Monday, July 29, 2013

Henry Top Gun Walker, an Introduction


Henry after we first got him, courtesy of my brother-in-law, Aaron!

Henry today
See this puppy? This is my puppy love, Henry Top Gun Walker (explanation on his middle name below). He looks so much different today than when we first got him! Henry is not the dog I expected when I first started looking for one, but he is definitely the dog I needed. That is why Henry's story will be forever remembered as a provision from God.

I grew up with a toy poodle (more on her later!), and I think they are the best breed in the world. I am admittedly biased, of course. Poodles have over-the-top, dramatic personalities, which I absolutely adore. They are extremely smart and easy to train as well. Additionally, poodles know they look good, and are not afraid to let you know!

As many of you know, it feels empty living in a house without a dog when you are used to having one around. When Jared and I started to discuss getting a dog, I wanted another poodle because I had such a good experience with my first one. But since I am married, I had to listen to Jared's opinion as well. My husband grew up with outside dogs, so the concept of a fluffy indoor dog did not appeal to him at first. Plus my first poodle HATED Jared, so he did not have the best impression of poodles either. But finally, when Jared saw how much it would mean to me, he agreed we could get a poodle in January 2012. Henry is one of the greatest gifts Jared ever gave me, and I will always remember that.

I immediately started looking for a breeder to give me a dog very similar to my first poodle. Unfortunately there were no poodle breeders where we live, so I had to expand my search. I quickly realized there is a lot of competition for female toy poodles, and they were expensive. I finally found a breeder named Paula Collins in Kaufman, Texas, near Dallas. I liked the homey feel of her Web site and her prices were the most-reasonable I could find. When I emailed her with a very detailed list of questions, she answered me quickly and professionally. I felt confident we had found our breeder.

When talking about the puppy we wanted, Jared and I agreed on a brown female toy poodle we could get in summer 2012. "Brown" was kind of an arbitrary choice of fur color, we just liked it best. "Female" because neither of us had ever had a male dog. We also wanted a toy poodle to make future travel easy. And finally, we wanted our puppy in the summer so Jared could help take care of her before he started school in the fall. I sent all these requirements to Paula, and fortunately, she had the perfect litter set to be born in June. I put down a deposit and anxiously awaited our new family member.

Poor Paula. I emailed her incessantly over the next several months! I wanted to know every detail about our puppy. I couldn't wait to welcome her into our home. Jared and I even picked out a name! As the months went on, I grew more and more anxious for our poodle. It seemed like she would never be born! Closer to June, Paula emailed and warned me the mother poodle may only have one puppy. I wasn't even concerned, because I could visualize our little poodle girl. There was no way she wouldn't be born.

Finally, on June 9, 2012, the date of our good friends' wedding, Paula emailed me about the birth. The mother did only have one puppy, and it was a boy.

To say I was devastated was an understatement. Paula did not have any more toy litters of any color, and it was really too late for our time frame to find another breeder. This sounds silly and dramatic, but it honestly felt like I experienced a death because my vision for this puppy was so strong. Fortunately, Jared saved the day. As we discussed a potential solution, Jared said, "why don't we just take the boy puppy? It could be a new adventure for us to have together".

I had not even considered taking the male puppy. None of our friends had male dogs. I did some research, and most articles I read agreed male dogs are very similar to female dogs, particularly if you get them neutered before they hit puberty. Since Jared was so excited about the idea of a male dog, I thought, why not? It was either take the male puppy or not have a dog. I emailed Paula to let her know.

I still wasn't too sure about a male puppy until Paula sent me this picture:
OMG. Talk about love at first sight. Who couldn't love such a sweet baby?

We picked up our puppy on Aug. 4, 2012. Jared and I had several names we were considering, but when we saw the little guy, we knew his name had to be Henry. We stayed that night at a friend's house who lived close to Paula. Henry started running around the room as fast as he could, and our friend said, "well look at you, top gun!" The name stuck and is now Henry's middle name. And I will say male dogs are very similar to female dogs, they are just a little bit harder to potty train.

As I mentioned before, even though Henry was not the puppy I initially visualized, he has been such a loyal, loving little dog. He makes my heart happy and I am so grateful to have him in my life. God knew what He was doing when there was just one little boy born in our litter!