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Four Dogs?!? Yeah, The Ones Who Changed My Life - Part 3

It had been about 2 1/2 years since Bou Bou had passed away and left me with an aching in my heart that was insatiable. I was married and we had just bought our first house. We were excited to say the least, but the house can with a stipulation. My husband, Lance, had agreed that as soon as we had a backyard, we would get a dog. My husband had grown up with dogs being the "hunting animal" and didn't really have the same feelings as I did about a dog being a member of the family. I knew this experience would change him... Labradors change people.

We settled into the house in April and May, but I was already searching through ads in the newspapers and hunting online for our future pup. We agreed that because they are the number one family dog and are the best at accepting children into a family, we would get a labrador (and because I am partial to chocolate labs, we were hoping for chocolate). I finally found a breeder who had a litter of several male labs and one chocolate female. Lance reluctantly gave in and we paid to reserve her. The wait until mid June was TORTURE... Every car ride was spent discussing names for our long awaited puppy and I was thrilled to finally have someone to come home to.

One of the requirements I had to getting our labrador was that she be AKC registered and we get breeding rights with her. I was so awed and amazed by helping my Bou Bou deliver her puppies when I was a child, that I decided that I wanted my children to experience the same thing. It helped me appreciate life and begin to understand the greatness of motherhood. Having our puppy be AKC registered would simply give her future puppies a much greater chance at finding wonderful homes someday.

The day finally came for Lance and I to go pick up our little chocolate lady from Prescott. We armed ourselves with a blanket, collar, and water bottle to go and get the newest member of our family. Lance was happy to see me so happy, but I know he somewhat dreaded the work a dog would bring. By the time we got to Prescott, I had to use the restroom. I basically ran into the lady's house asking for it and thinking that she would afterward take us to see our puppy. To my surprise, I walked out of the restroom to see that Lance was already holding a tiny, squishy ball of chocolate. I looked at her nuzzling into his chest and realized that his heart was already won. He was in love with her and my heart was in a puddle at my feet. The breeder asked, "Whatcha gonna namer her?" Lance and I said at the same time, "Saga." I was grinning from ear to ear. Saga is Swedish for "story" and it seemed fitting for her since she was the next chapter in ours.

Lance and I took turns driving home so that we could both hold Saga and snuggle her. When we got home, I laid on the floor as she slept beside me in the room that we had prepared for her. She would wake with a spurt of energy and then after about twenty minutes, her little body would pass exhausted into a nap wherever she stood. At night, she cried so pitifully that we finally brought her into our bedroom. There she slept contentedly under my hand hanging from the bedside. Occasionally I would wake to her whimpers and realize that she had rolled farther under the bed and couldn't see my hand anymore. Pulling her out and plopping her back on her blanket, she would promptly go back to sleep.

After a few nights she could finally sleep on her own in her room and she was beginning to go outside to go to the bathroom and I was glad that the accidents inside weren't every five minutes. Each day I came home to her trying to peek over the gate that kept her in her room while we were away and she was always glad to see me. I realized what wonderful practice for having children she was and I felt my love for her growing each day. She was extremely quick to learn tricks and also quick to get into mischief, but we loved her all the same. She became Lance's pride and joy and it made me see even more clearly what an incredible father he would be someday.

Saga changed our lives for the better and suddenly the space in my heart where Bou Bou and Spot had left a hole, was starting to fill with more love.The moments with her each evening while we waited for Lance to get home were what I looked forward to more than anything else. Someday we knew we would get a best friend for Saga, but it was going to be much sooner than we thought...