Introducing Remy {edit: Riley}

Lord help us, there’s a new puppy in the house. What have we done? We already have Tess, our 5-year-old practically perfect pooch. She adores the kids and is a legit member of their backyard soccer league. She is friends with all the neighbor dogs and loves rigorous ear rubs. She was happy. We were happy.

But no, we couldn’t leave good enough alone. We had to go and get her a sister. Poor Tess had no say in this decision. Doesn’t she look thrilled?

This is little Remy Riley, the puppy who will eventually become Tess’s best little buddy. We hope.

The poor thing lived with us for nearly two weeks before we agreed on her name. Clark wanted to name her Gus, but she’s a girl! The kids lobbied for Riley, but I couldn’t get on board. I desperately wanted to name her Maizy, an homage to Nebraska (corn) and her yellow coloring. But teenage children who volunteer for overnight puppy duty definitely get a vote, and sadly they vetoed my top choice. Just when I thought we were going to permanently name her “Little Dog” we all agreed on Remy {edit: we changed her name to Riley}.

Remy Riley has big eyebrows and an even bigger personality. Biggest of all is her appetite. I know labs like their food, but this little gal tackles it with tenacity like nothing I’ve ever seen. See for yourself:

We purchased a puzzle feed bowl to slow her down, and we’ve been working hard to curb her spastic eating habits. One silver lining: she obeys each and every command as long as we have a few kibbles in our pockets. She’s only 12 weeks old, but we have the basics down!

Maybe it was crazy to invite this chaos into our already chaotic lives, and I take full responsibility. Several months ago I was hanging out with Tess, and I was suddenly flooded with memories of Bailey and Kodi. Memories of Bailey snapping at sprinklers and Kodi chasing tennis balls. Memories of them chasing ground squirrels at Arctic Valley and floating the Kenai River on our raft. For a brief fleeting moment, after all these years, the happy memories of our time together surpassed the pain of losing them.

After losing Bailey and Kodi, our hearts were closed to another dog. Honestly, the only reason we got Tess was for the kids. We had no desire to go down that road again, but every childhood deserves a puppy, right? Clark and I didn’t expect to fall in love with Tess, but damnit we did. How could we not love our children’s best friend?

If life follows the natural order, Tess will someday break all our hearts. But that’s okay, because she also helped healed them.

So here we go again. Remy Riley is a little monster right now, but she’s growing on all of us…. including Tess. They like to wrestle and wrangle and pounce on each other. Remy Riley has finally quit trying to nurse on Tess, which has had a positive impact on their relationship. Sometimes Remy Riley licks Tess’s ears, and Tess leans in and seems to enjoy it. In those moments I have faith that these sisters are destined to become the best of friends.

Remy Riley: Welcome to the family. Be patient with our cautious hearts, and know that by bringing you into our home we pledge to love you and train you and give you our all. Be nice to your sister Tess, because she paved the way for you. And sometimes we’ll tell you stories about a few other dogs, even older than Tess, and we expect you to cock that cute head of yours, open those adorable floppy ears, and listen.

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