We have a new baby in the family – meet Coco, a 4 month old Chocolate Lab mix.

This is our first family pet larger than a deck of cards. No, I’m not kidding. We’ve had shrimp, worms, hermit crabs, fish, aquatic turtles and a crawfish named Etouffee. The kids and I have always wanted to get a dog, but Scott wanted us to wait until the boys were old enough to take care of the dog. His answer was always, “maybe next year.”

I never really argued with him on this point, since I knew that — like the hermit crabs, fish, turtles and crawfish — it would be Scott who would end up doing the dirty work after the first couple of weeks of excitement. Feeding, scoopin’ dog poop, baths, walks, cleaning and all the other chores associated with dog ownership is quite a bit of work and Scott, rightly so, didn’t want any more added to his list of to-do’s.

Last Saturday, we went over to the local pet store to buy turtle food. The local animal shelter is always there on the weekends, showin’ off their adult pooches up for adoption and parading the Greyhounds who wear aprons with donation pockets on the sides.

Like always, we stop to pet the Greyhounds, shove a couple of dollars in their pockets, and then I spied the puppies. Oh. my. Buddha. PUPPIES!!! This was the first time I’d ever seen the puppies here and the kids and I ran to see them.

Scott watched us from outside the gate while the boys and I played with 4 American Bulldogs and 2 Chocolate Lab mixes. After 45 minutes, we were at the PONR: Point of No Return.

I looked at Scott, who was standing a few feet away, playing Angry Birds on his phone. I didn’t even have to say a single word. He looked up and said, “No.”

We begged, reasoned, pretty please’d, gave sad eyes, promised to give foot massages every evening, the boys pouted. Okay, I pouted too.


We left, got into the car and ran our other errands. I continued trying to convince him that we needed to take just one home. The dogs had been rescued by the animal shelter from another animal shelter who was recently charged with neglect. Uh, yeah, you read that right. The owners of an animal shelter were abusing the rescues! Can you even imagine what these pups have gone through?

I put on my drama hat and pleaded with Scott that if we didn’t rescue this poor little cutie patootie puppy, we was destined for a life of ultimate sadness and neglect. How could we turn our backs to those in need?

Didn’t work. I should have known better, Scott never falls for drama.

Okay, time to try on my responsible parent hat, “Having a puppy will teach the boys responsibility and compassion. This experience will guarantee that our boys will grow up to be influential world leaders and philanthropists. If we don’t get a puppy, they won’t develop the tools in life to cure cancer!”


Last resort – the good wife hat.

“I’ll buy you a 1968 bottle of single malt scotch.”


So we went back to the pet store, signed adoption paper, bought $1,080 worth of puppy stuff*, changed her name from “Dotty” to “Coco.” Everyone was happy – Coco was rescued from a life of cages; Scott scored foot massages from the boys every night and a $500 bottle of scotch; I got a new baby girl (finally! a girl in the house!) and the boys will now grow up with the necessary experience to one day solve the U.S. deficit problem.

*why is pet stuff so freakin’ expensive?

Surprisingly, the family member most attached to Coco was actually Scott. Coco had only been outside one other time in her whole entire 4-month old life. The woman from the shelter had brought Coco outside that morning, and Coco didn’t know what dirt was and started eating it.

Because this was Coco’s first time ever being on a leash and I think she was a bit scared of the grass, Scott carried her from the car to the fishing pond at our friend’s house.

But within just a few minutes of playing with our friend, Shawn’s two incredibly friendly Pit Bulls (Dakota and Nikita are like our adopted “kids” – we love these dogs like crazy!), Coco was out exploring.

She went fishing with Andrew.

Netting blue gill with Uncle Charlie.

Tried to convince Dakota to eat seaweed.

Chased Nathan.

Coco, a happy pup.

We’re still working on stuff like potty training, sleeping through the night and not being afraid of swimming, but Coco is doing just fine. She’s such a lovey, mellow dog (who loves to eat!), you would have never guessed that she was rescued multiple times. She’s our Christmas baby, her papers say she was born on 12/25/2010. Surprisingly, she looks a lot like Chip, my brother’s dog!

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Comments 71

  1. MsBrownBird

    She’s beautiful! I’m so glad you rescued her, nothing breaks my heart more than animals in shelters. Maybe she’ll start getting to eat scraps, huh?

