The Shoe

We moved to Missoula on New Year’s Eve, 1998.  It was our first home and our first opportunity to have a dog.  The house needed some work including a new kitchen.  Since everything in the kitchen was coming out anyway, we decided we could get a puppy and keep her there during her formative months – so what if she chewed up the cabinets.  Which, turns out, she did.

Julie grew up with Black Labs, and constantly talked about one day having a Black Lab of her own.  Black.  Always Black.  One word: blacklab. I thought there was no other kind.

So, Spring of 1999, we went to visit some puppies.  The litter was a mix of mostly black and a few yellow pups, and they were rolling around in the breeder’s front yard when we arrived.  Julie immediately threw herself into the pile of puppies and on her way to the party lost her shoe.  After a few minutes, a little pudgy yellow – yes, yellow – pup left the group, walked over to Julie’s shoe, and crawled into it.  And that was that.  She picked us.

We had talked a lot about what kind of dog we wanted.  Disposition was important.  We wanted a calm dog, so we asked if we could meet the parents.  The breeder said yes we could meet Mom, but we would have to come back in a few days.  We said we wanted the pudgy yellow one, but contingent on our parental conference.  A few days later we returned, and first things first, were introduced to Mom, the most hyper Lab I have ever met.

Julie and I both looked at each other with alarm, but there was no way we were going to change our minds about our pup.  On the way home she was a squirmy bundle of energy, and then she collapsed and suddenly fell asleep in Julie’s lap, and that’s the moment she became ours.