The last and final part to my story, of the four dogs who’ve changed my life, is possibly the most important one. At this point my husband and I had gotten Saga and were a month and a half into seeing how our lives were changing with a dog. With each command or trick that she learned, my husband danced around and held her like she had won a national dog champion contest. I had never seen this side of him before and I realized in full, just how wonderful of a father he would be someday.
It was heartbreaking, however, to leave each morning with Saga reaching up and peeking over the dog gate whimpering for me to stay.
I knew that she needed a companion to always be with her while we were away. So we arranged to get another chocolate Labrador from a different breeder to be her lifelong best friend and another addition to our family. He was the only boy in a litter with four sisters. When the breeder sent us pictures of him, I could tell which one he was because he had small white marking on his toes and his chest (as is a unique and special quality of pure bred chocolate Labradors) just like my Bou Bou had.
I was excited to meet our little boy pup when we the breeder let us visit him two weeks before we were to bring him home. We had discussed what to name him and finally settled on Bamse. Bamse is the most popular Swedish comic book character. He is a little bear with blue overalls and when he drinks his Thunder Honey, he becomes the world’s strongest bear. He is always (and this is important) the world’s nicest bear though. He is never mean. The breeder had told us how big Bamse would probably get, so we thought that the name suited him. I expected the vigor and playfulness that we had seen in Saga, and I knew I was much better prepared since I already had a puppy.
I was gravely mistaken on both accounts.
When I saw Bamse for the first time, he was a tiny dark chocolate ball on the ground and was chewing on a little brown football.
When he saw me walk into the room and sit down, he galloped over to me, as gracefully as a six week old puppy can. I picked him up and he promptly wrapped himself around my arm holding on with both paws.
My heart was in a puddle at my feet and I didn’t know how I could leave him for the next two weeks. The breeder remarked, “He’s pretty mellow, but it sure looks like he likes you.” After a little while, all of Bamse’s sisters had collected at our feet and were pushing and shoving each other around. Lance and Cori (a best friend of mine) were having a ball petting tons of puppies! They were certainly all adorable, but I held the one in my arms who I could tell didn’t want to be anywhere else.
Finally, the breeder asked if we wanted to meet Bamse’s father. We nodded yes and within a few moments, the largest Labrador that I have ever seen in my life galloped into the room. He stepped over the couch without needing to clamor and stuck his nose a few inches from my face. He was magnificent, even taller than my Spot had been. He was a yellow Labrador with the chocolate gene that gave him chocolate skin beneath his fur and a chocolate nose. I looked down at my little chocolate Bamse in my arms and wondered if he would grow as large as his father.
We finally left, reluctant to leave our chocolate boy. The next two weeks were like torture, but finally we got to come back and bring Bamse home. Before I even sat down in the car with him, he was comfortably asleep in my arms.
That day our little family became a little more complete. We had a new best friend who loved us and trusted us to take care of him.
When we got him home, he was timid as Saga sniffed him up and down. Two weeks older than him, Saga was like a giant compared to him, though we knew that he would eventually catch up and surpass her in size. Bamse's adjustment to our home was very different from Saga's. She had cried being alone in the night, but Bamse never cried because he had Saga to snuggle close to. It was only a matter of days before they were inseparable.
I also realized more and more how different my puppies were. Saga was ever alert, wanting to sniff every inch of the perimeter and room and before settling down. She liked to sit and stand rather than lay down. Bamse never cared about anything, but Lance, Saga, and me. If I stop moving, Bamse wrapped himself around my feet. If I sat on the floor, Bamse buried himself in my lap, never moving until I had to get up. I realized how glad I was to two such different puppies. I loved their individual personalities and their special qualities.
Bamse came into my life and filled the maternal part of my heart. He has taught me to love in a deep and sweet way. He is always happy and always ready to do a front roll into my lap and snuggle me to death. He has grown tremendously and learned so much!
He makes me feel special and it's made me remember how important that is. Every person needs to feel special. When I have children someday, I want to make them feel special, but I know that Bamse will help me a lot with that. I am so grateful for Bamse and how he has changed me for the better.