Coco {The Back Story}

I've had this post rumbling around in my head for a few weeks now but finally am putting 'pen to paper'. Sorry for the length - just trying to write everything down so I don't forget {I'll be using this for our "Coco" scrapbook}

Our sweet Maddie has wanted a dog for, oh, as long as she could toddle around on two feet. She is a lover of all animals, ESPECIALLY dogs and horses.

As for the dog bit, I really am not a dog person. I don't like big dogs that slobber and stink and leave massive quantities of hair {and poop - who am I kidding} all over the place. There are precious few {and I do mean precious few} big dogs that I have ever liked. Ever.

So our reasons for not getting a went something like this:

There's no way we're getting a dog because it's like having another baby and I didn't do well with cleaning up the poop from my two babies so why on EARTH would I purposely have a dog where I had to pick up its poop, in.MY.HANDS. That's just GROSS people. 

And then there's the whole lack of sleep thing because you have to take care of them in the middle of the night. Or so I thought. Again, selfish mode took over and there was just no way I was going to give up sleep at night for a four-legged creature that slobbered and pooped and stunk. No way. Never. I was pretty firm on this. {Clearly my firmness softened over time} I mean really, if I had wanted a family of 5 I would have had another kid. But I didn't, so I stopped at 4. That's how good I am at math. 

And then this winter, Miss Maddie came up with the brilliant idea of starting a dog-walking business. {See here for details.} And honestly, she blew me away at her responsibility and her love for Max {and later, Ellie}. She never complained even during some of those frigid cold winter days when we walked Max after school. She was excited to pet and walk and even -- gag-me-with-a-spoon -- pick up poop with her hands and a bag. {Dry-heaving right now.} 

And let's talk about how Maddie inundated us with note after note after note about reasons WHY we should get a dog.  
Jack and I had the conversation, in February, where we opened our minds up to the POSSIBILITY of owning a dog. It would have to be a small pup. And non-shedding. {And non-stinky and very, very cute and fluffy were my other thoughts.}  

We toyed with the idea, potentially wanting to give Maddie the gift of her dreams. She had proven herself. Any other adult we'd ever heard talk about dogs mentioned that their kids promised that they were going to take care of the puppy and within a day or so, mom was doing all the work. But Maddie had shown her responsibility. We knew deep down that she would, indeed, care for the pup. {And she has proven us correct over the past 3 weeks.} 

So we continued toying with the idea and by late March Jack was doing research into finding a reputable breeder. We decided on the Morkie breed - half Maltese, half Yorkie. Small, non-shedding, fluffy, cute. {Read: not big, slobbery, stinky, or sheddy.} 

While I was in Canada for Spring Break, Jack found a Morkie breeder -- Mama Bogue in Indiana. I love that about my guy; he does research and does it well. Upon my return he showed me pictures of our potential 'baby' and we fell promptly in love. 

SO WE DID IT. It was most definitely NOT on a whim. We made the very calculated, intentional decision to get a puppy for our Maddie. {It's technically our 'family dog' but our intention was for it to bond with Maddie since she would be the primary caregiver.}

The following Saturday Jack drove 4 hours, one way, over to Indiana to meet Mama Bogue, check out the pups and if it seemed like a reputable place, he would put the down-payment on the puppy and we would officially begin the 'adoption' process. He could tell instantly that Mama Bogue was a great, honest, loving puppy breeder and knew that our 'baby' would be well taken care of until we could pick her up a few weeks later. He took video {which now that I'm thinking about it, we haven't watched this since we actually got our baby so we need to pull that out and watch it again.} and late at night, after the kids were fast asleep, we'd watch the video, just dying to bring our pup home. 

Again, all this was a total surprise to everyone else on the planet. Just Mama Bogue, Jack and I knew ... and it was SO hard to keep the surprise but we did it ... 

The plot thickens. 

We planned to give the puppy to the kids on the Saturday before Mother's Day, up at the lake house in Michigan, with Jack's sister and dad with us. {They were in the dark, too} So we plotted and planned and came up with a brilliant covert operation. The kids and I would ride up with Aunt Bec on the Friday night to the lake, Jack would come up with some fake excuse at the last minute about needing to launch a website for work and he'd join us early afternoon on Saturday. 

Little did they know, he was going to pick up the puppy in Indiana. "Operation Charlie Charlie" began as he texted along the way -- don't ask -- we just got silly one evening and figured we needed to give the whole thing a military flavor. 

At Checkpoint A, I had the green light to go ahead and let Becky and Jack's Dad in on the secret so they could help me get the kids out of the house so that Jack could arrive and set up the puppy in the living room, under cover of a big, wrapped box. 

Checkpoint B arrived, which meant it was time for us to skiddaddle so Jack could arrive safely. 

Checkpoint C arrived -- Beachhead was secure and I could bring home the troops to launch the surprise! 

Jack met us outside the cottage and casually mentioned that he had a little something for Maddie for an early birthday present and seeing that her birthday is part way through the summer, and it was something she might want to enjoy during the summer, he thought it might be nice if she opened it up now, instead of waiting until July. {We knew she would think 'beach toy' because we were at the lake and that's exactly what she thought.} She fell for it. 

