Monday, March 3, 2014
We went to see her the very first time seven plus years ago. She was happily chowing down on food while her brothers and sisters tumbled, rolled, and ran. The owner placed her sister in our laps. "This is the one you want, " she said. We held the fat, mellow sister as she turned on her laid back charm. While we played with the puppy, we watched one of her eight siblings aggressively attack the food inside a crate, bat a brother out of the way, only to hungrily turn back to the food.
"What about that one?" my husband asked.
"Teale? You don't want her, the owner quipped (referring to her by the color of her collar). She is nothing but trouble. She's too aggressive and bossy, the alpha of the pack."
We looked at each other and smiled. My husband got up and picked up the bossy puppy. She nestled into his neck. He brought her back to the couch and I put the mellow yellow down on the floor. Teale as they called her, plodded along our laps reaching out to nip our hands and faces. She looked at us intently, her face full of vibrancy and expression. Brothers and sisters attempted to get on the couch to convince us to take them but she guarded the couch barking and nipping at them. The message was loud and clear. We knew she was the one.
You see fourteen years before, we played with a yellow lab puppy while the owner told us why we should not take her. "She is the alpha. She will give you a hard time. They are very hard to control. It takes a lot of discipline to make them into good dogs." That day we had taken Molly home with us, never regretting the decision one day. She grew our boys up and stole our hearts. We all mourned deeply when she was gone.
After six months, we were ready for another, a puppy with personality, spunk, and a lot of love to give. Teale was packed up and readied to go home. The owner still giving us names of books, web sites, and words of her own wisdom on how to control an alpha. We glanced at one another with knowing smiles and placated the owner with pretend listening.
Holly greets us when we come through the door. She leans on us, sleeps at our feet, lays under the table when we eat, plays ball with us each night as we settle into the living room for an evening of relaxation. She nurses us when we are ill and celebrates with us when there is joy. She is our second best friend, an alpha worth the effort, and a great joy in our lives.