Everyone that knows my wife knows how big of a dog lover she is. Her news feed is dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, me, dog stuff, dog stuff, dog stuff, guns, dog stuff dog stuff, dog stuff, and then something random. She's the one that cries if a dog is even "hurt" or "killed" in a TV show or movie ... it's pretty bad too. I'm not talking like watery eyes either.
From day 1, all she had really talked about was wanting to get a dog and I kept shooting down the idea. It's not that I don't like them or anything, it's just I figured us getting a dog meant me having to take care of it and take it out to potty every single time (which isn't far from reality).
This past year, she turned the dreaded 3-0, so I thought the only gift to really lessen that blow would be to let her get a puppy. Even with less than a year of marriage under my belt, I knew not to pick one out myself and to give that honor to her, so her birthday present was a dog bowl and shirt.
The search began almost immediately, but I kept telling her "just don't fall in love with the very first one." Knowing how much she loves dogs, I didn't want her to just say "oh, this is a dog, I want it." I wanted her to pick out the perfect one that she just couldn't live without.
Well, surprise, she fell in love with the very first one we looked at, but little did I know then, it would also be the perfect one that she (and I) couldn't live without.
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself to be picture overloaded. You've seen glimpses of him, but allow me to introduce you to Harley "Rhett" Fowler. I named him Harley since that's where we met back up and ultimately started our relationship as more than friends. Dawn picked Rhett because she loves Gone With The Wind. I ultimately got overruled on which name he went by, I mean, he was her gift.
Day 1 he was just weeks old, cold and scared on the ride ... home.
We laid out an old blanket in the middle of the floor for him to play on (and in case he had accidents (and he did) it would act as a little barrier to the carpet). The funny part about it though, for the first month or so, he wouldn't venture off the blanket. It was like his own little play area and he knew that was "his spot".
We couldn't figure out if he was cold or scared (or both), but he kept ducking his head between my body and elbow. Either way, it was the sweetest thing ever.
He was so little (or wittle as Dawn says it), that when we let him walk around in the backyard, he nearly disappeared in the grass.
He could even sleep long-ways in my lap.
(one of my favorite pictures)
And would fall asleep on both of our arms.
Shortly after we got him, he experienced his first snow.
The good and the bad parts of the snow. We took him on a short walk, and, well ...
He was too short to get on the chair and when we'd put him up there he'd just jump right down anyway, so we had to sit in the floor on pillows for weeks (or months) ... which led to a lot of stiff backs.
And of course, one of his favorite things to do ... seat steeling.
When we finally got him to spend some time on the couch, he still picked the pillows.
So we got him his own pillow, which he ended up using as a step up and down from the couch and not as an actual pillow.
I have to go out of town every now and then for work, but the trips are never as bad when these type pictures come through on my phone.
When I had to have my nose surgery, we were both a little worried how he'd act around me. We weren't sure if he'd get hyper and jump on me and potentially hit my nose or not. I got home, and got into position on the chair. Dawn sat him on the chair and he just walked up, sat in my lap and laid with me. He didn't stay like that forever, but he definitely knew he daddy wasn't feeling well and he just wanted to cuddle up with me to make me feel better ... it worked.
He absolutely loves going on walks, and he'll let you know when he's ready for one too.
Long before the training classes, he was a good walker. Like when I'm holding him, he has "his spots". He loves to walk on the lip or on top of the curb. It doesn't matter where we are, if there's a curb, he jumps up on it and strolls right down it.
What do I mean when I say "his spot". To be his spot, he has to be in my left arm facing the left. He doesn't like my right arm, and if he's facing the other direction, he'll turn around. Dawn can hold him like a baby, but if I try, he'll wiggle around to get right back in this position.
My favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. One day we were shopping and I saw this "big" stuffed Scooby Doo, and had to get it for him. Come to find out, it ended up being on clearance, so it was a win-win, and Rhett absolutely loves it. It's kind of turned into his, um, "fun time" friend, but whatever works.
His other best friend is his cuddle puppy. If you get a new puppy, you have to get one of these. They come with a thumping heart and heating pad that you can put in them at night, so they can cuddle up with them and not feel alone. From day one, whether it's the other room, or to grandmother's house, cuddle puppy isn't far behind.
He even throws him arm around cuddle puppy to hold it closer.
The 2 of them even stole my foot rest in my game room.
On the way home from his first ever hair cut, he still wasn't sure about car rides.
Although, there was this one time that we, um, let his hair cut wait too long.
Then there was that time that he stole Pop-Pop's seat while he wasn't home.
I'm not sure any boy ever would, but he did not enjoy having his manhood taken from him.
But Dawn being the good mommy she is, spoon feed him since he couldn't eat by himself.
He even likes helping me cook ... like father, like son.
And this is just him being adorable. Dawn calls this the "Hi" picture because it looks like he's waving, but he's actually got his arm bent down ... still looks like he's waving.
Now, you better watch out, he's so ferocious, he'll attack you ... with kisses and not let you out alive.
Ok, so the only time he's ferocious is when he's yawning ... lazy bum.
He even got to join our 1 year anniversary pictures.
(See how happy he is in his spot?)
He wasn't the biggest fan of his pool ...
but he does love swimming with his cousin in her big pool.
He likes riding in the new truck, because he can sit in mommy's lap and look straight out the window.
Trips downtown mean he gets to enjoy lunch outside on the sidewalks.
Lets not forget, he's also a scholar. He's graduated from Petsmart's 3 step advance training class.
If you give him an open space, he's full speed again. Of course it makes life easier when he's taller than the grass.
I mentioned that he's a seat theft, he also loves socks. So much so that we decided to give him his own pair to play with (trying to kill the excitement of stealing our socks) ... you just better think twice about trying to get them from him ... he's watching.
He's not a fan of the face washing part, but loves bath time.
He's even done a Mutt Strut. Which is a 2 mile walk/run to raise money for the local humane society. We weren't sure how he'd do, since he usually only walks around 1 mile around the neighborhood, but he, literally, strutted the entire 2 miles.
One of the perks of my job, is my boss allows us to work from home on Fridays if we hit goal the previous month. Rhett loves when I hit goal and even helps me get my work done.
He recently got to experience his first ever Halloween and Trick-Or-Treaters.
If there's one thing he's mastered, it's how to take a nap ...
It's not often he'll pass out in our arms, so we take full advantage when he does.
Snuggled with cuddle puppy ... gazing at Scooby.
I have no answers ...
His first ever trip to the park wore him out so much that he fell asleep while I was scratching his chin at a red-light.
I can't believe this little guy ...
Is now this 1 year old stud.
Some people question how much dogs really understand, but trust me, he knows it's a special day for him. He's been prancing around the house all morning. He even got to lay in the big bed with daddy while mommy got ready for work. Well, he got to lay ON daddy ...
I know people like to say which parent a kid looks like, but there's no denying that Rhett is my twin. We both have "smushy" faces and salt and pepper hair.
Happy Birthday to my little rug-rat, the one and only ... Rhett-man.