess everyone thought I needed a puppy. When the stars and planets align just so, you better go with it. Or get struck by lightning or something. Small, chompy, brindle lightning.

So, suddenly I find myself within a week at the airport, waiting for a plane. Where Simon was quiet and gentle and kind, snuggling into Matt's arms the minute we got him, happy as could be, I'm standing there at the baggage claim and I hear... "WOOOOOOOOOO. WOOO. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!" The guy hands me the crate, I look inside, and open the door, and this brindle firecracker whips past with this huge grin, gleefully dodging to go explore the baggage claim and goose a little girl on the way in. Gah! Catch puppy, pick up puppy, puppy grins at me.

"Oh hi there, whoa, did you see that thing, with the luggage and the people and hi people? WOOOOO! Hi world, hi strange lady trying to hold me back, hi baggage claim guy! Wait, the baggage claim's still there! WOOO!"

The trainer in me says, "I'm in trouble, aren't I?"

I think Caleb's reply was, "Yes. Now let's go explore the baggage claim together!"

So, it began. Simon was an easy dog. A sweet dog. Super sensitive, gentle, kind dog. Oh no, we don't potty on the floor. Oh no, we don't chew things, that's wrong!

Caleb was a little hellion wrapped in tiger stripes. Yeah, housebreaking? Break this. Chewing stuff up is awesome. Let me take care of those cords for you, mwahahahhaha! Listening is for good dogs, and I ain't one! I'll test you up and down!

But he did have a cute face...

Simon had been so lonely, and took to him instantly.

They're total opposites in personality but they're best friends, day in and day out.

Gonna get you, bro!

Someday, he too was going to herd the chickens.

Then we had ears!

... and a big chunk of Simon's hair. (We call the little one Bitey.)

He knew he was all that and a bag of chips from the get go.

Out in public at Seattle Center, he took it in stride. Even if he found Dad boring. ;)

The bath after the fishpond dunk? Not so much. I still can't keep him out of it. When did Cardigans become water dogs?

"You do understand, I'm just going out to get dirty again, mom. Take that!"

Sometimes he's thoughtful.

Sometimes he's tricky!

Mostly, he's a momma's boy, and he's not shy about admitting it in public.

He became a pog. (Part puppy, part dog!)

Oh wait, no, the puppy's still there. It immediately ran off and ignored me after this shot was taken. Simon and I both yelled at him about it, ha! Double teamed!

He still adores his big brother, and wants to do everything like him. (Except come when called. That's still against his religion or something.)

His first show... with Cardi friends I adore handling him. Aw.

To the rescue!

I learned a lot of things this year. He's been teaching me patience, teaching me handling... and he's also taught me (the no dogs ever in the bed person) that dogs do belong in the bed. Right next to their person.

(You can also wake up your person by some sort of Cardigan Mind Meld. Stare at them long enough without moving and if they crack open an eye, lick them right on the lips. It's a talent.)

Don't say rude things to the cat. He likes you, but not enough to let you get away with it.

Nope, don't say them to the Pembrokes either.

A whistle means - come here. Got it! (Finally. I thought he never would!)

Where I go, he goes. He's my dog, through and through. He sits on my feet, he keeps the front seat of the car warm when I go in, he sleeps behind the counter at work on my jacket. From the first day he was here, he decided he was my dog, period. Either that or he was reading email. I wouldn't put it past him to do that. I also won't let him near my credit card.

Which leads us to today, a day of going to the barn together. I let him run up and down the driveway there for a while, until he was absolutely filthy and smiling and waiting for me to get done with the horses.

So, off we go! Next year's just one more adventure, right? I did need this dog. Like he lets me know on a daily basis, there's a lot of baggage claims out there in the world, better explore them! ;)

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a year old Cardigan!

Happy new year, guys! :)


JulieandCaleb said...

Your story and pictures melted my heart! Thanks! Happy Birthday, Caleb!

dreameyce said...

Aww! *hugs* He's such a devil-mush. I <3 him. Happy birthday red baby!

Taryn said...

What a wonderful post! Happy Birthday to Caleb and Happy New Year to you all!

manymuddypaws said...

awwww, what a sweet story. Happy Birthday Caleb!!!

Cibo said...

this is a lovely post, short but reflective, long but sweet, I'm so glad that you've managed to polish the year off happily with a good boy like the Lib, aww <3 Merry holiday and a comfy new year, babes <3

Traci said...

awwwww - I laughed, I cried, and I laughed some more... what a great story and fabulous pictures! You really did need this dog!

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