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. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    Aw, Coco looks like the best pup!

    It always seems to work out that the dog latches on to the person in the house that likes dogs the least. I NEVER considered myself a dog lover. My husband grew up with them. Three years after we adopted our boxer, I think he is the bees knees and he is my baby.

  2. Becky at Vintage Mixer

    Our puppy is like a child to us too! We got him about a year ago and he has brought so much fun into our lives. I feel like we smile and laugh much more often now. We also have lost a few shoes, and remote controls along the way. If you want to see photos of Henry the Portuguese Water Dog, check out my blog. Enjoy your new pup!

  3. Tammy

    This is absolutely the most adorable pup! I’m so glad you were able to adopt her and can dote on her! Enjoy!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mitch

    Coco will be a fine dog one day with all the training you’ll be giving. If you’ll accept helpful advice for some of the areas she is having trouble with. I got my pup at 6wks, so I had to be mother-like with her; with potty training, I put potty pads ontop of newspapers then placed 1 set at the front door and 1 set in the bathroom (whatever place she feels more comfortable with release). I was able to go from 2 sets to one set, then I moved the set in the tub so she knew she had a place to go if she couldn’t hold it. For her sleeping at night time, get her a stuffed animal (not for play) for comfort that she can have with her when she sleeps. As for swimming, some breeds aren’t keen on it….best to let her choose the time when she wants to try to swim. Hope these have been helpful tips. Best of Luck!

  5. Skinny Fat Kid

    Adorable! Coco will totally change your lives for the better. We too had tried to put off getting a dog, but when you meet the right one you just know it! Our Izzy is now 1 1/2 and can’t imagine not having her in our lives!

  6. cheryl

    My mom got of easy – she only had to promise to cook my Dad sausages for supper when she called to ask if she could bring home a bichon frise that needed a new home!

  7. Sarah

    I don’t know why but I cried after reading your article and seeing the beautiful pictures of Coco and your family. Coco is so lucky to have you and your family and it can be the other way around too. Having never grown up around dogs, I was presented with my first puppy, a Bichon Poodle when I was 25 and she was only 6 weeks old. She needed a mother desperately and I needed someone to love. We have became inseparable since. Sweety is 4 now and knows I am her mommy. She is the best thing to happen to me and has changed my life completely for the better. I am so happy for you and your family. Congratulations on the new baby =)

  8. arwen

    i’m so happy you adopted and RESCUED a gorgeous mutty dog..and that you named her Coco! this too was the name of my first pet. having an animal in the family teaches kids how to treat other people- a lot of folks don’t make this important connection but it’s true. congratulations, she’s unreasonably adorable! πŸ™‚

  9. Christine Watanabe

    congratulations on your new family member. she looks like a real sweetheart. just remember, crate-training is your friend! if you teach Coco that her crate is her refuge (IOW, if she’s bad and makes it into the crate before you catch her, you won’t haul her out of the crate and punish her), she won’t mind being shut in when you have guests or are away from home. the other plus about a crate is that nature has hard-wired a dog not to soil the place where it sleeps. develop a routine where she is taken outside to potty after she’s been released from the crate, ~ 30 minutes after she’s been fed and just before going to sleep for the night. she’ll get the idea rather quickly.

    good luck!

  10. Bridget Brecheen

    Coco is gorgeous! She is my most FAVORITE breed~ Rescued!!!! Thanks for saving a life and posting the pics.

  11. Lizzie Longenecker

    cuuuuuuuuuuuuute! Oh. my. Buddha. gave me a serious giggle. Hooray for your new family member!

  12. Kim in MD

    Coco is adorable…I’m so glad you rescued her! Raising her will teach your boys valuable life lessons, like…bribing each other to take the dog out, faking illness so they don’t have to take the dog out, etc.! Ultimately, it will be you and Scott who take care of her, but you will love every minutes of it! Have fun, Jaden!

  13. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I just saw that you got a dog…how did I miss that. I recall a story about turtles and I remember saying…nothing quite like a dog. Oops…please don’t blame me.

    Now I wonder this…how long before the thought of not having her will have Scott teary eyed. Men love labs…they are so loyal yet big enough to be boy tough…absolutely beautiful dog. I hope you’re happy cause I’m happy for you!

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