  2. Molly K

    Awwww! Congratulations on your new baby. She kind of looks like our new pup Luna (almost 6 months old) who is a Treeing Walker Coonhound/Lab mix (she’s black and white instead of brown and white though). Aren’t puppies the best?

  3. Katie

    Congrats on the new addition to your family! I adopted a black lab mix a few weeks ago, and she’s exactly the same age. They take up a lot of time, but they’re so much fun and definitely worth it.

  4. Sri

    Congrats Jaden. Funny post. By the way, i thought you would have gone for the single malt the first try! πŸ™‚ always works.

  5. Misty

    What a cutie! And welcome to the world of dog ownership! I have a Dobe, and I’m getting a new English Bulldog puppy at the end of this month.

  6. Shay

    Wow Jaden! You guys are so lucky – I used to have a Pitbull named Jersey who looked just like Coco but red/white instead of brown/white. Congrats! (I’ll have to keep the single malt scotch bargaining chip in mind next time I want a new puppy too!)

  7. Jan

    Aw, Jaden, she is BEAUTIFUL!!! Congrats to you and your guys. Holler if you need any dog-raising advice…lots of experience here! xoxoxo

  8. Susie

    What a great pup! The best dogs/cats/etc. are the ones that we rescue. She now has a great life with a great family!

  9. May

    Congrats on your new family addition, a cutie just like the family. YEAH, another dog out of the shelters! Lucky dog…people scraps will be delish! Enjoy.

  10. Tia

    Congrats on the new addition, she is adorable. I grew up with rescue dogs, they are the best!

  11. vicki -

    Coco is a lovely looking girl, who now has a wonderful home…we have a registered black lab, Arthur who is 4, and a rescue lab/ridgeback called Zoe who is 10 this Oct 30th – we rescued her when she was a year old. Her name was Ginger and she really is not a Ginger other than the colour of her coat.

  12. Dayleb B.

    As a owner a German Shepherd puppy who brings such joy
    to our family.
    As the saying goes, “Dogs are men’s best friend.
    We found create training works, in one week our
    puppy was trained. Good luck.
    Glad, that you are not out numbered. She is sweet.

  13. Laura

    She is so cute, I think all families should have a dog or some kind of pet… Thanks for adopting her.. There are way to many who need a loving home.

  14. Donna

    So glad you did a rescue!! We have 8 dogs, all indoor (all under 5 lbs) that are rescues. We also spend a fortune on pet supplies and toys but it is all worth it. Congrats on your new baby! Looks like she is fitting right in:)

  15. Janene

    Coco is adorable. Congratulations to your new member of the family – so happy you rescued her… that’s priceless. My two dogs are my first too and they’ve been the biggest joy of my life – both 11 years old now. Best wishes and I love your dishes too. πŸ™‚

  16. Penny

    She is adorable!!! I can see why you had to bring her home. They bring such joy into our lives.

  17. Mary at Deep South Dish

    Oh, you are gonna so LOVE her! I lost my yellow lab last year and she was the absolute BEST DOG EVER. Mine was a rescue too and she lived a long life. Coco is so lucky to have y’all for her family, but I think you’ll find yourself fully in love very quickly. πŸ™‚

  18. MsKat

    Ohhh bless you for giving such a precious pooch a loving home! She looks so happy with her humans now!

  19. Debbie Phillips

    Congratulations to Coco for being adopted into such a nice family! Coco is a cutie!

  20. Rachelle

    Congrats! Since you have a girl in the house now … will the boys allow you to dress her up? Just in puppy stuff of course. Pink bananas rock.

  21. Alysia W

    Congrats on your adoption of your brand new baby girl! We adopted ours about a month and a half ago. =) If she has some issues sleeping through the night, you can try to find a heartbeat pillow at PetSmart (worked fantastically for mine) and remember to pick up her water by 9pm. Good luck and enjoy!!!!!

  22. Jeanette

    Congratulations on your new addition! and an even bigger congrats for rescuing. We too have a rescue (we are at least his 3rd family. Have had our Schnoodle for 3 years (he is approx 4-1/2 years old – the SPCA didn’t know all his details) and he is the love of my life. I tell my boys (18 and 15 years) that he is my new baby. Your family looks thrilled to have him. He will always know you rescued him and appreciate you for it. Good luck with the potty training!

  23. Jen

    What a beautiful dog! Love that soulful face. Loved the turn of events that led to Coco joining the family. I wish you and your family many, many happy years together.

