Saturday, July 20, 2013


A year or so ago we started getting serious about getting a dog.  We have 3 kids and knew that that was it in that department.  And my middle child is just the kind of kid that needs a dog.  He loves animals (and I have no doubt that he would make a great vet one day).  When we went on our annual camping trip to PEI with friends he latched onto their puppy, Lily.
J. with Lily
Now Lily is a little white fluff ball of a dog, all of 7 pounds.  We knew that if we were to get a dog, it wouldn't be another Lily (as cute and sweet as she is). My husband grew up with Labs and knew that they were great family dogs.  We live out in the country and have space for that kind of a dog too.
And so we started looking.  We figured summer would be a great time to get a dog as I'm off work and we could start to train a dog before our heavy winter hit.  My husband's office is in our home so there is usually someone around the house too.
And then we found Charlie.  Charlie was from a litter of 9 in our nearby town.  The owner of his mother (a Lab/Boxer mix) got her off Kijiji and had taken her to be fixed, only to find that she was expecting.  She tracked down the previous owner and was able to acertain that the father of the puppies to be was a German Shepherd.  The new owner really just wanted the puppies to go where they would be taken care of and loved.
We didn't go into getting a puppy for the family lightly.  I knew Lab was a breed that we were looking for but I didn't know anything about Boxers and very little about Shepherds (aside from them being good police dogs).  I googled and talked to people who know dogs and we came to the conclusion that this dog would be a good family dog, provided we take the time to really work with him.

The day we bought Charlie, he's not ready to come home with us yet.

The kids admiring the litter of puppies.

We did a lot of preparing between the time we bought Charlie to the day we brought him home.  Aside from all the puppy paraphernalia, we researched puppy training (and kid training for puppies).  I highly recommend Perfect Paws Puppy Training, it was a wealth of practical information for us.
We brought Charlie home on the Labour Day weekend last year. 
exploring in his new yard

Me with my new puppy

with the kids

J with Charlie

getting to know each other

O taking Charlie for a "walk"

J was the most excited to have a puppy
Over the next few months we learned from each other.  And Charlie turned into a great family dog.  We had a few adventures (such as dealing with his carsickness - we live half an hour from town).  And very slowly his space in the house has been expanded.  Most of the year his house space has been limited to part of the kitchen most of the time, with supervised time in the rest of the bottom floors.  (It's so much easier to house train a dog giving him a space little by little at a time).   He's crate trained and the best investment we've made was getting him the Wireless Guardian System to let him run free in our yard. 
I learned what it meant to have a large dog (I grew up with Scotties) and he learned not to take people food from the counters.  (He once ate a pan full of meatballs ready to go into the oven when my husband was called away from the kitchen for a minute - he never tried it again). 
We've trained both him and my kids how to treat each other and my middle child thinks of him as his best friend.  My older son, who was nervous about dogs before we got Charlie now truly loves him and treats him with kindness. 
Charlie turned 1 last week and no, we didn't celebrate with a doggy cake or anything like that, just took him for a walk and praised him as per usual.
Here's a little look at Charlie's first year:
I love the little puppy head turn here

J thought I was crazy bringing home this big doggie pillow for Charlie, he would soon grow into it

J with Charlie - Charlie still likes to lie down like this, paws in front, legs to the back

a boy and his dog

Charlie went nuts when we brought home lobster for supper last November

One of my favorites

Charlie with his Christmas Bone

He wasn't too sure about the snow at first, but soon grew to love playing in it
J with Charlie up the snow bank
My big dog who thinks he's a little lap dog

We live 7 minutes away from this beach, the perfect place to let him play and run

He can run free when it isn't beach season

Another evening at the beach

J leash training Charlie

O with her pony puppy

She loves her puppy

Sit! Stay!

What a good boy!

Another evening at the beach

J loves to cuddle with his dog

Charlie checking out the spring lobster

Such a good dog

"Sitting" on the couch


morning walk on the beach - camping
Charlie last night, once again "sitting" on the couch


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