Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's time

Those of you who are close friends to me know that I had a best friend named Calli who passed away almost 5 years ago. I loved her dearly. And she loved me unconditionally whether I was in a bad mood or good, whether I spoke to her with impatience or kindness and whether I ignored her or showered her with attention. The day she died was, to date, the saddest day of my life. And I'll never forget the days after she died which I spent alone in my darkened room; unable to work, unable to talk on the phone, unable to even see my family for the risk of breaking down into uncontrollable, heart-wrenching sobs was absolute. Calli was my dog. My dog; my best friend.

Just a few months old - back in 1991

I used to have this theory that my dad's father, "Da" made me a lover of dogs when upon my 2-week birthday, he arrived in California ready to meet me and bearing the gift of a small stuffed puppy. I realize now that I was likely always meant to be a dog lover and the gift was merely a coincidence. But for some reason, as a child, I'd always ask my mom if Da's gift was the reason I loved dogs so much. She had no answer. What she did have for me, after I left that childhood - was a story of how instead of imaginary friends, I had an imaginary dog. She recounted how around the age of 4, I'd trot through the kitchen, pause about halfway, stop and turn, bend over a bit and pat*pat*pat my knee and call for "Toto". I apparently did this enough times that Mom actually remembered it (she has so few stories of our childhoods due to her self proclaimed "poor memory".)

Likely the only picture you'll ever see of me in a swimsuit - so enjoy!
Mom and Dad finally gave in to my incessant begging for a dog when we moved to a house with a yard that was not "all pool" as our first one had been. Calli became like a sister in our family. We hardly ever left her at home. She joined us for family walks to the park. She'd ride in the car to pick up carpools. She lay next to us during dinner and slept next to us while we watched TV. She growled at other dogs who dared run up to Dad while out on their jog. She happily joined us for trips to our cabin in Tahoe every time we'd go. She promptly scooted out her dog door to keep our large yard free of all cats and would suddenly perk up on high alert should she ever hear us utter that bad word ("cat"). About halfway through her life, Calli had to undergo surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed. She arrived home that evening looking pretty battered and very worn out. Mom slept downstairs with her that night - just in case she needed anything. And as Calli aged and started having trouble eating her dry dog food - Mom would cook her stew and serve it over rice. Calli was, without a doubt, the third child in our family.

This was her favorite afternoon napping place - with the perfect spot of sun

After Calli died the only thought that could console me for the following year was the idea of getting another puppy to ease the pain and the void. Logistics just weren't right though. I didn't yet have a place of my own and Mom & Dad had just begun their "Golden Years" of jet-setting from here-to-there so were no longer in a position to have a dog. I swore I'd get a dog as soon as I bought a place.

And then I bought a place. Had a ridiculously crazy social life. Was always here or there, or out and about. Traveling and working and making friends and meeting men and I too - was not in a position to have a dog.

Yes, the pants are pegged. Get over it - I did. ;)
But (as this blog demonstrates) I've finally slowed down. I find myself baking on Saturday nights instead of party-hopping in San Francisco. I come home after work to make dinner and relax instead of going out for drinks and fancy food until the restaurants close. My friends are mostly married and some are having families. Top it all off with my oldest friend ~ one of 28 years ~ Tracey, the professional dog trainer/professional doggie daycare manager swearing to me that I can own a somewhat notoriously energetic Labrador as long as I commit to exercise and training (wait is she just trying to get me in shape?)

Wasn't she gorgeous? The "golden-est" yellow lab there was!
So it happened. One day last week - I think perhaps last Wednesday. Almost like an early birthday gift. We were talking and suddenly - we'd decided to get a puppy!! We couldn't think of any truly bad reason why not! And by Wednesday of this week I found myself already on a waitlist! There's no guarantee that I'll get this particular puppy - I'm being rather particular and requesting a yellow female (Labrador) and I'm 3rd on the list for a litter of blacks and yellows. So if the pregnant mama decides to birth only blacks or only yellow boys or heck, even only 2 yellow'll be on to my next breeder. But essentially - the hunt is on!

Why do you just keep laughing? Let me in!
And here's where I'd love your help! Please help us pick a name! Please feel free to leave name suggestions as a comment to this post too! This is the fun "no hard work yet" part of getting a dog.

Yes, I did speak to my dog in a baby-voice. My apologies.
Calli was there for me on my darkest days. She'd let me hug her and would lie in my lap as if she fit. The worst part of losing her was not having that sweetheart to hug during those dark, dark times. Oh and let's not forget how cruel the day was when a cat ventured into our yard full of confidence and cockiness.

"My sweet Calli-girl, I'll always love you and I'll always miss you and I'll never forget you... But I'm ready, and I think it's finally time..."


  1. Aside from Lulu and Sage, all of the other names are on my vanilla list-tons of them in daycare. I'm still voting for Poppy. :)

  2. Calli was so adorable! Can't wait to meet your new pup!

  3. How about Cassi? Similar to your 1st lab :)

  4. nilla wafer! twinkie! can't wait to see the pix.