Today is a special day for us. 7 years ago today, Andrew and I officially became parents. On August 19, 2002, just one week after moving back to Arizona from California, Andrew and I brought home our cute and sweet little beagle, Copper. The story of how she came to be part of our family is not one we've shared on this site before, so I thought we could commemorate the occasion with the story of Copper.
When we lived in Santa Barbara, we were never able to find an apartment that would allow pets. Andrew and I both love dogs and really wanted to get one. Not to mention that I have always had a thing for beagles. They were definitely my breed of choice. So much that the thought of our one day having a beagle was part of Andrew's wedding vows to me! So when we decided to move back to Arizona shortly after our wedding, we decided that the first order of business was to find a dog. Our apartment allowed pets, for a nominal fee, as long as they fit certain criteria. They had to be over 1 year old, and could not weigh more than 30 pounds or else the rent would increase.
So we set out to find our 1+ year old small to medium sized puppy. Obviously the best choice was at one of the various animal shelters around town. Every day that first week we were at the pound, the animal welfare league, the humane society, and just couldn't find the right fit for us. You'd think out of all those dogs there would have been one that would have worked. But we kept looking.
Then one day, about mid-week we spotted this adorable and terrified little pure blooded beagle. She was marked as a stray and had obviously belonged to someone since she had a collar on, but she was without any identification so there she sat, covered in ticks and scared to death. I fell in love with her immediately. She was timid and didn't want to come too close to me, but I stuck my fingers through the chain link and my fingertips barely touched her ear. That was all it took. As soon as she had the loving contact her head was smooshed up against the fence wanting more love from me. We had to have her! We asked the pound workers when she would be up for adoption. They told us she would be available that coming Saturday, but that the people who had brought her in had expressed interest, so they would get first dibs. So for the rest of the week we kept looking, but would always stop at her kennel for a visit. Each time she was quicker to come see us and let us pet her.
Then, Saturday came and we called to see if the people who brought her in had gotten her. We were told she was still there and that she would be available for adoption the first thing in the morning. So the next morning we got to the pound about 15-20 minutes before it opened, ready to request the dog in kennel 19. There were a few other people there with the same idea, but for different dogs from what we could gather. Before they officially opened the doors, someone came out with a coffee can, and asked what animal each of us was there for. Turns out one of the other people was also there for Copper. No! They can't have her! She's ours! So they wrote each of our names on a ticket and put it in the coffee can to do a lottery style drawing. When the man pulled the ticket out and called out Maple, we were so excited! We ran in and got our little beagle girl.
She couldn't come home until the next day because she had to be fixed before she could leave the pound (or at least they thought. Turns out she had already been fixed). All day we worked on getting ready for her. We discussed names, and of course decided it should be something Disney, but never in a million years would Andrew agree to a Disney princess name, so we decided on Copper from the Fox and the Hound. Perfect fit! So the next afternoon Andrew went down to pick her up. When I got home from my first day of work at my new job, Copper was waiting there for me and as soon as she saw me, ran over to greet me as if we've known each other forever.
Those first few weeks were an adjustment. Copper was really sick with kennel cough when we brought her home, so she had to be on some pretty heavy duty medications. We also discovered her separation anxiety and her tendency to bolt when the door opened. One of the worst things was the ticks. Oh, the ticks were terrible! It took so long to finally be rid of them, but finally they were gone and we thankfully haven't seen one since. *knocking on wood*
So there you have it. The story of our first "child". Despite the early morning puking wake up calls we sometimes get, and the beagle barking, and the fact that she is always... ALWAYS under our feet, Copper has been such a blessed addition to our family. We love her and know that despite her age (she's probably about 11 years old) she's ornery enough to still have some good years left in her! Happy birthday, Copper!