We all entered the cottage, wandered to the front room where there was a great big box. Maddie turned and said, "I thought you said it was a little something?" She started unwrapping and eventually Jack just said how about you lift up the big box and there below, was the little puppy. {Later Maddie admitted that at first she thought it was a guinea pig} 

She looked at it, puzzled, and then looked at Jack, and then said, "Do we get to keep it?"  
Yes, yes we do sweet girl. You earned this puppy. She could hardly believe it. At one point she pinched herself and said, "Pinch me. Is this real? Is this happening?" {or something along those lines} ... 

Jack read her a note he had written for her ... She responded with beautiful tears as he read to her: 

"Dearest Maddie -- If it's possible, we are almost as excited as you are by giving you this gift today. Yea!!!!!! You finally have a dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

It's quite interesting to see how quickly you have changed the hearts of your parents, who, although we love dogs, had no intention of getting one. But I've been impressed with the consistent messages that you have been leaving that have told us what you wanted and why. You wanted ... I mean, you really wanted this dog, and it showed. You never gave up. When you really want something, pray and pursue it without giving up, sometimes you can change even the most difficult circumstances. 

This past year I have been completely blown away by your responsibility. You are incredibly conscientious with walking Max and Eliie, taking exceptional care of your leopard geckos, getting your homework done well and without us needing to remind you. That is great Maddie. Yes -- responsibility sometimes means work -- but it also has its benefits that you have earned! You have proven that you are more than capable to have and care for a dog. Great job Maddie. I'm proud of you! You've earned this dog! 

But more than anything Maddie, the reason why we're so excited to be giving you this puppy is because we know how much you will love it! We want to celebrate you ... the sweet person that God created. You have always loved all living things. You are a nurturer, a care-giver. You have a big heart with lots of love to give. We celebrate who you are and rejoice with you. We love you sweet girl!"

 Daddie and Mommie  
There was something absolutely magical about giving our child something that she never, EVER thought she would get. {She jokingly would say things like, "When I'm 18 and not living here any more I'll get my first puppy. It'll be about time!"} 

To give a gift that she desperately wanted and had no idea she was getting brought pure joy for us. We had easily as much joy in giving the puppy as she did in receiving it, and that's really hard to wrap my head around. But it's true. 

So true.

Without further delay, here are a few pictures of Coco and the kids that first day back in May... the pictures you have all been asking about!  
And now it's FAQ time. 

Q: Why the Morkie breed? 
A: I happened to be at a pet store getting leopard gecko stuff back in January and there was a little Morkie there and it was just so incredibly cute. Jack has had some exposure to the Maltese breed, so this seemed like the perfect option. Again, after Jack did much research on the different breeds. 
 
Q: How did you guys come up with the name Coco? 
A: Well, because we knew this little gal was going to be with us for, oh, a decade or two, we knew we wanted a good name that would be easy to say, clever, cute, and, well, not "puppy or brownie" or something rather generic. So early on, Jack and I had a running list of names we each liked and then we narrowed it down to 4 names that we knew we both really liked and could live with and then we sort of, how shall we say it, guided the kids to one of those names.  
Q: What were the four names? 
A: Sunny, Coco, Gracie and now I'm blanking and can't remember the 4th. Jack??? 

Q: You knew Maddie would love the dog but did you think you'd fall in love with it? 
A: Well, you're right. I knew Maddie would be absolutely over-the-moon in love with whatever puppy we brought home. And I knew I would like it but I had NO IDEA how fast and hard I would fall in love with little Coco. She has brought me so much joy it's really hard to describe. She has definitely slowed the pace of my life down. Like to a screeching halt, which has been a great thing. And actually, a really cool timing thing which I can elaborate on in a later post. 

Q: How old is Coco? 
A: She was born March 10th in a litter with 2 other pups. She and one of the others looked identical and were tiny compared to the 3rd. 

Q: How much does she weigh? 
A: She's one pound four ounces right this minute with the potential to only get up to 4 pounds. She's a little one but she thinks she's big, so that's all good. 

Q: Aren't you afraid you're going to step on her? 
A: Um, yes, every single minute of the day. I'm working on letting some of that 'fear' go and realizing that I just have to be super careful and walk slower and look before stepping. I'm learning. {It has gotten much easier over time.}

 Q: So is Maddie really helping? 
A: Absolutely. She loves little Coco and it's very sweet to watch Coco run after her and love her to pieces. Very sweet, the bond between a child and a puppy. 

Q: Any other puppies in your future? 
A: Are you on drugs? 

Q: Are you getting sleep at night? {See, having a puppy really is like having a child.} 
A: Starting to but I have been getting up part way through night to take her out to do her business. I'm dedicated like that. 

Q: Wet or dry dog food? 
A: Dry. {Wet smells and is yucky. In my humble opinion.}

Q: Size of poops? 
A: Smaller than a tootsie roll {one of the main selling points on this breed, again in my oh-so-humble opinion} 

Q: Crate Training? 
A: Yes and she's finally getting good at it. Oh happy day. Jackson had the brilliant idea of pulling out his toy little stuffed animal crate and it fits her perfectly and not one accident since that first night!

Q: Taking many pictures of her? 
A: Are you on drugs?
 
Q: Can she fit in a little purse? 
A: Yes, and she's already made one trip to Home Depot with me, in the purse. No one knew until I couldn't stand it and had to take her out and show her off. 

And so there you have it. The back story on sweet little Coco puff. 

Thanks for 'listening' and if you got this far you're a true friend! 

My clever, handy husband Jack built a ramp for the back steps so her royalty can run up the stairs all by herself! Is she spoiled or what?

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