  24. Vicki B

    Make your life easier now rather than pull your hair out later: 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog: The Loved Dog Method by Tamar Geller, Oprah’s dog trainer. It’s a brilliant book.

  25. Stephanie O

    Great (and funny!) story, and Coco is a doll. Bless you for taking this little honey into your hearts and lives. Hubby and I have a “rescued rescued rescue” cat named Leo(nidas) who had been picked on by other cats in a hoarders’ house, yelled at for crying at night by an elderly couple, then THROWN AGAINST WALLS by a young couple who used him for venting their anger at each other (my rage still simmers over ALL these idiots.) It took time for my sweet, gentle boy to trust our loving overtures, but he is now OUR happy and secure guardian and protector!

    Rescues are extra-special creatures, and I have no doubt that Coco will bring your family great joy for years to come. Congratulations to all of you!!!

  26. These are great wines. Love Tapas too. new tapas stop in cape coral terazza 47. or my house when i win this prize LOL

    I wish my husband drank scotch.I miss our beagle and he is still shouting a firm NO! He might consider it for a Porsche but that’s about all…. sadly pet-less (unless you count our moody 20 yo daughter who s/b moving out soon … please…. I mean that.. LOL)

  27. Angie

    Thank you for rescuing Coco! She is adorable. It breaks my heart when I hear these abuse stories. I have 2 dogs and am not allowed to rescue anymore.

  28. Heather

    Congrats on the new baby! She’s adorable! And I would bet that she’s got pointer as part of that lab “mix”. I think it’s fantastic that you took a chance on a rescue, she may need a little extra love and training but I promise you it will be worth it!

  29. Janine

    You did a great thing by adopting your adorable Coco!! Having worked at an animal shelter in my state, WA, I’ve seen how horribly animals are treated…but also seen how they can be re-habbed into being wonderful members of families. Enjoy your new baby girl!!

  30. Megan Pence

    I’ll have to try this “buy yyou a great bottle of (insert favorite booze here)” tactic the next time I want another puppy. The hunny always says no. Boo.

    I have yellow lab of my own – and he’s my baby – I’m sure Coco will be a perfect new addition to the family!! Congrats!

  31. Tina

    She’s beautiful! Labs are one of my favorite breeds, along with beagles. I’ve had both, most recently a lab/golden mix named Abby. One piece of advice, though. Enroll her an obedience training course as soon as possible. Retrievers are very high energy, curious dogs who often go through an extended puppyhood. Like for the first 2 years. They can really try your patience; one of the primary reasons retrievers are sent to shelters during the first year is because people don’t understand this. All they see is that beautiful face and floppy ears, but they don’t research the breed. After the first couple of years, they really mellow out, but until then, they’re a handful. Good luck with her; your boys will have the best companion you could ever hope for!

  32. Maryann

    Oh my, congrats!!! At first I was a little sad you didn’t adopt a greyhound (we’ve had three and will never have another breed), but I stopped, breathed and read the rest of the post. Anyone who adopts a rescue is A-1 in my book. Coco will most likely have for the first time in her life love and security. Love the pics with the kids. Good luck and enjoy her.

  33. angelitacarmelita

    She is beautiful and you’ve done such a wonderful thing! sure, you did it because she’s so darn cute and who wouldn’t want to love her! but you RESCUED HER! and for that, you and your family get major props (even though Scott had to be bribed w/hooch… for the pooch). The greatest part about all this love, is the love she’ll give you in return. Enjoy your new little girl!

  34. Arlene

    Coco is absolutely stunning! Lucky hubby; I love single malt scotch, but don’t know if I could swallow if I knew it cost that much. Love the photo of your other “pets.” Make sure they don’t take them to school or CPS will be at your door, lol.

  35. Creatively Melissa

    Beautiful puppy! Hubby and I have a chocolate Cocker Spaniel that a friend rescued. I was going to name her Trixie, but she was used to being called Cocoa so we stuck with it. I’m trying to convince Hubby she needs a brother or sister puppy…no go yet. LoL

  36. JulieD

    I love Coco! I love that you rescued and used your magic to get her! ;D I really do think they teach the kids compassion and to care for something other than themselves, especially a helpless being. I think it also teaches them commitment. I can’t wait to see more pictures of Coco and love the picture of the boys in the cage. LOL

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