One year ago, Aaron and I had just returned from our honeymoon. 12 and half acres was too much space not to have a dog and we made it our first initiative as a married couple to get one.
We had been talking about what kind of dog to get since our third date. Aaron told me he wanted a Husky-Wolf mix and I told him I wanted a Wheaton Terrier, our reasons for liking each being completely opposite. Despite our incompatibility in dog preferences, our relationship lasted, but it was a big point of discussion throughout our entire dating and engagement life.
We knew when it came down to actually biting the bullet, we'd need to compromise. Thankfully, I was successful in talking him out of any family pet with "wolf" in the mix and in return I agreed on a bigger breed dog that would enjoy frolicking on the farm.
I was finally sold on a Great Dane when we met a couple of well-behaved Great Dane puppies with great demeanors. Then I went to YouTube.com and found all these videos of Great Danes with babies. These babies were crawling all over these gentle giants, pulling on their ears, spilling milk on them and the dogs just sat there without giving a care at all! Knowing we'd have babies and dogs in the same household, I thought it would be a good breed. Although I was still a little freaked out by their potential size and cost of raising such a big dog. Note that this concern was based on the assumption we would only be getting...one.
We knew we wanted to adopt from a shelter, which would likely mean a mixed breed anyway and I figured a mix wouldn't be as big. I started searching on petfinder.com the day after we got back from our honeymoon and saw a number of Great Danes mixes in need of a home. I inquired about a few before I saw two adorable 4 month old dogs, with their own separate listings. A white dog with black spots named Daisy and a black dog with white markings named Tank. Based on their similar description saying they were found roaming with their sibling, I realized they were brother and sister.
They were both with different foster homes at that time and we didn't know which one we wanted to go see first. I knew that whichever one we went to go see first would likely be coming home with us that day. And then I would have felt like I was tempting fate by only seeing one or cheating one out of the opportunity of being adopted. So I asked the foster homes of each dog if we could arrange to see them at the same time, so that we could better decide which one we wanted to make a part of our family.
In my naive state of mind, I actually thought it would be easier to decide which one we wanted by seeing them both at the same time.
We got to the foster home on the Thursday before the 4th of July weekend. They were both there, Tank stumbling over his big clumsy paws and Daisy, playful and sassy as could be.
The lady from the rescue group was there too.
"We're doing a two for one special on these two. One adoption fee...both dogs."
What a deal! Seriously, that made me laugh. As if a $300 adoption fee would make any dent in the entire cost of raising a second Great Dane for its lifespan.
That's when I looked at Aaron. I've seen a lot of puppy eyes in my life, but none like the ones he gave me that day. If those eyes could talk they were saying, Can we take them both? Can we? Can we?
"Some woman in Iowa found these two in her garden," The Rescue Lady said. "They were so starved they were eating her garden hose! That's why their ribs are showing. We think they were dumped on the side of the road by someone who didn't want them. They had ticks all over them. But we've had them checked out and all their shots are up to date. They just need a loving home and some meat on their bones."
I looked at the dogs again wrestling with each other, their loose skin flapping and I pictured them traveling the road together, trying to survive and fending for their lives. And all they had was each other. I knew if I didn't put my foot down and declare which dog I wanted most, I was toast. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't pick just one.
"Why don't you take them both home with you for the weekend," the Rescue Lady chimed in, noticing my indecision. She knew she already had Aaron as she could see it in his eyes. "Then you can watch them both over a few days and decide which one you want to keep."
Do they give awards out to rescue group workers? Seriously, she was the best sales woman I've ever met! She knew what she was doing and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. She knew we weren't bringing one back. And before I knew, both dogs were in our car coming home with us "for the weekend."
I turned to Aaron when we were a half mile down the road as the dogs licked my face. "We're keeping them both, aren't we?"
He nodded, a big smile on his face.
On the way home we stopped to buy a gigantic kennel since we felt completely naked with absolutely no dog necessities or accessories to speak of. All we had was the leash they came with and a little bit of food so we felt completely ill-prepared for this task ahead.
We invited my sister over and her two kids and decided to keep it a surprise that we had adopted two dogs. First order of business was giving them new names. Specifically Daisy, since Daisy is also the name of my niece. Things would've gotten confusing with two Daisy's, especially with one being a dog. We thought Tank was very fitting and often wonder if we should have kept his original name. But because these were our honeymoon puppies, I liked the two wedding theme names together, Tux and Belle.
Second order of business was testing out these supposed gentle giants on a small child. My rough and tumble 4-year old nephew seemed like a good test.
Until they knocked him over, even though he was laughing in this picture. A little current day insight: the dogs still play as playfully with him and they are now 40-60 lbs bigger than these pictures. He's a tough guy, but not that tough.
Does it get any sweeter?
Okay, yes it does. Dogs spooning!
Among other awkward sleep positions.
Is there room for me in there?
And on the 4th of July, we watched fireworks as a family at the end of our driveway.
And that my friends, is how our family was created. I can't imagine it happening any other way.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!
From the Schrams
Aaron, Ashley, Tux, and Belle.