Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This is our dog Brodie. And just like many of the choices/decisions/purchases/arrangements my wife and I have made over the years, we adopted him without putting much thought into what an important, life-changing decision it would be. And, as with most of the others, adopting Brodie was one of the most rewarding decisions we've ever made.

For a little background, here are some of the other "snap" decisions my wife and I have made:

We started dating one week after meeting. Engaged after 6 months. Married 10 months later (and 1.5 years of knowing each other). Bought a house after viewing it one time each (and before either of our parents could check it out). Bought our first car the first night we started looking at the first car lot we went to. Rented the first house we viewed the first day we got to Omaha. Etc., etc., etc.

And of course, the third member of our family came into our lives in a similar fashion.

During my second year of teaching elementary school, I wore a Cabella's logo shirt to school on a casual Friday. My principal asked me if I hunted. I told her I had in my youth, but hadn't done much in recent years. She then asked me if I needed a hunting dog. I kind of stood there, so she proceeded to tell me that her daughter was trying to find a new home for their 2 year old black lab, as they had two young daughters, with another on the way, and he was too much work for their busy lives. She emailed me the flier her daughter had put together, which had his stats and a picture. I emailed it to my wife and she said it was up to me. So, of course, after about 3 nanosecond I said yes.

My principal was happy, but she was smart enough to know a hasty decision when she saw one, so she suggested we meet Brodie first. I agreed and we scheduled a time for her daughter to bring Brodie to our house.

When that day arrived, and when we opened our door upon seeing my principal's daughter K.'s family pull up to our house we were greeted by a hip-high, 80 pound bundle of energy. Brodie gave us the obligatory crotch-sniff greeting. We took him to our backyard so that we could get to know Brodie a little better (and so K. and her family could decide if we were suitable parents for her pup). After an hour of playing fetch, we all knew Brodie would not be leaving our house. So, K. and her family gave us Brodie's Kong, food dish, and his favorite blanket, and, with tears in their eyes, headed back to Denver. And, as they say, the rest is history.

At the time, my wife and I had a cat named Tom. We would later discover that his name suited him well, because he was the classic tomcat. He was an indoor/outdoor cat. When he was inside, he ran the joint. He was constantly pouncing on our legs, or, when we were in our bed, any appendage that was not under the covers. When he was outside, he would constantly brawl with the neighborhood wildlife. He was covered with scars from these adventures.

So when we adopted Brodie, one of our chief concerns was how/if he and Tom would get along. The first few nights he kept them isolated from each other. At one point, we got the bright idea to bring Tom into the room that Brodie was in. To say it didn't work would be an understatement. So, we eventually let nature take its course, and Brodie and Tom became accustomed to each other and before long they were laying with each other in the same room. After a while they even became buddies.

Brodie is an amazing creature. He is the epitome of unconditional love. He is always happy to see us when we get home. He is literally "man's best friend".

He gets me off my butt when I'm feeling lazy. He nudges me outside when I'm too wrapped up in my computer and should be enjoying whatever weather awaits me outside. He loves playing fetch, going on walks, and, especially, retrieving his buoy in any body of water that we can find.

He is kind and gentle and affectionate. He loves cuddling on the couch or bed. He loves wrestling with my wife on the floor.

He is my wife's protector and bed mate if I'm ever out of town. And his bark is the best home security system money can buy.

He has taught me a level of responsibility that, short of having kids, I have avoided most of my adult life. I am his caretaker. I am his friend. I am his parent.

While his nose and stomach often gets him into trouble (he has consumed 2-3 pans of brownies, one bag of chocolate chips, one chicken carcass, countless loaves of bread, and bags of bagels), it is impossible to stay angry with him for long when he puts his head down in shame and refuses to look me in the eyes until the tone of my voice returns to a more neutral state.

His puppy eyes, wagging tail, and slobbery tongue melt my heart like nothing else. The joy he feels from a pat on the head or a rub of the tummy is priceless.

He'll never know how much he has changed our lives, and I hope that we provide him 1/100th of the love he gives us. For these reasons, and those that I'm unaware of or am unable to express, I dread the day that he is no longer in our lives. I have no idea the emotions that K. and her family experienced when they gave Brodie up for adoption, but I will be eternally grateful to her and her husband for raising such an amazing boy and for allowing us to become his parents.


  1. I love this post. So well written. And it makes me feel guilty about mine.

  2. This made me laugh and cry.

    I love reading about how you guys came about getting Brodie..I never knew the whole story. It is strange thinking about the fact that he had another family before you guys, it just seems like he's always only been yours.

    You forgot to mention how he is SUCH a sweetie that he completely melted my pet-loathing heart. I just can't wait for the day I get to adopt a dog of my own.

  3. I am at work with a little tear in my eye. He is such an amazing boy and we are so lucky to have him. - Rach

  4. This definitely makes me stop and consider the incredible joy my dog, Rex, brings to our lives. He's amazing too, so why is it I take him for granted? Sue